Family and friends at home will take today, November 11, to remember the members of our armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Most people I know had a grandfather, father, mother, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, cousin, father-in-law, or mother-in-law and or friend who served. Some never came home and we take today to honour their memory.
Visiting Hungary last week I was able to visit a few of their memorial sites, none more touching than this site along the Danube River.
The composition entitled ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank‘ gives remembrance to the people shot into the Danube during the time of the Arrow Cross terror. The sculptor created sixty pairs of period-appropriate shoes out of iron. The shoes are attached to the stone embankment, and behind them lies a 40 meter long, 70 cm high stone bench. At three points are cast iron signs, with the following text in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew: “To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005.” (Source: MTI, Saturday, April 16, 2005.)
Hungarians were lined up along this section of the river, and told to take off their shoes, then they were shot by the Arrow Cross militiamen. Their bodies fell into the river, and their shoes were left behind.
The day we visited the site it was foggy, and grey. I wanted to photograph the memorial in a way that captured the mood and the memory. People walked quietly, spoke in whispers, stopped and stood, motionless at the river’s edge contemplating the horrors of the war. Using a long exposure people became shadows or ghosts in the image. Lest we forget.