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A child's shoe and a suitcase - a family history preserved in objects


A unique discovery was made in the Collections of the Auschwitz Memorial. Inside one of the children's shoes, personal information of its owner – a Czech Jewish girl – was found. It also turned out that a suitcase that belonged to her uncle survived and is preserved at the Museum.


A shoe that...
Věra Vohryzková...
A shoe that...
Max Vohryzek
A suitcase that...
František Aufrecht

'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,' said the Head of the Collections Elżbieta Cajzer.

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 two years older brother, Jiří. They all perished in the camp,' said Hanna Kubik from the Museum Collections.

The girl's father, Max Vohryzek, an owner of a large knitting factory in Dačice, perished in the camp earlier, in July 1942. His camp photograph and a document confirming his death survived and are preserved in the Museum Archives.

'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,' added Hanna Kubik.

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 perished in Dachau in April 1945, a month before the camp's liberation.

This is the second such case in which it was possible to link together the owners of a suitcase and a child's shoe. In 2020, Amos Steinberg's shoe and a suitcase that belonged to his father, Ludvik, were identified.