Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Accusing Shoes, Empty Shoes
"In the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross Militiamen 1944-45"
Reading the text on this memorial plaque, one would think the text was written by AP. Perhaps the English was difficult to translate from the Hungarian, so I'll translate it for you now.
This plaque stands on the bank of the Danube river in Budapest, where the Nazis shot thousands and thousands of Jews, tossing them into the river over the course of 2 years during the Holocaust.
As a memorial, dozens of pairs of shoes have been positioned along the bank -- where Jews of all ages were shot dead at that very location.
I stood there last night.
I've driven past locations in Israel where Jews have been killed by terror attacks. I've been to battlefields in Israel where IDF soldiers lost their lives defending our country. I'd never been before at the site where thousands of Jews were murdered.
The bank of the Danube river is very peaceful at night. It's very quiet and the lights of the bridges and castles gently illuminate the backdrop of the shoe memorial.
Over and over I've heard tour guides say the past few days, "everyone knew the Holocaust was coming...but people stayed...the anti semitism was apparent for years...it wasn't a surprise."
I stare at this pair of a toddler's shoes.
How many children were shot, murdered, and thrown into this river?
The deceptive, peaceful quiet of Europe...the beauty of Hungary and Budapest, is just an illusion.
Europe is soaked in the blood of Jews.
And though today is no longer Yom HaShoah, I still hear the air-raid siren (from Israel) in my head as I look out over the Danube.
And the shoes continue to accuse.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael