IN MEMORY OF 1.5 MILLION JEWISH CHILDREN
(Photo1 Masaru Otsuki)
Masaru Otsuki, President of the Holocaust Education Center
Dear Friends, On this memorial day of the opening of Holocaust Education Center, we are very happy and honored to have your presence in our midst.
In April 1971, while I was traveling in Israel with Shinonome Chorus, I met an elderly gentleman. He introduced himself as a survivor from Auschwitz and the father of Anne Frank. You can imagine how surprised we were. It was a miracle that God provided. It was also an encounter with the Holocaust for me.
Until 1980, when Mr. Otto Frank passed away, we had kept very close contact with each other. I often visited his home in Switzerland. Before he died, he sent us invaluable pictures and articles with a message. He said, "I sincerely hope that you will not only sympathize with Anne and others for their tragic deaths but also actually do something to create peace." I took his words as his will to me. I felt I had not only to talk about peace, but to do something about it. I thought that I had to carry out Anne's and Mr. Frank's will.
This was the incentive to build this Holocaust Education Center. I believe that there is a profound meaning in building the Holocaust Education Center in Hiroshima where the Atomic Bomb was dropped. We, of course, realize that the issues of the Atomic Bomb and the Holocaust are completely different things. As to the former, it happened because of the war. As to the latter, the Jewish people were not fighting the war against Germany. They were massacred because they happened to be Jews.
After fifty years people are forgetting about these, and the crisis of nuclear weapons and the crisis of Holocaust can be observed in the world today.
We have to recognize this as an important issue of human race, that the disaster of nuclear weapons or of Holocaust could happen anywhere in the world. Unless we do something about this, mankind will repeat the same mistake of the past.
In this sense, it is meaningful to have not Only Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum but also the Holocaust Education Center in Hiroshima Prefecture.
We have just taken a small step. We want to promote this peace movement with your prayers and support. I ask your continued help and concern.
Thank you. (From the opening address of the Holocaust Education Center)
PRESENT AT HISTORY IN THE MAKING
(Photo2:Opening Ceremony June 17, 1995)
Inauguration of the Holocaust Education Center in Miyuki, Fukuyama : June 18, 1995
Randolph L. Braham, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of CUNY
Rarely does a man have an opportunity to be present at history in the making. It was my privilege and honor to attend on June 18, 1995, the inauguration of the Holocaust Education Center and Museum in Miyuki, Fukuyama - the birthplace of the Japanese Christian Friends of Israel. The inauguration, which took place on the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II, was indeed a significant historic event. It marked the official opening of the first Holocaust-related educational institution in Japan. The establishment of such an institution in Japan took many people by surprise because, although an ally of the Third Reich, the country was not involved in the destruction of the Jews. The Holocaust was conceived, planned, and implemented in Europe and represents one of the darkest chapters in the history of Western civilization. According to the currently available evidence, Japan, to the greatest annoyance of the Nazis, saved between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews under the so-called Fugu plan. Moreover, the world still remembers the righteous activities of Senpo Sugihara, the Japanese Consul in Kovno, Lithuania, who - in defiance of his government in August 1940 - issued around 7,000 transit visas to Polish Jews, saving them from certain death.
Dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices, the Holocaust Education Center is bound to have a great influence on its visitors, especially on young people and children. Through books, photographs, documents, and artifacts gathered from many parts of the world, the visitors will be introduced to the lives of Jewish children and their parents before the war and then to the various phases of the Nazis' diabolical plan to kill all Jews irrespective of their age or sex, again with emphasis on what happened to children. Hopefully they will not Only learn about the horrors of Nazism and what prejudice, discrimination, and the hatred based on racial, ethnic-national, and religious differences can lead to, but will also resolve - together with survivors of the Holocaust - never again to permit such horrors to occur anywhere in the world. Their visit to the Center may also contribute to their confrontation with their own national historical past and reinforce their desire to contribute to the realization of a pluralist and tolerant society in a world guided by the desire for peace and justice.
The Holocaust Education Center could not have been established without the dedication and commitment of the leaders and members of Holy Ecclesia of Jesus and its affiliate organization, the Japanese Christian Friends of Israel. The vision and leadership of Reverend Takeji Otsuki, the founder and spiritual leader of this Protestant Church, the enthusiastic support provided by many of its ministers, including Reverends Masaru Otsuki and Makoto Otsuka, the President and Director of the Holocaust Education Center, respectively, Reverends Hideo Nakamura, Motoichi Yamane, Masami Tanaka, Takeo Sato, Yoshiyuki Tamura and others assured the successful completion of the Center. To them people of good-will interested in historical truth owe a debt of gratitude. For my part, I am specially grateful for the chance to have met them and learn about their commitment to historical truth and their love for Israel and Jewish people. (New York, June 30, 1995)
Photo3 (Jewish guests and
staffs of the Center)
To Educate Japanese Children
Photo4 (Memorial planting (Pres. Ernest Salomon)
Ernest Salomon, President of the Jewish Community of Japan
During World War II, Hitler and the German Nazis planned to produce a pure Aryan race of mostly blond haired and blue eyed people and eliminate everybody else. This meant mainly the Jewish race and out of a total 16 million Jews worldwide, the Nazis were able to capture and kill about 6 million all over Europe. They also killed Gypsies, mentally and physically handicapped people and others. These people were rounded up, mostly at night when they slept, transported to various concentration camps, mostly in Germany and occupied Poland and killed in gas chambers, or through torture, shootings, hangings, starvation, etc. This terrible action is called Holocaust. Today in many countries, you will find museums dedicated to the Holocaust and showing the terrible things the Nazis did. In Japan, so far we had no such remembrance museum and we are most grateful to Nihon Israel Heiwano Tomonokai (Japanese Christian Friends of Israel) for having organized with their own funds and efforts this building, dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish children among the 6 million Jews which were killed. The purpose of this education center and museum is to educate Japanese children to the inhuman atrocities which were practiced 50 years ago and to make sure that this will never happen again. The museum is dedicated to Anne Frank, a Dutch Jewish girl about whom you have read a lot and who was one of these 1.5 million children who perished 50 years ago. There will be many memorial events this year to remember the end of World War II. This museum is for the purpose to remember the worst of all crimes committed by humanity. There are only about 2,000 Jews living in Japan; every one of us has lost at least one loved one during this Holocaust and we are very grateful to Nihon Israel Heiwano Tomonokai (Japanese Christian Friends of Israel) that they remember what we suffered.
Jews continue to live
Rabbi James M. Lebeau, the Jewish Community of Japan
On this day, we take an oath never to forget that 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. Among those killed, were 1.5 million children. By remembering those lives, we will be encouraged to work for peace and to assure that such a travesty of justice and disregard for humanity will never occur again . But we should not just remember that Jews were killed. Jews continue to live in our world. Participating in today's ceremony is a representative of the modern state of Israel. Presidents of the Jewish communities of Tokyo and Kobe are here. Jews live freely throughout the world and we continue to work to improve the world. I pray that those who come to this museum and educational center learn both of these important messages. Jews died for no other reason than that they were Jews, but Jews live because we have a tradition that has sustained us for nearly four thousand years. I offer the priestly blessing of the Jewish Bible in honor of those who have worked to establish this center of learning and those who will allow it to change peoples life: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord deal kindly and graciously with you. May the Lord bestow His favor upon you, and grant you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
Photo5 : Memorial prayer for the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust
Exalted, compassionate God, grant perfect peace in Your sheltering Presence, among the holy and pure, to the souls of all our brethren, men women and children of the House of Israel who were slaughtered and burned. May their memory endure, inspiring truth and loyalty in our lives. May their souls thus be bound up in the bond of life. May they rest in peace. Amen.
I had to tell my experience instead of Anne Frank
Hannah Pick, Best friend of Anne Frank
Photo6 (Hannah Pick pointed at herself photographed at Merwedeplein in Amsterdam, Holland)
Hannah Pick talked about her own experience and about Anne Frank to the 800 students of Kosen Junior High School, Fukuyama, Japan on June 19 .
Anne was really a very nice girl. She was a spicy girl. She was a girl that everybody looked at her. My mother would say about Anne, God knows everything; Anne knows everything better.
We were living like regular girls till the war also came to Holland. Everything changed for the Jewish children. We had to wear a yellow star, you can see it in the new museum here in Fukuyama. The Germans started to send us to camps. We didn'tﾕt do anything wrong. We were only the Jewish people, and that's the reason they sent us to camps. I told you this story because Anne wrote in her diary that why she was allowed to live, and I maybe already have died. And now you see me sitting here, and Anne is dead. So I feel obliged to tell about her, because she wanted to be remembered after her death.
I think we should learn that all the peoples are equal and that you shouldn't make any differences between races and religions of all the peoples, and that we should start to live for peace and to love each other, not to make wars so much.
Photo7 (Pinhas Inbari before the drawings at the Holocaust)
Unique and impressive
Pinhas Inbari, Senior Writer of Jerusalem Post
(Answering to an interview)
(Q) Please tell me how you felt about this exhibition.
(A) It was a surprise in Japan, a center like this. I think its the only center in all Asia, except Israel of course.
(Q) Are there any interesting items?
(A) The monument which is very very impressive and unique, I believe. I saw several Holocaust museums, but this is something very unique.
(Q) What do you think about Holocaust museum built in Hiroshima?
(A) I believe that there isn't such center that is established here because they share the same past experience. Also Hiroshima people were killed a lot because that they were Japanese, the same might be in Auschwitz. They were only Jews. May be circumstances were different, but the bottom line is the same. People were killed just because they were Jews or Japanese. There is no crime to be a Jew, or there is no crime to be Japanese.
Prevent a recurrence of the evils
Barbara K. Turoff, Kanto International High School
As a Jew I am extremely moved to discover this centidation to Remembrance of the six million who perished. As an American teacher I recognize the value this Holocaust museum in Japan can have to prevent a recurrence of the evils that brought about the Holocaust.
All my best wishes for promoting peace. Shalom
Hannah and Igal Talmi, Weitzman Institute, Rehovot, Israel
It is extremely very difficult for me to write about this emotional visit.
From the Director General
Two months have passed since the Holocaust Education Center opened on July 1st. For me, it has been the time of new encounters and renewal. I feel the wish for peace which people have in their hearts. Over 2,500 people have visited this place from inside and outside Japan. Among them are school teachers, children, journalists and TV reporters. There are many phone calls of inquiry from all over Japan.
There is a famous saying, Forgetting not the past, view the futureﾓ I will be happy if this center be a help for the young people in Japan to learn about the facts of the Holocaust and they will never allow this tragedy happen again.
I appreciate any offers of materials related to the Holocaust or any other items such as dolls, toys and clothes which children used those days, I believe that they will be a strong message of peace to those who see them. I modestly ask for your warm assistance in this regard.
Photo8 (Child's shoe)
Photo9 (The picture "Auschwitz Birkenau" and prisoner clothes)
Photo10 (Bowl and plate used at a camp )
Photo11 (Emblem of the HEC)
The Emblem of the Holocaust Education Center
This emblem was designed to commemorate the 1,500,000 Jewish Children murdered in the Holocaust. The striped star of David symbolizes the prison uniform used in the Auschwitz death camp. The three children raising their hands overlap with the figure of the prayer depicted in the Lamentations of Jeremiah and echoes his prayer for the life of children.
Someone said that man sometimes behaves like a devil and other times like an angel. The Holocaust truly reveals the former phase of man. We are hoping that our Holocaust Education Center may teach him to become the latter. Very happy to send our first news letter. Hope to hear from you. Shalom, Y.T.
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