Eight thousand pairs of shoes that belonged to the youngest victims are kept in the death camp museum and are now being preserved to serve as a memento for many years to come.
A new program has been announced by the Auschwitz Museum for the preservation of some 8,000 pairs of shoes that were confiscated from children on arrival at the camp, with the likelihood that their owners would soon be on the way to the gas chambers. One of the most haunting parts of the exhibition commemorating the victims is the display of the many orphaned shoes, a stark reminder of the sheer number of people who lost their lives here. The condition of the footwear is rapidly deteriorating, so in order to preserve them to some degree, a major conservation effort has begun at the museum. First, they will be photographed and scanned with a special scanner to create a detailed digital database. Then they are conserved using restoration techniques to stop the corrosion of the metal parts and to strengthen the leather parts.
Shoes can tell us a lot about their former wearers, and in rare cases, they can even be traced back to their owners, thanks to the name and address of the child that some thoughtful parents have inscribed on the inside of the shoe. Such was the case of Amos Steinberg in 2020: the researchers even found out that the six-year-old boy, who was murdered in the camp, had been deported from the Theresienstadt ghetto near Prague on October 4, 1944. According to the researchers, nearly 232,000 minors were sent to Auschwitz, 23,000 of whose records have been found, and only 700 were evacuated when the camp was liberated.
Source: The First News
Photographs: Auschwitz Museum