Fundraising target reached to save 8,000 pairs of disintegrating children’s shoes at Auschwitz

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Fundraising target reached to save 8,000 pairs of disintegrating children’s shoes at Auschwitz

Fresh from successfully raising money to preserve children's shoes at Auschwitz, Eitan Neishlos is looking to the Gulf and education

Eitan Neishlos at the Auschwitz Museum
Eitan Neishlos at the Auschwitz Museum

A Jewish Israeli philanthropist living in Dubai has hailed the work of partners in reaching a six-figure fundraising target to save around 8,000 pairs of children’s shoes at Auschwitz from disintegrating over time.

Eitan Neishlos of the Neishlos Foundation teamed up with International March of the Living, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, and the Auschwitz Memorial, to raise EUR 500,000 (£438,000) from donors to save the tiny footwear that has become so symbolic for millions of visitors to the former death camp.

“I am so happy and moved that this historic project is happening,” says Neishlos, whose foundation stumped up EUR 100,000.

“The shoes are a symbol of a life lost and every shoe represents a story that is the whole world. It was very personal for me. The inspiration of the foundation is my late grandmother’s story. I discovered her memoirs in a shoebox.”

Born in Israel, brought up in South Africa, and later a Jewish community leader while living in Australia, Neishlos has focused much of his efforts of late on cementing peaceful relations between Israelis and Arabs, Jews and Muslims, in the Gulf.

This follows the landmark Abraham Accords signed between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco in 2020, which represents “a gift from the leadership” of these countries, he says.

“Education is a hard power. I made the decision to relocate [to Dubai] because although [the Accords] is a political agreement, we need to sustain it by developing commerce and cultural kinship between our respective communities. I believe it’s a duty.”

In the last 12 months, there have been seismic educational shifts as a result, with Emirati schoolchildren having begun to learn about the Holocaust, while Moroccan children now learn about Jews, Judaism, and the benefits of interfaith relations.

Fighting antisemitism through Holocaust education “under the shaded palm of the Abraham Accords” is a key aim of his foundation, says Neishlos. “And because of the comments made recently by certain leaders, celebrities, and sports people trying to distort history and evidence, the time is now.”

The philanthropist has set his sights on Jewish museums with learning centres, envisioning “digital programmes connecting them to Auschwitz, for example”, but the big prize is weaving Holocaust education into Arab states’ school curricula. “We have the right formula to inspire a Righteous generation,” he says.

The UAE is known for its tolerance, with people of 200 different cultures and religions living peacefully in co-existence, so it is little surprise to Jewish interfaith activists that the Emirates have become an Arabic role model in the field.

Just over a week ago, Neishlos was one of several Jewish figures to attend the opening in Abu Dhabi of the Abrahamic Family House, where there is a mosque, a church, and a synagogue, all of which sit over a secular visitor pavilion.

David Adjaye, the British architect, said the house “will serve as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities, and cultures”.

Neishlos says he is “in the right place” to begin to advance plans for an improved educational rollout, referring to the UAE. “The leadership here is setting the right example by allowing me as a Jew and as an Israeli to not only flourish with business here, but to flourish with this particular mission.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: