Halifax baby Eino Panula's shoes on display

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I just returned from Halifax and got to see EVERY Titanic site I could find-- including the museum where the shoes are displayed. It was very moving to see them after all these years and to think about the last time they were on a pair of little feet.

Inger Sheil

If these are indeed Eino's shoes - and the provenance, while not 100% established, seems fairly believable (anyone have any observations on that?) - then they're unbelievably sad.

Shoes are such personal objects, and make powerful, evocative displays - some Shoah exhibitions have profoundly disturbing, and moving, displays of footwear belonging to the victims. Few images from the seafloor can compete to those of shoes and boots lying side by side.

But if these are Eino's shoes, I can think of no inanimate objects more wrenchingly heartbreaking taken from the water. I can well understand a man's reluctance to consign them to the fire.
Inger: I well remember an experience of this kind. There was no other way for visitors to the State of Israel pavilion at Expo67 in Montreal to leave than by entering a long black tunnel, single-file. At the very end of it was a small lit cube of glass within which was displayed one tiny shoe. We were blind with tears in the sun.

Inger Sheil

A haunting use of an object, Donald - something so simple, yet leaving an indeliable mark on the mind.

A similar idea is explored in the Sydney Jewish Museum, where the exhibition 'The Alcove' commemorates the deaths of the one and a half million children murdered in the Shoah. It takes the form of a sculpture of children’s shoes by Israeli artist Elza Pollak, and is entitled "All that Remained".

James Lowell saw the deeply personal immediacy of the image of the lost shoe in his poem After the Burial, where he writes:

Your logic, my friend, is perfect,
Your moral most drearily true;
But, since the earth clashed on her coffin,
I keep hearing that, and not you.

Console if you will, I can bear it;
’T is a well-meant alms of breath...

but concludes

That little shoe in the corner,
So worn and wrinkled and brown,
With its emptiness confutes you,
And argues your wisdom down.
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