When allied armies liberated German concentration camps at the end of World War II,
they found towering piles of prisoners' shoes. Each pair of these shoes was a mournful representative of the men, women, and children
who lost their lives during the holocaust.
My name is Alan Morawiec and I teach in Golden, Colorado. But perhaps more importantly, I am the youngest son of a Holocaust survivor. My father Chaim Baruch (pictured with me at left), who passed away in 2009 at 90 years old, was the only member of his family, and only one of two Jews from his hometown of Kobryn, Poland, to survive the holocaust and the Second World War.
The Holocaust Shoe Project is my way of teaching students about the horrors of the holocaust and to help those in the world who are less fortunate. New and serviceable shoes are collected throughout the school year and displayed in my school's lobby during Holocaust Awareness Week (in early April). The shoes are then distributed to local and international charities.
Our shoes have found footholds in Georgia, Colorado, Belarus, Mexico, Haiti, Botswana and other impoverished communities where a pair of shoes is a luxury. More than 42,000 pairs of shoes have been distributed since our inception.
The Holocaust Shoe Project is also my way of participating in tikkun olam - the Hebrew phrase that means - repairing the world through human actions. Tikkun olam implies (in a gentle way) that every person has the obligation to work towards the betterment of the world and the lives of future generations.
Your participation in the Holocaust Shoe Project is welcomed and encouraged. I can visit your school, civic organization, or religious institution and present my father's holocaust story and a brief history of the shoe project.
Want to help? Want to conduct your own shoe drive? Know a group, town, or village that would benefit from receiving shoes? Have a question? Click the Contact Us link at the top of the page and send us a message.