SchoolArts Magazine

November 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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M I D D L E S C H O O L If These Rachel Wintemberg SHOES COULD TALK W hen the allied forces liber- ated extermination camps throughout Europe at the end of World War II, tower- ing masses of old, worn out shoes were one of the first things they saw. In many cases, these anonymous, broken shoes were all that was left of the mil- lions of victims of Hitler's "final solu- tion." Every single one of those shoes had a story to tell. The people who wore them had ideas, hopes, dreams, and ambitions that were all taken away. As many as 1.5 million chil- dren perished in the Holocaust, along with Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roma (Gypsies), and the disabled. A Dark Part of History I showed students photographs of piles of shoes from the concentration camp at Auschwitz and told them about how the victims were transported in filthy cattle cars to what they thought were relocation camps. Once they got to their final destination, heads were shaved and clothing and shoes were removed so that they could be showered off, deloused, and disin- fected. Once they entered the shower house, the door was locked. Instead of water, poisonous gas came out of the shower heads. The bodies of victims were then cremated in giant ovens. The victims' hair was used to stuff mattresses and pillows; the discarded clothing could be salvaged for rags, but the broken, worn-out shoes of the victims continued to pile up. 30 NOVEMBER 2017 SchoolArts Left: Brooke Robinson, grade six. Right: Jania Quilas, grade six. Karla Cedeno. Shoe design in honor of Nadine Schatz.

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