Budapest: Controversial Memorial in Freedom Square
As I wandered the neighborhoods near my hotel, I came across an interesting memorial in Budapest‘s Freedom Square. It is important to note that, unlike the majority of occupied countries oppressed by the Nazi regime, like Austria, the Netherlands, and Poland, Hungary was actually an Axis power along with Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II. It is for this reason that critics are upset with the memorial that they feel distorts history and absolves the Hungarian state for its role in sending 70% of Hungary’s Jewish population to their deaths.
For more than a year, a group of citizens has gathered daily to protest the controversial memorial erected in July 2014 for the 70th anniversary of Hungary’s Nazi German occupation. In response to the formal memorial, the descendants of victims have created their own, make shift memorial with personal effects and stories.
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A couple takes in the contrast of the official memorial looming overhead and the personal effects and stories on display in the make-shift memorial.
Baby shoes on a suitcase of Holocaust victims
Another victim’s shoes on display as part of the make-shift memorial
A weather-worn suitcase sits next to a crocheted Star of David