Saturday, April 12, 2014

Before We Leave Budapest…

The day we left our Budapest hotel to get onto our river cruise, I took a few photos inside the hotel where we stayed for two nights.  This photo is the view outside our window.  I enjoyed the view over the Danube.  The hotel was designed so that every room overlooks the Danube River.

I thought the hallway was interesting, how all the doors were set at an angle.  This is how it looked going toward our room…

And this is how it looked going the other way, with little windows looking outside.  I took the photo below as I looked out one of those little windows.

This lady was our guide for the city tour in Budapest.  She was an excellent guide, teaching us about the history of the country and the city where she has always lived.  She made it clear how much the country suffered under Communism for 45 years.  I hadn't realized how long it had been.  She also talked about the invasion of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire, and about the Nazis affecting the country.  So much history… it made me want to learn more.

We drove past this building, which is now the Terror House Museum.  The museum memorializes the brutality of the Arrow Cross Party, the Hungarian Nazis as well as the Communist Police during Stalin's regime.  The building served as the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazis then later the Communist State Security police.

Then there was the Shoes on the Danube memorial, possibly the most moving sight of all.  It honors the Jews who were killed by the fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II.  On the night of January 8, 1945 an Arrow Cross execution brigade marched a group of Jews to the edge of the Danube.  They were forced to remove their shoes then were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and their shoes were left behind.

A sculptor, Gyula Pauer made sixty pairs of cast iron shoes in the styles of the 1940s and the shoes remain attached to the promenade as a memorial.

We also toured the Dohany Synagogue in Budapest, which is the second largest synagogue in the world (the largest is in New York City).

It is impressive!

Outside in the garden there is another Holocaust memorial, the Tree of Life, also known as the Emanuel Tree, a weeping willow made of stainless steel and silver, created by Imre Varga.

Each leaf is inscribed with the name of a Hungarian Jew who died during the Holocaust.  The memorial was placed in 1987, sponsored by the Emanuel Foundation which was founded by American actor Tony Curtis to honor his father, a Hungarian Jew who immigrated to the United States.

Our guide at the synagogue was from Brooklyn, New York and is now a citizen of the European Union.  He speaks Hungarian, English, Spanish, German, Hebrew and Yiddish… interesting guy.

We met so many interesting people and learned so much.  More posts to come, from beyond Budapest.  

1 comment:

Pam said...

I appreciate this Judy - thanks. Fancy speaking six languages - amazing.