Manchester, England – “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe, who captivated moviegoers as the bespectacled schoolboy wizard, has donated the first pair of glasses he wore as a child to an art exhibition marking the horrors of the Holocaust.
The British actor joins several other celebrities and members of the public whose spectacles will be linked together in the shape of a railway track – recalling the trains that carried many of the Nazis’ victims to concentration camps throughout Europe. An estimated 6 million Jews died.
The exhibition in Liverpool will open Jan. 21. The port city in northwest England will host Britain’s Holocaust Day commemorative service on Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Muslim leaders are set to attend the multicultural service, which is the culmination of a series of lectures, exhibitions, stage shows and musical events recalling the Nazi atrocities and more recent genocides. Jason Isaacs, who stars as the sinister Lucius Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” films, will also take part in the service.
The 18-year-old Radcliffe, whose mother is Jewish, sent the oval, gray metal-framed pair of glasses he wore as a 6-year-old.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. chat-show host Jerry Springer and Yoko Ono, the widow of Beatle John Lennon, have also donated glasses to the exhibition.
“(It is) such a symbolic piece of artwork, which will help people to learn how important it is to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and to challenge hatred and prejudice wherever it arises,” Ono said in a statement released by Liverpool City Council.
Organizers are seeking a total of 110,000 pairs of eyeglasses. When installed inside Liverpool Town Hall’s main ballroom, organizers hope mirrors will multiply the number of spectacles and give the appearance of 330,000 pairs – the estimated number of Jews in Britain at the time of the Holocaust.
“We wanted to remind people of the horrors of the Holocaust, but we wanted an artistic response and not just want a mound of spectacles,” Jean Evans, the project’s director, told The Associated Press.
The exhibition will also offer a legacy of its own.
Within weeks, it will be dismantled. The glasses of the famous will be auctioned for charity while the others will be sent to people in developing nations through the charitable group Vision Aid Overseas.
To coincide with the Holocaust Day events, an Anne Frank Festival is due to open Saturday. A replica of the Amsterdam bedroom where the Jewish teenager wrote her diary will be constructed inside Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral.
The 15-year-old Frank died of typhus in Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945 after being seized from the Amsterdam attic in August 1944 along with her parents and sister.
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