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JFTL Charity Footprints_Logo.png

Origional logo icon

When people see our original logo, they ask… why the shoes?

It’s a hardship tale for the Schonwetter family. Mark Schonwetter’s father, Israel, was the head of the Jewish community in their hometown of Brzostek, Poland. When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Mark’s father was often interrogated by the Gestapo about the happenings in the Jewish community. One day he didn’t return home and Sala, Mark’s mother, was told they were in danger so she escaped town that night with her children.

Years later, while hiding in the forest, a close family friend and former employee would bring the family food. One day when unable to make it, his son-in-law came in his place to the forest and Mark’s mother instantly recognized the shoes he was wearing, while he was quite apprehensive to tell, he shared::
“After your family ran away, the Nazis took all the young Polish men deep into the forest to dig a big hole. When they brought us back a few days later it was to bury 250 Jewish men, women, and children in that hole.”

The Nazis instructed the Polish men to take one item as a reward for the work they did. The son-in-law immediately recognized Israel’s shoes and chose to take them because “Israel was a good man, and he wanted to honor him by walking in his shoes.” While Sala was devastated to know her husband was murdered by the Nazis, she was able to find closure and share one last memory of her husband’s character with the man. 

When starting our foundation, we knew we wanted to honor Israel's life as he faced hatred head on for his community. The drawing and positioning of the shoes in our foundation’s logo are the same as Israel Schonwetter wore in a treasured family photo. The logo was created not only in memory of Israel, but also to remind people to “take a walk in someone else’s shoes'' before judging them.


Israel Schonwetter

circa 1930

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