I wonder how a shoe, that has been there more than 70 years, managed to find itself lying on top of a branch and partially decomposed leaves?
Hundreds of pairs of shoes of Nazi prisoners discovered in Polish forest
Unnoticed for decades, shoes and clothes belonged to Jewish and Polish prisoners have been discovered near the former Stutthof Nazi concentration camp
Experts are unsure as to why the Nazis dumped the shoes
By Matthew Day, Warsaw
6:48PM BST 19 Oct 2015
The remnants of hundreds of pair of shoes and clothing believed to have once belonged to Jewish and Polish prisoners have been discovered in a forest beside the former Stutthof Nazi concentration camp.
Scattered across hundreds of square yards of forests and sometimes to a depth of 1ft the remnants include children’s shoes, belts and pieces of the striped uniforms once worn by the victims of a camp that claimed the lives of an estimated 85,000 people.
“It’s disturbing, and it safe say there are hundreds of square metres of forest carpeted with the soles and other bits of shoes,” one witness told the TVN 24 television news network.
The camp, which now lies in a part of northern Poland that once formed part of Germany, had a brutal reputation. It supplied slave labour to the Nazi war machine, and was also the site of Nazi experimentation into making soap from the fat of some of its thousands of victims.
The remnants are scattered across hundreds of square yards
“I’ve been working here 30 years and none of the employees have ever heard of these items lying in the forest near the museum,” said Danuta Drywa, head of archives at the museum. “There are items that may have belonged to concentration camp prisoners.
“To define exactly what kind of shoes they are, how old they are and what country they came from will need specialised testing.”
It is unclear why the shoes went unnoticed by the museum and the Polish authorities for the decades that have passed since the end of the Second World War.
The former Stutthof Nazi concentration camp
One possible explanation is that the museum only occupies a small patch of the area that Stutthof once covered, and during its operation the camp expanded and contracted according to the needs of the manufacturers that used the prisoners so the forest may once have been part of the facility.
Ms Drywa also speculated that the shoes may once have lain in the camp’s rubbish tip.
Experts are also unsure as to why the Nazis dumped the shoes. As a rule guards stripped the prisoners’ of their footwear when they arrived at the camp and gave them wooden clogs instead.
The good shoes were then be passed onto the German population.