"Righteous Without Borders" and "The House Under the Wacky Star" Exhibitions in Rwanda and Kenya
The Hollywood production, "The Zookeeper's Wife", directed by Niki Caro, had its premiere on 24th March this year. The film is based on the book by Diane Ackerman, written from the memoirs of Antonina Żabińska, who is the film's main hero. She is played by Jessica Chastain, Hollywood star. winner of the Golden Globe and twice nominated for an Oscar.
For the Polish Embassy in Kenya, the film has become a catalyst for the discussion of universal values - both timeless and not limited to borders – human dignity and human rights, as well as attitudes regarding genocide. The screening of "The Zookeeper's Wife" in Kigali was preceded by a presentation of our virtual exhibitions, "Righteous Without Borders" and "The House Under the Wacky Star", dedicated to people and organisations who put these values into practice. Among those featured is the story of Antonia Locatelli, an Italian missionary, who endeavoured to tell the world of the raging genocide taking place in Rwanda.
Judge Agniszka Klonowiecka-Milart stressed that "Both Poland and Rwanda have been the stage where genocide has taken place, although the Holocaust of the Jews was not called genocide by the Nuremberg Tribunal. It was only after World War II that the Polish-Jewish lawyer, Rafał Lemkin, drew up a definition of genocide and began working on a Convention on the prevention of and the punishment for this type of crime. The Convention was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Almost fifty years later, the International Criminal Court , with respect to Rwanda, was the first international court to apply Lemkin's definition of genocide and to punish individuals for committing genocide".
Among those who took part in the discussion on genocide we Anita Kayirangwa of Kigali Genocide Memorial, Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart, Judge of the UN Trbunal in the Khmer Rouge, and Marek Rohr-Garztecki, Polish Permanent Representative to UNEP in Nairobi. Guest of Honour at the Nairobi screening was Yahel Vilan, Ambassador of Israel to Kenya.
Prior to the screening of the film in Nairobi, our virtual exhibition "The House Under a Wacky Star" was presented. It tells the story of Jan and Antonina Żabiński, as well as of those whom they saved.