Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Tag: Holocaust

Episode 268 – The Right thing for the Wrong Reasons

Today, we cover one of the most unusual stories of WWII: the policy of saving and protecting Jews pursued by some among Japan’s military leadership. How did anti-semitic ideas about a global conspiracy convince some in Japan that the Jews could be their allies? How many were saved? And what does it all mean?

Sources

Goodman, David and Masanori Miyazawa. Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype.

Shillony, Ben-Ami. Jews & The Japanese

Gao, Bei. Shanghai Sanctuary: Chinese and Japanese Policy Toward European Jews

Images

The synagogue in Harbin, Manchuria
children in Shanghai during the Second World War

One of the main streets of the Shanghai Ghetto in 1943.
This image gives you some idea of how cramped living space was in the Shanghai Ghetto. 
Polish refugees arriving in Shanghai
Yasue Norihiro, one of the two leading men behind the initiative to protect Jews within Japan
Inuzuka Koreshige, also a leader in the initiative to protect Jews within the empire
Despite having been proven a forgery back in the 1920s, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion remains a go-to for anti-semites in Japan and around the world. This edition was edited by Japanese anti-semite Ota Ryu in the 1990s. 

Episode 17 – He Who Saves One Life, Saves an Entire World

This week, we’ll be discussing the life and career of Sugihara Chiune, a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to World War II. In 1940, Sugihara gave up his comfortable life and career to save thousands of Jewish refugees in Eastern Europe from the Nazis. We’ll discuss what he did, why he did it, and why I think it’s important this week.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

PBS put together a documentary series on Sugihara; their evidence is available here.

Yad V’Shem (the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem) houses its evidence on Sugihara here.

Images 

Sugihara Chiune at the height of his career working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Sugihara Chiune at the height of his career working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Sugihara Yukiko at the time of her marriage. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.

Sugihara Yukiko at the time of her marriage. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.

The old Japanese consulate in downtown Kaunas. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The old Japanese consulate in downtown Kaunas. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A line of Jewish refugees outside the Japanese consulate requesting visas during the Summer of 1940. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.

A line of Jewish refugees outside the Japanese consulate requesting visas during the Summer of 1940. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.

One of the transit visas issued by Sughiara Chiune. Courtesy of Yad V'Shem.

One of the transit visas issued by Sughiara Chiune. Courtesy of Yad V’Shem.

The Sugihara Memorial in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Sugihara Memorial in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

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