Charles Fodor

saved by a stranger

On the banks of the Danube River in Budapest, visitors today find 60 pairs of iron shoes: men’s shoes, women’s shoes, and children’s shoes. They memorialize the days when the river ran red with Jewish blood, as Jewish citizens of Budapest were taken to the riverbank and shot by members of the Hungarian Fascists, the Arrow Cross.

Charles Fodor was eight years old in 1944 when he and his grandmother were trying to find their way to an international safe house. As they ran along the promenade close to the Danube River, three women wearing the armband of the Arrow Cross ordered them into an apartment building.

Suddenly, a man grabbed his grandmother and took her and Charles out to the street. He told them, “You don’t belong here, get lost.” It was later they learned that all those in that building were taken out and murdered on the banks of the Danube River.

“I have learned that life is most precious. Do a mitzvah each day to thank God for the gift of life.”