cover image of Between Life and Death 2022: Exhibition in Gifu, Japan project

    Between Life and Death

    30 August - 25 September 2022, Gifu, Japan

    At the height of the Second World War, the Nazi regime murdered millions of Jews, in Germany, as well as in the countries under German occupation. Non-Jews witnessed atrocities against their neighbours and colleagues. Hiding or helping Jews, in any way, was penalised. Depending on the country this could result in physical violence, imprisonment, and in many cases, a death sentence. Many watched passively or even took advantage of the desperate situation of the Jews, but some selflessly helped. Among them were people of all social classes: factory workers and doctors, seamstresses and aristocrats, peasants and artists. They used whatever means they could, and sometimes risked their own lives, to help those in need.

    One of them was Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese vice-consul in Kaunas, Lithuania. In the six weeks preceding the closure of the Japanese consulate, in September 1940, Sugihara supplied thousands of Jews with transit visas to Japan — despite the fact that his country was an ally of Nazi Germany. He might have saved up to 6,000 Jews, although the exact number is unknown. After stepping down from his position in 1947 Sugihara led a modest life and never talked about his activities. They were made public in 1968 by one of those whom he had saved. As a result, in 1984, he was recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” by the World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. He is the only Japanese to hold this honorary title.

    The exhibition ‘Between Life and Death’ recalls the courageous acts of Sugihara and many others on the tour around Japan. It has already visited the Osaka International Peace Center, the Kanagawa Plaza for Global Citizenship (Earth Plaza) in Yokohama, and Tsuruga Port of Humanity. Now, ‘Between Life and Death’ will come to Chiune Sugihara’s birthplace – the Gifu prefecture. The exhibition’s fourth and last destination in Japan will be Chiune Sugihara’s Hall Memorial in Yaotsu.

    The exhibition is presented in Japanese. Catalogues in English, German and Japanese languages are available on-line.

    Venue: Chiune Sugihara Memorial Hall

    Read about the project

    ‘Between Life and Death’ is a joint initiative of the European Remembrance and Solidarity Network, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and the Silent Heroes Memorial Center in Berlin. It was first presented in the headquarters of European Commission in Brussels, in January 2018, to commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since then it has travelled to several cities across Europe, including Amsterdam, Bratislava, Vilnius, Wrocław, Budapest and many others. It was brought to Japan in cooperation with the Polish Institute in Tokyo and Osaka International Peace Center. The visit to Japan has been co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as a part of the program “Inspiring Culture.” The 2022 tour is co-funded by the European Union.

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    Partners and Co-organisers

    logo of ENRS
    logo of Polin Museum
    logo of Silent Heroes
    Local partners
    logo of Peace Osaka
    logo of Polish Institute in Tokyo
    logo of Polish Embassy in Japan
    logo of Chiune Sugihara Memorial Hall
    logo of Lieu de Mémoire au Chambon-sur-Lignon
    logo of Mémorial de la Shoah
    logo of Danish Jewish Museum
    logo of Museum Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine
    logo of Castrum Peregrini
    logo of Museum of the Second World War
    logo of NIOD
    logo of Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum
    logo of UPN
    logo of Holocaust Memorial Center Budapest
    logo of INSHR EW
    logo of Fondazione Villa Emma
    logo of DE Ministry
    logo of PL Ministry
    logo of HU Ministry
    logo of SL Ministry
    logo of RO Ministry
    logo of EU Disclaimer