BY LUIS GRONDA
The Kupferberg Holocaust Museum at Queensborough Community College will soon have an exhibit detailing the plight of comfort women.
The new exhibit will further highlight the issue that the Center has already shed some light on, Dr. Arthur Flug, the Center’s executive director, said at a press conference announcing the exhibit last week.
During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army forced women living in lands they occupied into sexual slavery, kidnapping women from their homes and forcing them to live in comfort stations. The women were forced into the slavery in several Asian countries including China, Korea and the Philippines.
The Center has been running an internship program for students to learn about what the comfort women were forced to do during that time, and even interview a woman that a student is assigned via video chat at the end of the course.
The exhibit, which will cost between $50,000 and $80,000 to install, will feature images of the women as well as interviews the students did with them.
Flug said they were approached by people from the Korean Community to bring more attention to this issue and the exhibit is just an extension of that.
“The more we looked at it, we just couldn’t find a reason to say no,” he said. “What was happening to these young women in Asia during World War II was happening to people who are Holocaust survivors today.”
The comfort women issue has been a source of controversy between Japan and Korea in the years following the war. The Japanese Government issued an apology in 1993 for forcing the women to participate as sex slaves but others within that government say there is not enough proof to definitively state that as fact and said that the women were not forced to participate.
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said they must continue to let people know of the terrible events that happened during that time.
“This is not to criticize certain governments, this is just to remind them that we have to respect history,” he said.
Preliminary renderings of what the exhibit will look like were on display at the press conference, showing artist drawings of the women and telling their stories.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @luisgronda.