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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2015)


Paintings which continue to convey the truth

Exhibition of works by Mieczysław Kościelniak, who lived in Auschwitz

“Children Behind Wire" courtesy of Michiko Nomura

From March 24 to April 23, Waseda University will host an exhibition of works by the Polish painter Mieczysław Kościelniak. The exhibition is entitled "Paintings which continue to convey the truth: Mieczysław Kościelniak Exhibition," and was co-organized with the Poland Public Relations and Cultural Center and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tokyo. Through the cooperation of Waseda graduate Michiko Nomura, the current owner of the paintings, the exhibition featured 19 works which depicted actual conditions in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940 t0 1945).

The opening ceremony on March 24 was attended by Ambassador of Poland to Japan, Cyryl Kozaczewski, who expressed the importance of encouraging youth to think about the hatred, intolerance, and discrimination experienced by many during the war. President Kamata commented, “To prevent the disasters of war from fading from memory, I would like the youth of Japan to visit this exhibition and learn about these tragedies.”

Kościelniak had his paintings entrusted to Waseda graduate Michiko Nomura, who, for twenty years, has preserved the 19 paintings and presented them at exhibitions around the world. Nomura has decided to return the paintings to Kościelniak’s homeland of Poland this year. “This will be the last exhibition in Japan," she said. Seventy years have passed since the war, but conflicts and acts of terrorism can be seen around the world. It is for this reason that I would like to show these paintings to as many people as possible, specifically young people who are unfamiliar with the reality of war."

On April 18, a symposium entitled “What does Auschwitz have to teach us today?” will be held in conjunction with the exhibition.