The shoes worn by those so long ago gone. The pain they must have felt, the panic and the feeling of being terrified. I look at this photo, and I try to imagine the faces that once wore these shoes. Men and woman, old and young all ripped from their homes and forever changed. War is all around us, no matter where we go. It is how we deal with, and help those in need that defines us. In America, we are taught about World War II and how as a country and a nation we fought to help those under the oppression of Nazi Germany. We went and liberated those being persecuted and executed simply for being different. The piece I have chosen is a very powerful portrait that perfectly symbolizes the struggle that the Jewish people endured during Holocaust. This photo was taken in Auschwitz Germany, and represents only a small fraction of the mountain of shoes left by those who entered the gates of the concentration camp, most never to leave again. I have visited several Holocaust museums, most recently, Yad Vashem, the museum in Israel. I look at this photo, and my heart feels heavy with sadness knowing that every museum I have been to, there are endless piles of shoes. The ghosts of those tormented and humiliated by the Nazis. World War II can be seen from many different angles and growing up Jewish, I have always seen it from the angle of my people; my family. I was told stories of how so many of my family were not fortunate enough to make it out alive. When I was in Israel, I had the opportunity to sit with 40 other people around my age and discuss how each of our family members played their part in this war. For many, it is hard to fathom the tragedy that is the Holocaust. For myself, It is something I am all too familiar with. The Jewish people believe that it is of the upmost importance to always remember the Holocaust, not just because of the historical significance, but because we cannot have a better future if we do not remember the past. Israel is still plagued by war to this day. More and more shoes are left behind by those that have fallen. I have hope that one day Israel will have peace, and there will be no more mountains of shoes left behind. When I visited the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C., I came across a picture that had a very powerful message on it. I would like to close with it:

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

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