As part of their duty, Kate and William have toured a museum in Poland which was once a Concentration Camp. The most harrowing of the exhibits was the 65,000 pairs of shoes that once belonged to victims. Forced to take them off and discarded like pieces of old cloth, more than 100 thousand people are thought to have gone through the iron gates at Stutthof. Merely 10%, or even less than those who went through the gates at Auschwitz. Though, their lives are no less important or significant.
The harrowing exhibits are a tasteful and truly awful thing to see all at once. To see the cruelty that man can do to not only fellow man, but to children as well. From the ultimate degradation of being forced to work barefoot, to the number tags tattooed onto their arms, to the shaving of hair. Nearly all of them were Jews.
Men were forced to shave their beards, women were forced to shave their heads. The idea was to make each and every one of them look identical, like row after row of mannequin dummies.
To a degree, they all did, except for their ‘stamping code’ on their ‘uniform’.
The Red Triangle was for political prisoners, Anarchists, Democrats or anyone that didn’t follow Hitler’s ideals.
The Green Triangle was for Convicts who were convicted in a court of law (ironic how the worlds biggest atrocity was not deemed criminal).
Blue was to indicate emigrants, legal or not
Purple primarily was used for Jehovah Witness and other smaller, non confirmative groups
Pink was predominantly gay men, though sexual offenders, including paedophiles and zoophiles (the sexual attraction to seeing animals have sex, not actual bestiality) were also given the pink triangle
The Black Triangle was to single out ‘Work Shy’ people, alcoholics, beggars and prostitutes
The later introduced Brown triangle was used to signify Roma Men
The Uninverted Red triangle was for enemy POW’s, Spy’s and Traitors.
The Dutchess of Cambridge was visibly shocked, intrigued, saddened and interested at the museum. Hearing the stories of some of the people who once owned one of those 65,000 pairs of shoes. Hearing of the liberation, the trials and tribulations after their liberation.
Prince William was also heard apologizing for asking so many questions, such was his interest. Unlike his Father, Prince Charles, William has never been a big researcher, preferring to ask questions and receive answers as oppose to opening a book or asking Google. Making him actually quite a humble being. His lack of superior knowledge, and his unashamed way of asking questions makes him that little bit more like the rest of us. Similar to asking someone directions.
The couple, obviously moved by the trip around the former concentration camp were also greeted by relatives and the few surviving inmates from Stuthoff. Telling them of their relatives and loved ones who were imprisoned there for so long.
One thing has to be said about William and Kate, they’re keen learners, and, although enjoy isn’t the right word, they will gladly lap up any information about history that people are willing to give.
Hopefully, the 120,000 shoes is a stark, and bleak reminder of the atrocities of the past, and that something similar never happens again.