Aonogahara

Aonogahara

Austrian POWs in Japan 1914-1920

The special exhibition will be shown in the premises of the Niederösterreichische Landesbibliothek.

From 1914, more than fifteen camps for prisoners of war from the German Reich and Austro-Hungarian origin were opened in Japan. Aonogohara, in the south of the island, was one of them. The Haus der Geschichte im Museum Niederösterreich, in cooperation with the University of Kobe and the city of Kasai, document the fates of Austrian prisoners of war in this exhibition.

How did they come to the island? The SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth - the ship with which heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand had already visited China and Japan during his world tour in 1892/1893 - was stationed at the time of the outbreak of war in 1914 in the German leased territory of Tsingtao. Japan entered the war as an ally of Great Britain. After the conquest of Tsingtao, in the fall of 1914, the crew of the SMS Empress Elisabeth was captured and taken to a prisoner of war camp in Japan.

The involuntary stay on the island from 1914-1920 was the first opportunity for many soldiers from Austria-Hungary to get in touch with Japanese culture.

The exhibition presents camp life with exhibits, some of which have never been shown outside of Japan: works by prisoners of war, components of barracks as well as memorabilia and photographs. These are supplemented by exhibits from Austrian and foreign museums and correspondence, which have been in private ownership for generations.
With the project "Aonogahara", the Haus der Geschichte im Museum Niederösterreich with its project partners is contributing to the 150th anniversary of Austrian-Japanese relations.

The special exhibition will be shown in the premises of the Niederösterreichische Landesbibliothek.


Curators: Nikos Kahovec, Atsushi Otsuru, Christian Rapp, Benedikt Vogl

Project partners: Niederösterreichischen Landesbibliothek, City of Kasai, University of Kobe

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