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Divers look for Holocaust victims in the river

Divers will search the bottom of the Danube for the remains of Holocaust victims. According to the information provided, 20,000 Jews were supposed to have been collected and executed on the riverbank in 1944. The victims were residents of a ghetto created in Hungary’s capital Budapest. This is the first attempt to find the remains
Published: January 31, 2019 - 13:10
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:48
Divers look for Holocaust victims in the river

Divers will search the bottom of the Danube for the remains of Holocaust victims. According to the information provided, 20,000 Jews were supposed to have been collected and executed on the riverbank in 1944. The victims were residents of a ghetto created in Hungary’s capital Budapest.

This is the first attempt to find the remains of the victims of a massacre carried out by militiamen from the Arrow Cross group, which collaborated with the Germans and ruled Hungary from 1944 to 1945. This mass execution is commemorated by a memorial in the form of 60 pairs of iron entities erected on the east bank of the Danube.

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In December 1944 and January 1945, up to 20,000 people were taken from the Budapest ghetto and shot on the river banks. Until then, Hungarian Jews were protected by the authorities of their country, which was in alliance with the Third Reich. There were therefore no deportations to German death camps, as was the case in Poland, for example. The situation only changed in the final phase of the Second World War, when the German army occupied the country.

The announcement that dives would be carried out was made after the conclusion of three years of talks in which Zaka, the Israeli rescue service, mediated between Aryeh Deri, the Israeli Interior Minister, and his Hungarian counterpart, Sándor Pintér. The result was full support for carrying out the planned activities.

First, using sonar and search equipment, Zak’s staff will try to pinpoint sites where dives will then be undertaken. The whole thing is quite difficult to carry out, due to the passage of time, natural tides, water movement, decomposition of organic matter and even issues such as the repair of bridges over the Danube.

Interestingly, Hungary’s largest Jewish organisation, asked the Israeli and Hungarian authorities to stop searching for the remains of the victims in the waters of the Danube, arguing that the dead should be left alone.

Source: thejc.com, haaretz.com
Photo: Robert Montgomery – CC BY 2.0

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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