On January 14, 2019, ZAKA announced that nearly 75 years after tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews were shot into Budapest’s Danube River, the organization has begun searching the river to try to retrieve their bones for a full Jewish burial.
According to Yad Vashem1 before Nazi Germany invaded Hungary in March of 1944 there were more than 800,000 Jews living in Hungary. In May of 1944, deportations to Auschwitz began. In just eight weeks, some 424,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. After October 1944, when the Arrow Cross party came to power, thousands of Jews from Budapest were murdered on the banks of the Danube and tens of thousands were marched hundreds of miles towards the Austrian border. In all, some 565,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered. It is the remains of those murdered on the banks of the Danube that ZAKA hopes to recover.
ZAKA is an Israeli organization dedicated to disaster victim identification.