On Sunday the sun shone out of a cloudless sky, and after a late-night at a couple of Budapest clubs we felt the need to get some fresh air. But not having much daylight time available we only made it as far as the old Jewish cemetery on Salgotarjani ut, in District VIII behind the Kerepesi Cemetery, which I visited last spring.
Here it is because there are no people around to pay respects as the population was almost wiped out in 1944. According to Bob Dent's fascinating "Budapest: A Cultural and Literary History" about half a million Jews died during that year as the Nazi and fascist grip on the country intensified. For reasons that I cannot comprehend the pace of extermination speeded up madly as the Russian army closed in on the city, with columns of people being marched from the ghetto to the riverbank where they were shot and their bodies pushed into the Danube. Today one of the most moving places in the city is the row of bronze shoes on the embankment just beside Parliament, making a very simple memorial for this awful period in the country's history.
As I often feel when walking around this city, stuff has happened here.