Sailing on the Danube with the Hungarians – Day 4

In the morning lecture, we learnt about the history of Danube regions. The Danube river has both brought people together and separated them. Philip Barker brought his expertise on the subject of linguistics and included some thoughts about his research on political language in 18th Century Hungary. We also learnt a little about the tragic life of Hungarian poet Attila József – whose name, thanks to our language lessons, we can now all confidently pronounce.

In addition, we found out about people who were encouraged to settle in different areas in the Danube region and had also brought their cultures for integration. For example, the German/Hungarian catholic church in today’s Novi Sad in Serbia marked the migration of German and Hungarian colonists. Croatian pagan ceremony is also a unique feature in Mohács of Hungary.

However, conflict existed along with cooperation in the Danube regions. When German colonists settled in other places, they brought not only new technology, but also their cultures which were against by local inhabitants as Germanisation. Such conflicts were accumulated and eventually resulted in many of the tragedies. One of which is Holocaust. A story from today’s lecture was about the Shoah memorial in Budapest. Jews during the Second World War were taken to Danube to be shot and pushed into the river. Before their execution, they were required to take their shoes off. All those shoes left by the bank became the strongest proof of this genocide in Hungary. The statues of shoes that commemorate this are used to warn people never to forget this history.

We finally found a Hungarian who can be the subject of our project! Thus, after the lecture, we went to the dentist where she works to meet with her. She is an extremely bubbly person who appeared very keen to tell us about her life. We split up into groups so as not to overwhelm her. Some of us took up the task of photographing her, others planned for the documentary footage and some of us wrote this log book.

-Amy and Yiwei from the Hungarian Team

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