update deskHolocaust & Holocaust Survivors

Efforts underway in Poland to preserve shoe remains from Holocaust victims

“They should now be dug out—and not only preserved and put on display but thoroughly examined by experts to find out who owned them,” said Grzegorz Kwiatkowski.

Jewish graves at Stutthof concentration camp. Credit: Piotr Wawrzyniuk/Shutterstock.
Jewish graves at Stutthof concentration camp. Credit: Piotr Wawrzyniuk/Shutterstock.

Musician Grzegorz Kwiatkowski says walking doesn’t feel right on the ground outside of what was once the Stutthof concentration camp near Gdańsk, Poland. He learned the reason for that—and is now doing something about the tons of rubber from the decaying shoes of those murdered by the German Nazis during World War II and the Holocaust.

He is now working to raise awareness about the need to preserve and study the remains of the footwear, including identifying their owners, wrote The Guardian. He said the area “should have been fenced off, first and foremost, right from the start.”

Kwiatkowski has called for forensic and other experts to find out where the shoes came from and who owned them “in honor and commemoration of the victims.”

“They should now be dug out—and not only preserved and put on display but thoroughly examined by experts to find out who owned them,” he said, adding that they should be “the pride of the museum authorities.”

The Polish government is said to be exploring options on measures to save them.

“The past is not the past, it’s the present,” Kwiatkowski said. “Ignoring the artifacts of genocide is a scandal, and this scandal radiates.”

The topic becomes more pressing with the approach of Yom Hashoah on May 6.

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