In Their Footsteps

a daughter's response to her father's silence

Bill And Jenny

Bill Powell died in 1990; a loving husband, proud father and doting grandfather. He arrived in the UK fifty years earlier, as Wilhelm Pollak, a Jewish refugee from Vienna, having spent 10 months in concentration camps. He rarely spoke about his wartime experiences.
Bill Powell
Jenny Stolzenberg working
Jenny Stolzenburg
His daughter, the ceramicist Jenny Stolzenberg, was born just after the war; the light that helped him emerge from the darkness. Driven to understand her father’s silence, she created an exhibition of ceramic footwear, depicting the uniqueness of each victim of The Holocaust.
Before her death in 2016 the shoes were exhibited worldwide to high acclaim, including at The Imperial War Museum and Buchenwald Museum, where her father was imprisoned. Jenny described the work as the conversation she was never able to have with him.

IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS is a new exhibition and educational resource that enables this expression of a daughter’s love to sit beside the story her father could never share.

The Exhibition

The exhibition has been created from Bill’s previously neglected wartime diaries and correspondence, and original documents sourced from Holocaust archives across the world. It tells the remarkable story of how he survived to build a new life in the UK and the tragic fate of the family he left behind in Vienna.
Exhibition at the Wiener Library of ceramic shoes
Exhibition Wiener Library

Online Resources

The online resource challenges students to consider the question; “in memory of the millions who could no longer leave their mark on the world, what positive impact could you make to a better future?”

Blue Ceramic shoesBrown Ceramic shoesYellow ceramic shoes

It will be divided into two sections :

  • Footsteps That Ended
    a collection of meticulously researched biographies of victims of The Holocaust.
  • Footsteps To Come
    resources to help students create their own shoe-exhibitions for display within the wider school community.

Shoes That Speak Of The Past

Shoes of the victims at Auschwitz
Shoes found at Auschwitz
Shoes are an iconic symbol of Holocaust commemoration; they provide a powerful point of connection to its unfathomable trauma, providing an opportunity for empathy that can enable students to recognise the significance of something that happened long before even their parents were born.

Whereas the mountain of shoes on display at Auschwitz depict the vast vast number of lives that were taken, Jenny’s work focuses on the uniqueness of each individual.

Their vibrancy evokes the immediacy of the terrible moment that shoes such as these were taken off for the final time, highlighting the incalculable lost potential and stolen dreams of the countless thousands of innocent victims.

Help us create a travelling version of the IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS exhibition.

How You Can Get Involved

Over the last six months Learning from the Righteous has taken IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS into numerous schools, inspiring hundreds of students to learn about the contemporary relevance of The Holocaust and design their own displays (right).

Camps and shoes

In order to expand the project’s reach we need to recreate robust versions of the exhibition that can safely travel to schools throughout the country, engaging even more students with the complexity and significance of The Holocaust.

We propose to digitise the exhibition and create 3D-printed replicas of Jenny’s shoes. If you would like to sponsor the making of one of these shoes, please get in touch. It is a tangible way of supporting the future of Holocaust education – a unique opportunity to leave a legacy.

For More Information About The

Sponsor A Shoe Scheme

Contact Antony Lishak MBE
CEO & Founder of
Learning from the Righteous
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