From the Shoes on the Danube to the Emanuel Tree, Budapest has several memorials for the Hungarian Jews killed during World War II and the heroes that risked their lives to protect them. Standing in a park behind the Great Synagogue named after one of the heroes, Raoul Wallenberg, stands a beautiful, but heartbreaking weeping willow memorial. With an estimated 450,000 murdered, approximately 70% of Hungary’s Jewish population was killed during World War II. Each leaf on the memorial lists the name of a victim.
The Great Synagogue was closed to the public for Rosh Hoshana services when I visited, but I was able to capture a photo of this beautiful memorial through the locked fence. As I walked back to the hotel, the black and white images of oppressed people with Stars of David pinned to their clothing or packed into box cars headed to concentration camps that were lingering in my mind were replaced by the families I passed walking proudly through the streets of Budapest together to celebrate the Jewish New Year.
May we learn from history and not repeat past mistakes!
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