26 January 2009
Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York




In observance ofthe International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the Department of Public Information is launching a new initiative to encourage Holocaust education around the world:  the Footprints for Hope Project.  Designed for students aged 13 years and above, this project brings the global network of United Nations information centres together with local schools to further young people’s understanding of the Holocaust and respect for human rights.

Developed in partnership with the Institute of Education ( University of London) and the Holocaust Centre in the United Kingdom, the educational resources and film focus on one of the most painful graphic images from this tragedy, the countless shoes left behind by victims murdered in Nazi death camps.  

The project has two important elements:  students explore the history of the Holocaust through a meaningful discussion of a historical artefact –- a single child’s shoe found at Auschwitz-Birkenau –- and are empowered to effect positive change through a creative art project.

‘Ordinary Things?’ an activity and discussion built around a small shoe, enables students to connect with the victims of the Holocaust and their stories.  A seemingly every day, ordinary object takes on profound meaning as young people discover that it is the shoe of a young child murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This activity serves as a foundation and inspiration for the creative art activity, organized by the global networks of United Nations information centres, which introduces an element of hope though art, by the painting of discarded footwear with vivid colours to create a brighter future.

‘Footprints’ is a short educational film produced to accompany these activities and is designed to support teachers in preparing for the ‘Ordinary Things?’ activity and for students to help inspire their creative, artistic response.


‘Ordinary Things? Discovering the Holocaust through historical artefacts’

PowerPoint presentation and lesson plan conceived and created by Paul Salmons,

Head of Curriculum Development, Holocaust Education Development Programme, Institute of Education ( University of London).

‘Footprints:  Learning about the Holocaust through historical artefacts’ educational film produced by Cornelia Reetz, The Holocaust Centre and presented by Paul Salmons, Institute of Education ( University of London).

Photography:  Olivia Hemingway, oliviahemingway.com

Child’s shoe:  Collections of Imperial War Museum London, www.iwm.org.uk

Institute of Education ( University of London)

The Institute of Education’s Holocaust Education Development Programme aims to provide a research-informed, innovative and nationally coordinated programme to help teachers teach about the Holocaust effectively.  A national programme of professional development in Holocaust education will be offered free of charge to teachers in every secondary school in England.  Further information can be found at www.hedpuk.org.

The Holocaust Centre is the United Kingdom's only dedicated Holocaust memorial and education centre.  Founded by Dr.'s Stephen and James Smith in 1995, the Centre welcomes thousands of visitors each year.  In September 2008, the Centre launched ‘The Journey’, the first dedicated Holocaust education centre for primary school children.  For more information, please visit www.holocaustcentre.net.

The materials were produced in partnership with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information.  The Programme was established by General Assembly resolution 60/7, to encourage education about and remembrance of the Holocaust.  Please visit the Programme's website at www.un.org/holocaustremembrance for further information and to download the materials.

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For information media • not an official record