The image to the left is a frame capture from a movie I recently uploaded to YouTube (Click Here to View). It's been converted from a 1948 film reel shot by my grandfather showing life in and around Budapest shortly after the end of World War II. The image is interesting because it shows the destroyed Széchenyi Chain Bridge as seen from a car traversing a temporary bridge over the Danube. Although all of Budapest's bridges were destroyed by the Germans during the Siege of Budapest, the Chain Bridge is one of the city's iconic structures and it's still shocking to see it destroyed.
While on the surface, the people in the film seem to be living relatively normal lives, if you look at the background you can still see a lot of rubble from the war. What you cannot see are the mental scars from the brutality that all of these people would have gone through only a few years earlier.
I cut the nearly 25 minutes of film footage down to about two and a half minutes to show life across four seasons of 1948. The film is set to music from an old 78rpm record sung by my Great Uncle, Miklós Vig, who unfortunately did not survive the war.
The footage includes the following:
- View of Széchenyi Chain Bridge (0:10)
- May Day Celebration with Rákosi spelled out by marchers (0:21)
- A walk around Pest (near V and VII district?) (0:35)
- A boat ride on Lake Balaton with a view of Tihany Abbey (1:17)
- The Budapesti Állatkert (Budapest Zoo) (1:31)
- A view of Svábhegy (Schwab Hill) (1:41)
- The Gyermekvasút (Childrens' Railway) (1:48)
- Ice skating (unknown location) (2:01)