The International March of the Living commends Adidas for its recent decision to immediately terminate its partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, for his most recent antisemitic statements, including those threatening the Jewish people.
The decision by Adidas – a German company globally famous for its shoes – carries even greater significance as the International March of the Living is now partnering with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and the Auschwitz–Birkenau State Museum to restore 8,000 shoes which were taken from innocent Jewish children murdered in Auschwitz. These shoes, silent witnesses of lives lost, are the last tangible evidence of those Jewish children who were taken to the gas chambers upon their arrival in the camp. They tell the story of where hatred can lead – a lesson that Kanye clearly should take note.
Since its inception in 1988, the International March of the Living has been at the forefront of teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and standing up against antisemitism and all forms of prejudice and intolerance.
During the Holocaust, a pair of well-fitting shoes was often the difference between life and death for millions of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany’s genocidal attacks, especially for those interned in Nazi concentration camps spread across occupied Europe.
In fact, shoes were often among the first personal items seized by Nazi guards when Jews arrived in concentration camps. Thousands of those prisoners’ shoes are still housed as historical artifacts in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where over 1.1 million people, including over 1 million Jews, and over 200,000 Jewish children, were murdered.
To reaffirm our strong stance against hatred, we invite all people around the world to join us in the preservation of these 8,000 children’s shoes in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum by participating in our Sole to Soul Campaign at www.motl.org/shoes
Join us in our continued fight against antisemitism. It is only when companies like Adidas cut ties with known promoters of hatred and take a moral stand against dangerous statements such as those of Kayne West, that we can hope to build a world where all people feel safe from the evils of prejudice and intolerance.