Collecting shoes can be an expensive hobby.
When a shoe lover sees a pair they can’t live without, they might ignore the price tag. The desire deems the cost irrelevant.
An obsessive shoe collector left behind over 2,700 pairs when she fled the country. If she’d worn one pair each day, it would take over seven years to rotate through her collection.
One designer adorns stilettos with diamonds and rubies, so you have to be rich and able to balance on a heel the size of a pencil to enjoy these shoes.
But, these gem-covered creations are not world’s most valuable shoes.
Not even close.
In the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, guests shuffled on a boardwalk past thousands of shoes aged into a mound of leather and fabric, the color of incinerator ash. Each shoe represents a foot that walked to their imprisonment and/or death.
Only one urgent voice echoed in the room as we stared at the heaps of inhumanity.
“Mommy, why are there so many shoes?” The young boy tugged his mom to the display. “Mommy! Mommy! Why are there so many shoes?”
None wanted to hear the answer spoken aloud. Our hearts ached for the ugly truth this innocent child would learn. Uglier still because some shoes were his size.
During World War II the Nazis kept the shoes and incinerated the people.
The profoundness of this evil never loses its impact.
Survivor’s guilt permeates the silent air space as we linger. I look at my fellow mourners and wonder who would have lived and who would have died if we had lived during Hitler’s reign of unbelievable evil. We were a beautifully diverse group and all would have been declared an enemy of the state because of race, religion, sexual preference, or physical challenges.
On shoe-clad feet we walk to the final display by Yiddish poet Moses Schulstein.
The world’s most expensive shoes are covered with diamonds and jewels, but have no value.
The most expensive price was paid for the world’s most valuable shoes, precious human lives.