The city of Budapest in Hungary has such an interesting history and there are many wonderful sites to see when visiting the capital city. One of the places that should certainly be visited is the Dohany Street Synagogue, also known as the Great Synagogue. There are many reasons to take time to go to the synagogue, most notably the synagogue itself as well as the Hungarian Jewish Museum that is located there. When walking around the grounds of the synagogue, you will find two spots that are both beautiful and yet humbling at the same time. First is the Jewish Cemetery that is located at the synagogue, which is something very unusual indeed. The second is the Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park, which is a courtyard with the focal point being the weeping willow artwork.
We happened to visit Dohany Street Synagogue on a rainy day, which in many ways enhanced to the atmosphere as we walked around the synagogue to see the memorials that are located there. In a period of history that is important to remember in order to ensure that it never happens again, the memorials honor the over 400,000 Hungarian Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. The cemetery is certainly unusual in that the Torah specifies that burials are supposed to be outside of the city, but this was a matter of circumstance as about 2,000 people were buried at the site during the Holocaust in a makeshift graveyard. Today there is a lush garden amongst the various headstones to commemorate those who are buried there.
At the rear of the synagogue is the Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park. The artwork by Imre Varga depicting a weeping willow with names and tattoo numbers of those whose lives were lost there engraved on the leaves. The water from the rain was glistening off of the leaves and branches while were there and it was truly as if the artwork was actually weeping on the day that we visited. We had a similar experience when we saw the Shoes on the Danube Bank, which is another memorial to those who were murdered during the Holocaust. It is a very somber experience as you walk around the grounds, but certainly something that should be seen when planning a trip to Budapest.