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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Shoes

I have not had much time (really much energy) to post from Budapest - last week it was in the low 90s, and Shoes teaching two hours a day in the heat of the afternoon just about did me in.  My wife, Alene, was traveling separately in Italy and we met in Vienna over the weekend. 

This has nothing to do with law professoring or teaching.  It's also more of a downer than I mean to convey generally about Budapest, which, other than the heat, has been just fine.  This is, however, the kind of thing one runs into in Europe from time to time.

Walking home from dinner we saw one of the most moving Holocaust memorials I can recall, which somebody described to Alene this morning (the grandmother of the young woman who described the event had survived it).  In 1944-45, Hungarian Jews were lined up on the wall of the Danube and pushed or jumped or shot to their death in the river below, but only after being ordered to remove their shoes, which had value to the Nazis.  The picture at left is of the memorial created in 2004.

Budapest has one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe to have survived the occupation.  While most of the Jews in Hungary outside of Budapest were deported to Auschwitz, the ghetto in Budapest was not exterminated (akin to Cracow or Warsaw) because the Germans simply did not have enough time.  This was because the actual time of occupation was relatively short (the year before the end of the war, Hungary having been an Axis country).  Hence it was one of the few ghettos to have been liberated by the advancing Red Army.

Along the same lines, when I worked for AlliedSignal, the headquarters of the Bendix business, which had been in France since the 1920s, was in the Paris suburb of Drancy, which is near Le Bourget Airport.  Drancy had two claims to fame.  First, it was the home of ardent French communists (our facility was on the Rue de Stalingrad).  Second, it was the site of the deportation center for French Jews rounded up by the Nazis.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on July 21, 2009 at 06:20 AM in Lipshaw | Permalink


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That is a powerful display. I can only imagine how it feels in-person.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Jul 21, 2009 10:13:27 AM

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