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A tragic suicide epidemic gripped Budapest, Hungary in the wake of World War I — and some believed it was all caused by a popular song. Even weirder than this idea, though, was how the city tried to combat the suicide problem with a “Smile Club.”
On 17th October, 1937, the Sunday Times Perth explained the Budapest suicide problem:
Although a magnet for tourists from all over the world, Budapest has for several years been known to its own people as The City of Suicides. Budapest suffered badly after the war and has received unpleasant publicity from the number of cases of self-destruction occurring every year within its boundaries. Some of them are alleged to have been inspired by the Budapest song, “Gloomy Sunday”, but be that as it may, the suicide rate in Budapest is definitely high. The favorite method adopted by most Budapest melancholics in drowning, and patrol boats are stationed along the boundary near the bridges to rescue citizens who seek consolation in the dark waters of the Danube.