Exhibition Launch: ‘IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS’ a daughter’s response to her father’s silence, with Learning from the Righteous and Finchley Reform Synagogue
January 18, 2024 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Within weeks of the Anschluss, Wilhelm Pollak (Bill Powell), was arrested and spent the following ten months in Dachau and Buchenwald. After arriving in the UK in May ’39, he spent a year interned in Canada and eventually returned to Britain to join the Pioneer Corp, unable to speak about his camp experiences; a silence he kept for the rest of his life. After his death, his daughter, the ceramicist Jenny Stolzenberg, created an instalment of shoes in his memory – describing it as “the conversation they were never able to have; a creative response to his silence”. Before her untimely death, in 2016, Jenny’s work was exhibited widely, and to high acclaim, including at the Imperial War Museum and Buchenwald Museum.
By researching previously neglected diaries and letters held at the Wiener Library, and accessing numerous documents held in archives across the world, Antony Lishak, CEO of the Holocaust education charity Learning from the Righteous has been able to construct a comprehensive account of what happened to Wilhelm, and the family he left behind in Vienna. During the evening he will talk about how these discoveries add extra poignancy to Jenny’s evocative memorial, and explain her father’s silence.
Learning from the Righteous and Finchley Reform Synagogue’s HMD Group are honoured to help fulfil Jenny’s family’s wish that her work continues to provoke reflection. They are delighted that the new IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS travelling exhibition will enable schools, colleges and communal spaces to display these remarkable shoes, each bearing witness to a life cut short. We are grateful for the support of The Association of Jewish Refugees and the Austrian Cultural Forum in staging this event.
Join us for the launch of the exhibition at The Wiener Holocaust Library
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