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Trevor Stone's Journal
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Jews in Japan 
6th-May-2005 12:49 am
asia face of the earth relief
People struggling with ADD could go to a lack of concentration camp...

But seriously. Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I saw a show on PBS which contained information entirely new to me. Thousands of Polish and other Jews emigrated from Lithuania to Japan. After arriving in Japan they convinced the Japanese Generals not to embark on an anti-Semitic program because the Jews and the Japanese are both Asian and (more importantly for the argument) not Aryan. Under pressure, the Japanese moved most of the Jews to Shanghai, but they returned after the war.

How did the Jews end up in Japan? They first convinced the temporary Dutch consulate to grant them entry visas to the Dutch Caribbean colony of Curaçao. Then the one-man Japanese consulate in Lithuania, Sugihara Chiune, agreed to hand write Japanese transport visas for as many Jews as he could. Most had no idea where Curaçao was, and none attempted to get there after crossing Siberia to get to Japan.

Interestingly, before World War II, some Japanese officials pursued a Jewish state in Manchuria. Jews were good engineers, artisans, and scientists, had contacts in and understanding of the West, etc., all of which were lacking in 1920s Japan. The plan lost out to the generals' program.

There's quite a bit of information on PBS's website. So check out Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness.
6th-May-2005 09:28 am (UTC)
You know what else is interesting? Here in Brighton we have a large Jewish community in the surrounding areas. We also have a large Japanese community because Brighton used to be a Japanese internment camp. I apologize if this doesn't make much sense right now. It makes sense to me at this moment but only because I just went on a marathon bender into the world of crash-course philosophy so that I could help my husband get finished with his class.

6th-May-2005 09:28 am (UTC)
P.S. And I meant to add that it only makes sense because my head is swimming and I feel like I need to have a moment of Mind-bulemia
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