Thoughts on Tisha B’Av July 29, 2012

Just returned from five days in Budapest — an amazing city! We saw the largest synagogue in Europe, a magnificent Parliament building, a Royal Palace towering over the city skyline and many other beautiful and exquisite sites. However, as we observe Tisha B’Av today, the commemoration of the destruction of both of our Holy Temples, there is one place we visited which I cannot get off my mind.

On the banks of the Danube, there is a simple yet startling memorial to the Holocaust. Dozens of pairs of shoes have been cemented into the embankment wall at the spot where scores of Hungarian Jews were taken by the Nazis and thrown into the river to drown because the Nazis didn’t want to ‘waste bullets’. Take a look…then read further down.

Among these shoes are a pair of toddler size boots:

What is most disturbing is reports from Hungarian Jews living there now of growing anti-Semitism in Hungary. Before World War II, there were some 600,000 Jews living in Hungary; according to our tour guide, at the end of the War there were less than 100,000 left. Today there are about 80,000.

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