19/03/2019 19/05/2019

Exhibition on Polish diplomat who saved Jewish refugees opens in Lithuania

The exhibition "Polish Ambassador to Japan Tadeusz Romer and Jewish War Refugees in the Far East" opened at Sugihara House in Kaunas, Lithuania, on Wednesday. According to its organisers, it presents the heroic actions taken by the Polish diplomat in Japan.

The exhibition was prepared by Olga Barbasiewicz from the Institute of the Middle and Far East of the Jagiellonian University, and commissioned by the Polish Institute in Vilnius.

"One of the main goals of our research project, implemented by Olga Barbasiewicz, was to show our Lithuanian audience the extraordinary story (...) of an eminent Polish diplomat who helped save Jews," said the director of the Polish Institute in Vilnius Marcin Łapczyński.

The exhibition tells a story of Polish Ambassador Romer and his activities which were aimed to save Jews in Japan and Shanghai. It also presents the daily life of Jewish refugees, their problems, challenges, journalistic and political activities. Łapczyński underscored that thanks to previously unpublished sources and witnesses who were reached, people can get to know the fates of Jews rescued before the Holocaust.

The exhibition will run in Kaunas through May 19. It will also be presented in Vilnius in September.

Tadeusz Ludwik Romer was born on December 6, 1894 in Antonosz, which at that time was in the Kaunas province of the Russian Empire. In 1937, he became the first Polish ambassador in Japan. In 1940, Polish Jews who tried to escape from the Holocaust received transit visas from the Japanese Consul in Kaunas Sugihara, which enabled them to travel to Japan.

Polish Ambassador to Japan Romer, helped to provide Jewish refugees with visas. In order to provide them with assistance, the ambassador formed the "Polish Committee to Aid War Victims in Japan", which was chaired by his wife, Zofia Romer.

Tadeusz Romer died in Montreal in 1978 at the age of 84.