human malevolence - ReYep
In order to explore the depths of human malevolence, let us delve into a haunting episode that serves as a testament to the capacity for wickedness within mankind. During the year 1944, Hungary had fallen to Germany, and the Arrow Cross Party, which supported the Nazis, had risen to power. This party callously sent thousands of individuals, most of whom were Hungarian Jews, to Nazi concentration camps and mercilessly slaughtered thousands more.

The Massacre by the Danube:
Among their victims, approximately 20,000 people were callously executed by the banks of the Danube River. The method employed was as follows: first, they forced each person to remove their shoes, as footwear held value during that era. Subsequently, these individuals were bound together in groups of three by their ankles. From each group, one person was shot, causing them to fall into the river, taking the two bound individuals down with them. Party members, militiamen, and onlookers watched as thousands met their watery demise through asphyxiation.

Left behind on the riverbank were rows upon rows of abandoned shoes: old and new, big and small, painted and unpainted—silent witnesses to the intrinsic value placed on footwear over human life in that bleak world.

Commemorating the Tragedy:
In memory of this tragic event, director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer designed an installation consisting of 60 pairs of iron shoes permanently affixed to the ground on the western bank of the Danube in Budapest. The Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial was unveiled in 2005, serving as a solemn reminder of the atrocities committed during the reign of Nazi Germany.

The harrowing events that unfolded during the era of Nazi Germany expose the dark underbelly of humanity, a stark reminder of the depths to which individuals can sink when consumed by evil ideologies. The massacre by the Danube stands as a chilling testament to the callousness and inhumanity that can dwell within the human heart. May we never forget these atrocities, for in remembering, we recommit ourselves to building a world where compassion, understanding, and respect prevail over the darkest impulses of our nature.