The horrors of war are not just relegated to the battlefield. Far too often, it seems that combat leads to atrocities committed against the innocent. Most atrocities, such as the Holocaust, are well documented in history – but some are unknown, forgotten or even denied by the perpetrators.
Such is the story of the Comfort Women, an unspeakable evil hidden behind the guise of a pleasant euphemism. The term is used to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. The stories of these women – who were mostly from Korea, China, Japan and the Philippines – are now being told with art at Queensborough Community College.
The exhibit, “Come from the Shadows,” officially opened at the campus’ Kupferberg Holocaust Center on August 15 and runs through September 22. Artwork at the exhibit puts a face on the young ladies forced into brothels for the duration of the war.
Arthur Flug, executive director of the Kupferberg Holocaust Center, said that outrage over this act has grown as Japan continues to deny that it actually happened.
“This is another example of denial of events that really took place,” he said. “If you wait long enough all the victims die off and you have no one who is a witness.”
That is why this art show is so important to those in attendance. Assemblymember Grace Meng, Councilmember Dan Halloran, Assemblymember Rory Lancman, Councilmember Peter Koo and Assemblymember Ed Braunstein all attended and spoke about the importance of remembering the Comfort Women.
“As a woman, as a mom and as a daughter it is very difficult to look at these paintings,” said Meng. “But we cannot overlook the importance of these stories. They must be remembered so that these types of atrocities are never repeated.”