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Civilian victims of WW2 siege of Budapest commemorated

The National Heritage Institute on Tuesday held a commemoration in honour of the civilian victims of the siege of Budapest during the second world war, which ended 79 years ago.

Addressing the commemoration, Miklos Dukai, state secretary at the public administration and regional development ministry, said the nation was still feeling the deep scars left by the siege.

He said this day was meant to honour those Budapest residents, mainly women, children and the elderly who were caught between the warring sides.

During the siege, the capital’s food supply stopped and the city was threatened by an epidemic, Dukai said. The destruction of the bridges on the River Danube made it almost impossible to cross between the city’s Buda and Pest sides, he said, adding that some 500 civilians died in the destruction of Margaret Bridge alone.

More than 38,000 civilians died during the siege of Budapest, and more than 15,000 Jewish Hungarians were victims of persecution by the Nazis and Hungary’s Arrow Cross party, he said.

Gabor Moczar, director-general of the National Heritage Institute, said the siege had done “inconceivable” damage in the city as well as in families, as it caused the meaningless deaths of mothers, fathers and children.

After the commemoration, the event’s participants laid wreaths at the two symbolic graves honouring the memories of those who died in the destruction of the Regent House in the 2nd district and residential buildings in Vitez Street 2 and Fo Street 59.

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