(JTA) – Hungary’s Jewish community received government permission to bury human remains from the Holocaust that were found in the Danube River.
The bones, which were discovered five years ago during construction work on Margaret Bridge on the Danube, belong to several people who were murdered either by being shot on the banks of the river and dumped into it, or thrown into the river alive in 1944 or 1945 by troops loyal to the Hungarian government of pro-Nazi collaborationists, Tamas Desi, a spokesperson for the Mazsihisz umbrella group of Hungarian Jewish communities, told JTA on Wednesday.
Hundreds more were murdered in this fashion.
The government had intended to bury the bones in a municipal burying site but following the Jewish community’s objections, subjected the find to DNA testing that proved the bones were likely of Ashkenazi Jews, Desi said. “Recently, the government agreed in talks with the Jewish community, to give the bones for a Jewish burial,” he said.
The burial ceremony is scheduled to take place on March 20 in Budapest’s main Jewish cemetery.
In 2005, the City of Budapest unveiled a commemorative sculpture by the artist Gyula Pauer along one area of the bank, featuring 60 pairs of metal shoes set in concrete. It is one of the city’s best known monuments.