Nearly 75 years after tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews were shot at the banks of the River Danube in Budapest in 1944, ZAKA Search and Rescue divers are about to begin searching the river in an attempt to retrieve their bones for a full Jewish burial. This, after three years of protracted international negotiations by ZAKA representatives to receive permission for the historic search and recovery mission, including requests made at the highest level of government.
Over the decades, there have been no attempts to locate and retrieve the bones.
The ZAKA Search and Rescue organization, which is known for its work around the world to bring victims of terror attacks and mass casualty incidents to a full Jewish burial, took upon itself this historic task of retrieving and finally burying the bones in accordance with Jewish law. The movement of the water and boats, natural decay and even repair work to the bridges over the Danube all add to the logistical challenge of the project.
The ZAKA divers will be assisted in their search by a recently-purchased sonar device, which can descend to a depth of 150 meters and scan within 130 meters, quickly identifying objects and transferring the information and exact location to the device operator.
An initial delegation of ZAKA divers plans to begin searching the river today (Tuesday) with the help of the sonar device.