On 26 May, the Polish Mother's Day, the Museum of the Second World War and the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity invite you to the closing of the international exhibition 'Between Life and Death. Stories of Rescue during the Holocaust'. The event is open to the public and will take place on 26 May at 14:30 in the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk.
A special guest of this significant gathering will be Elżbieta Ficowska, a Holocaust survivor and wife of the late renowned writer and poet Jerzy Ficowski. Joining her is Zuzanna Stawińska, the great-granddaughter of Aleksandra Gawrych, Righteous Among the Nations. This meeting serves as a heartfelt tribute to the mothers who selflessly aided persecuted Jews, endured the unimaginable loss of their own children during the Holocaust, or embraced the role of mother-figures for saved Jewish children. It stands as a testament to their unwavering strength and humanity.
Presented at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk since March 2023, the exhibition focuses on twelve case of people who helped Jews persecuted during the Second World War and testimonies of Holocaust survivors. At the height of the war the Nazi regime murdered millions of Jews, in Germany as well as in the countries under German occupation such as France, Poland and parts of the Soviet Union. Non-Jews witnessed atrocities against their neighbours and colleagues. Hiding or helping Jews in any way was penalised and, depending on the country, led to 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. The Polish part of the exhibition showcases the story of Elżbieta Ficowska who was smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto as a little baby. She was born there in 1942 to Henia and Jossel Koppel and subsequently hidden from Germans by Stanisława Bussold, a 56-year-old midwife and member of the underground who aided Jews. The only thing left from her Jewish parents is a little silver spoon bearing the girl’s name and birth date. For many years Elżbieta Ficowska chaired the Children of the Holocaust Association in Poland. Presenting a captivating journey through history, the traveling exhibition brings forth an intimate collection of personal narratives from Holocaust survivors and rescuers representing twelve different countries. Against a broader historical background of a tumultuous era, this showcase sheds light on the intricate tapestry of human relationships forged amidst the harshest of circumstances. The exhibition offers a profound comprehension of the local dynamics and opportunities that shaped the survival of Jewish individuals and the selfless acts of assistance provided by their courageous helpers.
The project is a joint initiative of the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Warsaw) and the Silent Heroes Memorial Centre (Berlin). The exhibition had its premiere in Brussels at the headquarters of European Commission in January 2018, marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since then, it has travelled to several cities across Europe, including Amsterdam, Bratislava, Vilnius, Wroclaw, Budapest and many others. It has also been presented in Japan.
The exhibition will be at display till 28 May.