Little shoe and suitcase. The story of Amos Steinberg continues.
In July, we informed about a very emotional discovery in one of the children’s shoes. A handmade inscription was found in it bearing the name of the child to which it belonged - Amos Steinberg. Following further detailed research in the Collections, it turned out that there was a suitcase at the Memorial, which most likely belonged to the boy’s father. We also obtained more information from their relatives from Israel.
Amos Steinberg was born on 26 June 1938. He lived in Prague. On 10 August 1942, he was imprisoned along with his parents Ludwig (Ludvík) and Ida in the Theresienstadt Ghetto near Prague. They were all deported to Auschwitz.
From surviving documents we know that the mother and son were deported to Auschwitz in the same transport on 4 October 1944. They were likely both murdered in a gas chamber after selection. We may presume that it was probably the boy’s mother who ensured that her child’s shoe was signed. The father, however, was deported to Auschwitz in an erlier transport. We know that he was transferred from Auschwitz to Dachau on 10 October 1944. He was liberated in the Kaufering sub-camp.
Thanks to a family living in Israel, who contacted the Museum, we received several additional biographical information and a few family photographs. The Holocaust survivor Ludvík Steinberg (Yehuda Shinan) emigrated to Israel in May 1949. He became a teacher and principal of several schools in Israel. He was highly valued and liked by his pupils and teachers who worked with him. He still loved music and worked as a cantor in several synagogues. He also conducted choirs. He passed away in 1985. His wife, Chana Shinan, whom he had met before the war in Prague, died in 2014. They have 6 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
‘I am deeply grateful to the Steinberg family for the information they have given us and for supplementing our knowledge. With this gesture, objects inextricably linked to Auschwitz lose the anonymity weighing down on them - sometimes unbearable - and acquire a deeper, individual significance. As an object of great documentary value, the shoe is proof of the suffering of a particular person, and along with thousands of other objects that we preserve at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, evidence of the genocide that took place here,' said Museum Director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
One of the suitcases in the Museum Collections bears the name “Ludwig Steinberg”. Preserved documentation shows that at least two people went by this name and surname at KL Auschwitz. However, based on the date of arrival of the transport of Ludwig, Ida and Amos Steinberg to the camp, one may conclude that it is very likely that this suitcase is connected to them.
An important indication is the number “541” found on the suitcase. ‘It is hardly visible to the naked eye. It was successfully deciphered through photographs taken under infrared light. It is the number under which Amos was registered on the transport list to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. It has been appended to the rest of the data in the suitcase. It is another indication that the suitcase was probably associated with Amos’s family, and perhaps even directly with him,’ said Hanna Kubik from the Museum Collections. ‘We do not know for sure who arrived with it to Auschwitz. Perhaps Amos’s belongings were packed into it earlier, and hence the number was written there. Instances, where the same suitcase was used in transports to the Theresienstadt Ghetto and then, during the deportation to Auschwitz, by two different people, were quite common,’ added Kubik
‘We have decided that, during the subsequent preservation work, the suitcase with the name ‘Ludwig Steinberg’ will be moved from the room where it is currently stored to the main exhibition. It will be placed among the other suitcases on display there. We will pass on the knowledge about the object to the guides, who often introduce elements of the history of particular people into their tour narrative,’ added Director Cywiński.
In total, the Germans transferred 24 transports of over 46,000 Jews from the Theresienstadt Ghetto to Auschwitz. About 18,000 of them were placed in a special family camp in section BIIb of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.