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Holocaust Memorial On Danube Embankment Restored After Act Of Vandalism

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2014.12.11.

Missing pieces of the memorial to Holocaust victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militias have been recast from the personal financial framework of László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly.

Sculptor Gyula Pauer’s work Shoes on the Bank of the Danube, inaugurated in 2005 in memory of Jews and people who tried to protect them who were killed by the Arrow Cross on the winter of 1944-1945, can again be seen in its complete form. The monument suffered an act of vandalism before September, when several of the sixty pairs of cast-iron shoes were flexed off and stolen.  The press reported at the time that no police investigation was under way and the ownership of the monument was also disputed between the city of Budapest and District V.

Movie director János Can Togay, who concieved the idea of the memorial, told news that after learning of the act of vandalism, he and architect János Rauschenberger, a colleague of the monument’s co-creator Gyula Pauer, contacted Tamás Wachsler, who was responsible for the since-completed reconstruction of Kossuth tér as the head of the Steindl Imre Programme. “I believe that the material resources necessary for restoration were finally covered from the personal financial framework of the Speaker of the National Assembly”, he wrote.

While the memorial site is not under the management of the National Assembly, the Speaker transferred HUF 400 000 to Mr. Rauschenberger for the restoration of the monument, the Parliament’s press office told the website.

The missing items have since been replaced and the newly cast iron shoes are already on the embankment; as soon as the layer of rust will form on them, the memorial will be complete again. Mr. Can Togay hopes that questions of competence will be clarified in the future and the area of the memorial site will be fitted with security cameras as soon as possible. “It would be good to imprpve its accessiblity, for example by a properly constructed pedestrian crossing”, the director said.

photo: Kozma