Minister of Culture of Lithuania opens "Between Life and Death" exhibition
On the occasion of the upcoming International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the exhibition “Between Life and Death. Stories of Rescue during the Holocaust” was opened in Vilnius.
The showing of the display in Lithuanian capital was launched on 24 January at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum.
The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania Dr Mindaugas Kvietkauskas said that the exhibition is very important especially because it portrays the simple heroism. He stressed that while we should acknowledge the merits of war heroes, politicians or some famous names of culture, it's particularly important for us to remember also about the heroism of simple people.
The Polish Ambassador Urszula Doroszewska mentioned the multicultural past of the Lithuanian capital. “Over the centuries, the city was a great center of the Jewish culture” – she stated, explaining why Vilnius was a symbolically important stop at the exhibition’s tour around Europe.
The director of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, Mr Markas Zingeris, said: “What we can learn from the rescuers of Jews is very simple: that it is very hard to remain human when there are antisemitic laws and propaganda; when barbarity has become a war-time norm. It is surprising that Jews were sometimes saved by entire villages or groups of like-minded people, whether it would be Lithuania or mountainous regions of France. So I am proud and happy to present this exhibition with rescue stories from almost entire Europe, from the river Neman to the Atlantic Ocean. Each of these stories is worth to be reflected in a book or a movie. And yet many of these stories will disappear in the past and the rescuers will remain, as said by Martin Gilbert, the unsung heroes of the Holocaust”.
Meanwhile, Prof. Jan Rydel, the Polish Coordinator of the ENRS emphasized the outstanding courage and determination of the Righteous, calling their deeds “the most perfect examples of tolerance in practice.” At the same time, he pointed out the complex issue of merit, guilt and responsibility when it comes to addressing the horrible experiences of the Holocaust. “Naturally, the healing effect of memory about the Righteous would cease if we only recalled their honourable deeds, while ignoring or rejecting knowledge on the perpetrators of these crimes and their henchmen, or the people who were indifferent” – concluded Prof. Rydel.
The speeches were followed with curator’s tour of the exhibition led by Klara Jackl from POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
The opening was attended by Ms Iga Makuteniene, a granddaughter of a Righteous Among the Nations Sofia Binkiene, as well as the representatives of the ENRS and POLIN Museum.
The exhibition is a joint initiative of the ENRS, POLIN Museum and Silent Heroes Memorial Center. It had its premiere in Brussels with the official opening at the European Commission headquarters. Showings in Amsterdam and Bratislava followed. Vilnius is the fourth stop on the exhibition’s tour around Europe.
The exhibition can be seen at the Tolerance Center till 17 March.Read more about the display
Between Life and Death. Stories of Rescue during the Holocaust
24 January – 17 March 2019
Venue: Tolerance Center, Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum
Naugarduko st. 10/2, Vilnius
European Network Remembrance and Solidarity,
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews,
Silent Heroes Memorial Centre at the German Resistance Memorial Center Foundation
Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland,
Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), Germany
Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum,
Memorial Chambon sur Lignon,
Memorial de la Shoah,
Danish Jewish Museum,
‘Tkuma’ Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies,
Museum of the Second World War,
NIOD, the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies,
Nation’s Memory Institute (UPN)