Identity of Jewish girl murdered in Auschwitz found hidden inside shoe
The identity of a Jewish girl murdered in Auschwitz during WWII has been found hidden inside an old shoe held in the death camp museum.
Staff at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum were carrying out preservation work on the thousands of relics in its collection when they came across the extraordinary discovery etched into the shoe’s lining.
The find included not only the girl’s name but also information about the number she had been assigned after being transported to Hitler’s most notorious extermination camp.
Head of the Collections at the museum Hanna Kubik said: “Preserving the historical items that belonged to the camp victims means constantly improving the safety of the conditions in which we store them.
“When we place these unique objects in special protective packaging, we carefully analyse and verify all traces left by their owners.
“Inside one of the shoes, a child's name and surname were found, together with information about the transport and the number under which the name was registered on the transport list.
“The shoe belonged to Věra Vohryzková, born in January 1939.
“In May 1942, the girl was imprisoned in the Theresienstadt ghetto created by the Germans near Prague.
“She was deported to Auschwitz in December 1943 together with her mother, Štěpánka Vohryzková, and her brother, Jiří.”
She added: “They all perished in the camp.”
During the preservatoin work, staff were also able to find the girl’s uncle after examining the hundreds of thousands of suitcases left by victims of the Nazi’s diabolical Final Solution.
Kubik said: “Thanks to extensive parallel research, including analysis of marks left on suitcases that belonged to people deported to the camp, we were able to link the girl's shoe and a suitcase that belonged to her uncle.
“František Aufrecht was born in March 1908. He was imprisoned in the Theresienstadt ghetto in January 1944 and deported to Auschwitz in September 1944. He died in Dachau in April 1945, a month before the camp's liberation.
“The girl's father, Max Vohryzek, an owner of a large knitting factory in Dačice, died in the camp earlier, in July 1942.”
Kubik added: “This is the second such case in which it was possible to link together the owners of a suitcase and a child's shoe.”
Nazi Germany established Auschwitz in 1940 to initially imprison Poles.
Two years later Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established for the extermination of Jews.
By the time the war ended, at least 1.1 million people had been killed.