Approximately 59,000 Jewish men, women and children were murdered in Majdanek Concentration Camp. Their shoes survived because they were valued more highly by the Nazis than the lives of their owners.
And more Holy than the Mountain of Sinai
Not in a dream. It was real.
On this world this mountain stood.
Such a mountain I saw – of Jewish shoes in Majdanek
Such a mountain – such a mountain I saw.
And suddenly, a strange thing happened.
And the thousands of shoes arranged themselves
By size – by pairs – and in rows – and moved.
Hear the shuffle of shoes left behind – that which remained.
From small, from large, from each and every one.
Make way for the rows – for the pairs,
For the generations – for the years.
The shoe army – it moves and moves
“We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.
We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers.
From Prague, Paris and Amsterdam
And because we are only make of stuff and leather
And not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire
We shoes – that used to go strolling in the market
Or with the bride and groom to the chuppah,
We shoes from simple Jews, from butchers and carpenters
From crocheted booties of babies just beginning to walk and go
On happy occasions, weddings, and even until the time
Of giving birth, to a dance, to exciting places, to life…
Or quietly – to a funeral.
Unceasingly we go. We tramp.
The hangman never had the chance to snatch us into his
Sack of loot – now we go to him.
Let everyone hear the steps, which flow as tears,
The steps that measure out the judgment.”
And more Holy than the Mountain of Sinai.