Over 8,000 pairs of children’s shoes stored at the site of Auschwitz are in danger of disintegrating without “immediate conservation,” according to the UK Jewish News.
An urgent need is there for the shoes to be preserved for the sake of history. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation stated that “without immediate conservation, these shoes are in danger of disappearing as historic documentation of life and death.”
A campaign has been launched to save the over 8,000 pairs of tiny shoes from the ravages of time, with an initiative between the International March of the Living, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, the Auschwitz Memorial, and the Neishlos Foundation, who provided the initial funds.
The ‘From Soul to Sole’ campaign was described by the International March of the Living as a “moral obligation.”
“When we received the request to preserve the shoes of children murdered in the camp, it was clear that this was a moral obligation,” International March of the Living’s chair Shmuel Rosenman and president Phyllis Greenberg Heideman said in a statement, according to the news outlet.
“We see the conservation of the shoes of these innocent children as an eternal testimony to the brutality of the Nazi regime as well as a significant educational initiative.”
Over 230,000 children were murdered at Auschwitz. When the death camp was liberated in January 1945 by Soviet troops, only 500 children under the age of 15 remained alive, suffering from severe malnutrition and disease.
“One of the objects that speaks most to the emotions of visitors is a child’s shoe with a sock in it,” Auschwitz Memorial director Piotr Cywiński said. “There is nothing surprising in this, as through the tragic fate of the children in the camp we are able to look into the limitless depths of human evil at Auschwitz.”