Scrapbookpages Blog

November 3, 2016

What a teacher remembers the most is the pile of shoes at Auschwitz

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 3:06 pm

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.salisburypost.com/2016/11/03/rebecca-rider-column-teaching-holocaust/

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“the most heartbreaking thing” to look at [is] the piles and piles of shoes, [in the Museum at the Auschwitz main camp].

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When the Soviet Union liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945, there were 43,000 pairs of shoes in the camp. The shoes are now displayed in the main Auschwitz camp.

My 1998 photo of the shoes in the Auschwitz museum

My 1998 photo of the shoes in the museum

In order to take the above photo, I had to stand in a long line, with my camera ready, and inch along until I reached a spot where I could take a photo. I chose this spot to take my photo because there are two shoes with a bit of color, in the mass of rotting grey shoes. Using a flash gun in the museum was not allowed.

Buildings numbered 4, 5, 6, and 7 in the former Auschwitz I concentration camp have been converted from barracks into museum rooms with glass display cases. My photo above shows the display case for the shoes.

All of the exhibit buildings in the Auschwitz main camp are located on the second cross street, to your right, after you enter through the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate.

At the end of this street is Block 11, the prison block which is open to visitors.

In Block 5, there are displays devoted to the “Material Evidence of Crime.”

One of the saddest sights at Auschwitz is the display of shoes in a huge glass case that takes up half a barracks room in Block 5. The shoes seem to be deteriorating and are mostly the same dark gray color, except for a few women’s or children’s shoes that are made of red leather. The red shoes stand out like the red coat worn by the little girl in Schindler’s List, a black and white picture.

My 1998 photo of Building 15 at Auschwitz

My 1998 photo of Building 15 at Auschwitz

The visitors’ tour of the main Auschwitz camp begins in Block 15, shown in the photo above, which houses an exhibit entitled Historical Introduction. The building is located at the corner of the first intersection of camp streets after you pass the camp kitchen near the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate, which is behind the camera on the left. Organized groups begin their tour of the museum buildings here and then move on to Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7 which are in the last row of barracks buildings.