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People

'The shoes are the last witnesses'

April 16, 2009

Every year, Alan Morawiec organizes the 'Holocaust Shoe Project', which collects outgrown or unwanted shoes in tribute to the Holocaust Awareness Week. Morawiec is a 7th grade teacher in the Jefferson County Public School District. He is an educator to not only his students, but to his community.

His legacy

'The ‘Holocaust Shoe Project’ is my way to educate our students about the Holocaust and to do something good for our community by donating the shoes at the completion of every Holocaust Awareness Week,” says Morawiec.

29,000 pairs of shoes and counting

In 2008, a total of 4,757 pairs of shoes were collected and donated to two organizations. The shoes have been donated to organizations in countries around the world, including: Mexico, Iraq, Belarus, and Haiti.

Since the start of the Holocaust shoe project, in 2000, almost 29,000 pairs of shoes have been collected and approximately 29,000 people have been helped.

“These shoes are powerful and awesome symbolic reminder to our students of the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust. I use shoes to try to give meaning of how many people were killed. I want people to view the shoes not just as shoes, but as soles,” says Morawiec.

Inspired by his father's story

Morawiec started the project because he wanted to teach the importance of being aware about the Holocaust and provide messages on how to turn human cruelty into positive acts of kindness.

Morawiec’s father is a survivor of the Holocaust and he tells his father’s story to help repair the world and keep the memory alive.

“It’s too difficult for him to talk about his experiences so I have became my father’s voice so his story and memory of so many other do not perish with time,” says Morawiec. “My father believes that what I am doing is very important, that it needs to be done more. Education is the key. One day there will be no more survivors. It is up to individuals like my son to teach and remind people what had happen.”


Morawiec will speak at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21 in the Lory Student Center Theatre.


Contact: Anh Ha
E-mail: Anh.Ha@ColoState.edu
Phone: (970) 491-4161