In Majdanek, the walk is long and cold and today it was raining as well. This camp was really really difficult to get through. I walked in and out of the barracks alone this time, having fallen behind the group. I entered the last of the barracks and was immediately startled. All around me were cages of shoes but at first I was not sure what was piled in them. No display cases, no glass, no signs, no tour guide, no warning. I walked alone between the cages of rotten shoes that looked like dead mice piled upon each other, discarded and disowned. And then I saw a cherry red heel. I thought of my sisters and their love for sassy red shoes and even as I write this I am overcome with emotion. “what if it were me” became “what if it were my sister” and I broke down with the thought of their suffering as this woman did. Material things may mean nothing compared to life and freedom, but they are a part of who we are and how people remember us. This was a young woman’s shoe, a woman maybe much like my sister. The material possessions of the prisoners seem to resonate the most with me, because they give me a way to connect with who they were before they were prisoners and the life they lost and could not become. This shoe was in her closet in the 1940′s, maybe it was her favorite pair, and it ended up in a pile at an abandoned death camp in 2008.