Moshe Szulstein (1911 – 1981)

Moshe Szulstein was born in Kurow, Poland on September 15th. 1911 and was, as an author, the writer of fictional essays, poetry and short stories. In 1923 Moshe moved along with his parents to Warsaw, and there he worked as an apprentice to a tailor, all the while studying at School during the evening’s. In 1937 Moshe moved and settled in Paris and was employed in many different jobs unsuited to his skills. Then, at the time of the German occupation in 1940, Moshe went into hiding in cities criss crossing France.

He also joined the resistance movement, spent time in custody, inerrogated by the Paris Gestapo. Moshe’s success is not as well known as it should be and he was taken from us in 1981. On June 3rd. 1943 Himmler issues instructions for the schooling of such expertise as might be demanded for the Sonderkommando 1005 operation taking place at the Janowska Camp. With 844 prisoners transferred from Auschwitz to Majdanek this was also to assist in Aktion 1005.

The murder of 1,000,000’s of people in all the camps Death Camps and Labour Camps alike was accompanied by plunder on an unprecedented scale. All of the possessions of victims were exploited, either for the personal enrichment of the perpetrators or for redistribution amongst the German Reich population. When the Death Camp at Majdanek, Lublin, Poland was liberated by the Red Army in 1944, there were literally tons of human effects, the debris of a Jewish existence simly ravaged from life.

What the World discovered here, was the destruction of the Jewish People married to the larcenous plunder from 1,000,000’s of Jews, destroyed within each of the Aktion Reinhard Death Camps and the 3 other Death Camps Hitler had established in Poland. The exacting detail of some supposed ideological edict which Hitler sought to gain financially from exposed the true intention of his constant assault upon the Jewish People.

Also, and there were 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of pairs of all manner of shoes that were warehoused here which so inspired Moshe, he wrote:

“..We Are the Shoes, We Are the Last Witnesses

I saw a mountain

Higher than Mt. Blanc

And more Holy than the Mountain of Sinai.

Not in a dream. It was real.

On this world this mountain stood.

Such a mountain I saw of Jewish shoes in Majdanek.

Such a mountain such a mountain I saw.

And suddenly, a strange thing happened.

The mountain moved.

And the thousands of shoes arranged themselves

By size by pairs and in rows and moved.

Hear! Hear the march.

Hear the shuffle of shoes left behind that which remained.

From small, from large, from each and every one.

Make way for the rows for the pairs,

For the generations for the years.

The shoe army it moves and moves.

We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.

We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers.

From Prague, Paris and Amsterdam.

And because we are only made of stuff and leather.

And not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire.

We shoes that used to go strolling in the market

Or with the bride and groom to the chuppah,

We shoes from simple Jews, from butchers and carpenters,

From crocheted booties of babies just beginning to walk and go

On happy occasions, weddings, and even until the time

Of giving birth, to a dance, to exciting places to life.

Or quietly to a funeral.

Unceasingly we go. We tramp.

The hangman never had the chance to snatch us into his

Sack of loot now we go to him.

Let everyone hear the steps, which flow as tears,

The steps that measure out the judgment.

I saw a mountain

Higher than Mt. Blanc

And more Holy than the Mountain of Sinai.” Moshe Szulstein.