The Nazis stole the property of Jews, and others who they imprisoned in concentration camps, on an industrial scale. They were sent to Germans who needed assistance, especially those who were settling into Poland, as well as sending some shoes on to other concentration camps.
When Majdanek was liberated the Soviets found 430,000 pairs of shoes, a number almost beyond imagination. There were so many shoes here because Majdanek was used as the storage site for property stolen at a number of other camps, and the Germans fled without time to send them on.
There is a story behind every single pair of those shoes, although unfortunately it’s not a story that will be told. The shoes of children, men and women, stolen by the Nazis when the victims arrived at the camp.
Sadly in 2010 there was a fire in Majdanek and 10,000 shoes were destroyed in the blaze. And in November 2014 it was discovered that a visitor had cut into the wire mesh and stolen around eight pairs of shoes. It’s hard to find words to comment on that sort of theft.