Join us at the Wiener Holocaust Library for the launch/preview of the exhibition IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS.
This exhibition explores the story of Bill Powell who 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 Dachau and Buchenwald. He rarely spoke about his wartime experiences. The only tangible link to those tumultuous years were his wartime diary, correspondence, which he never shared. On their discovery, after his death, his family donated them to The Wiener Holocaust Library.
His daughter, the ceramicist Jenny Stolzenberg - driven to understand the trauma behind his silence - emersed herself in Holocaust literature, visited Auschwitz and sought a way to honour his memory. Moved by the mountains of discarded shoes, she created her “Forgive and Not Forget” project; painstakingly accurate reproductions of footwear depicting the uniqueness of each victim of The Holocaust. She described it as the conversation they were never able to have. Before her untimely death, in 2016, the work was exhibited widely, and to high acclaim, including at the Imperial War Museum and Buchenwald Museum.
By researching his archive, and accessing numerous documents held in archives across the world, Antony Lishak, from 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 be talking about how these discoveries add extra poignancy to Jenny’s memorial, explain the trauma behind her father’s silence.
This exhibition enables an evocative expression of a daughter’s love to be displayed – alongside the story her father could never share.
Book tickets here.