Strictly Come Dancing runner-up Rachel Stevens, Olympic 400 metres golden girl Christine Ohuruogu and supermodel Jodie Kidd are opposing racism by sending footwear to a Holocaust Memorial Day art project.
As part of the main commemorative event in Coventry on the theme of “Stand up to Hatred”, an artwork constructed from hundreds of pairs of shoes will represent the fate of Holocaust victims who were made to remove their shoes before their deaths.
Footwear has also been donated by personalities connected with the host city, including the manager of Coventry’s 1987 FA Cup-winning team, John Sillett, and former track and field star and UK Athletics chief executive Dave Moorcroft. Coventry City Council deputy leader Kevin Foster said: “The piles of shoes left behind by victims of the Holocaust make personal the suffering of millions.”
HMD Trust chair Stephen Smith added that this year’s events would be about “learning the lessons of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides to build a better future. It is about standing up to hatred and replacing it with respect and understanding.”
Although the HMD date is January 27, Coventry decided to stage the main ceremony and associated events on Sunday January 25 to maximise participation.
Local residents, community groups and businesses will be planting snowdrops across the city in memory of Holocaust victims.