Auschwitz is the most notorious Nazi concentration camp. It opened in 1940 in southern Poland and is also known as Auschwitz-Birkenau. It was the largest camp of its kind. Its original purpose was the detention of political prisoners. However, in the end, it turned into a real death factory. Recently, during the planned works on the preservation of shoes belonging to the victims of this German Nazi camp, an interesting find was discovered. Documents found in one of the children's shoes shed light on the sad details of this incredibly dark moment in human history.
When the Soviet army approached Auschwitz in January 1945, the Nazi authorities ordered to leave the camp and forced about sixty thousand prisoners to go to other camps. When the Red Army entered Auschwitz-Birkenau, they were faced with a terrifyingly grim sight: thousands of emaciated people and piles of abandoned dead bodies.
People were sent to Auschwitz from all over Western Europe. In the first German-occupied country, Poland, unwanted citizens were first sent to a ghetto, one of which was called the Theresienstadt ghetto in Prague. On August 10, 1942, this happened to Amos Steinberg, when he was placed there with his parents, Ludwig and Ida. From there, people were sent by train, in closed boxcars, to meet their fate in a terrible concentration camp.
The unhappy could not but understand what awaited them there. The most terrible thing was to know that such an unenviable fate would befall your child. Parents tried to do at least something for their children. One of the ways was to preserve the memory of the people who died there. To this end, desperate parents secretly recorded information about their children and hid them from the prying eyes of cruel guards. Of course, it was very dangerous: if it was noticed, then the fate of the guilty person could be much worse than death.
Recently, one such record was found in Auschwitz in a pair of shoes belonging to a boy who was sent there in October 1944. Just sixteen months before the end of the war. The personality and history of this boy live only thanks to the care of his mother and her selfless love.
Mother and son were traveling to their death together вЂ” in the same carriage number BA 541. The father of the family was sent on a separate train. The boy, whose name was Amos Steinberg, was only six years old. His mom made sure he was not forgotten by writing his name on his boots, and these very shoes are on display along with many other pairs of shoes in the Auschwitz Museum. The inscription was not noticed until recently when specialists were preparing shoes for the exhibition. When this was noticed, the documents of the child were also found inside.
The boy and his mother did not survive. The father was released from the Kaufering subcamp at the end of the war, according to documents. This find gave birth to another story about Auschwitz, a story of selfless motherly love and devotion. Though this is not the first time such heartbreaking discoveries have been made there. Last year, while renovating one of the stoves, a handful of small items were found behind the chimney вЂ” spoons, forks, and shop tools, as well as scraps of cloth and leather. These facilities have been cleaned up and are now part of a permanent exhibition of objects that visitors can see while visiting the camp.
The camp and museum, like many other public places, are currently closed. When he opens his gates again (and this will happen, perhaps this fall or next spring), these children's shoes from Auschwitz will be on public display. The boy's name is here, gracefully inscribed on a pair of shoes because his mother didn't want to be forgotten. Luckily for her and for us, he is no longer just another nameless victim of Auschwitz.