“Empty Shoes” and the Importance of Our Work

Empty Shoes | Never again on my watch!

The shoes from the people who were killed in Auschwitz

“There is nothing that speaks louder against the Nazi crimes than this.” Michel told me recently. “To destroy it would be to remove the strongest evidence of what happened to us. On the transport that I came on, all the women and children were taken from the train and immediately gassed. The hair, along with the combs and suitcases and shoes, is all that remains of them. No matter how painful it may be to look at, it is all part of the story that I believe has to be told.” ~ Ernest Michel, Jewish survivor of Auschwitz

At the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp, there are a number of powerful exhibits that are reminders of the horrors inflicted on the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Perhaps the most powerful of these is a display of shoes in a gigantic glass case that takes up half of a room in the Block 5 barracks. The name of the exhibit is simply “Empty Shoes,” and for such a simple display, you are overcome with emotion standing in front of it. When Auschwitz was liberated in 1945, there were about 43,000 empty pairs of shoes in the camp, which ended up in this exhibit. These shoes were taken from the Jews who were interned in these camps, the vast majority of whom were murdered at the hands of Nazi soldiers. Seeing those shoes in front of you really puts the horror of the Holocaust into perspective. It’s a seemingly never-ending pile, each of which belonged to a person who had his or her life taken far too soon. One can’t do the feelings you experience justice merely by describing them — it’s something you can only experience for yourself in person. When we went to Auschwitz and saw the shoes, we were devastated at the thought of how much potential life was lost. We promised to the Lord and to the Prime Minister of Israel that we would do everything we could through Curt Landry Ministries to make sure nothing like this ever happened again. This promise is at the root of all of the work we do. All of our work, from our safe houses to our menorah projects to our peace groves and more, is completed with a passion for making sure the people of Israel and God’s chosen people are able to fulfill the potential of their lives. When you support us with your donations, you equip us to be a blessing to many people in need in a region marked by turmoil over the centuries. We never want to see these shoes be empty again. Help us in our goal to give hope and aid to the people of Israel. Contact us for more information about how you can assist.