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|Introduction to the Current Edition||XIV|
|Part 1||From Europe to the Orient 1939-41: The Birth of the fugu Plan||19|
|Part 2||Japan 1941: Security in an Alien Land||121|
|Part 3||Shanghai 1941-1945: The Challenge to Survival||190|
Posted May 27, 2007
When the Nazis over ran Poland, thousands of Jews escaped to the Baltic states. The Japanese counsel, Senpo Sugihara, issued travel permits to Japan to the desperate, paperless Jews. The Jews were supposed to be on their way to a Dutch colony in the Western Hemisphere. The Dutch would take any person that had a travel permit, and pass ports weren't needed. By pure accident, some Japanese army and naval officers decided that the Jews should be helped. Some wanted Jews to settle in Manchuria to help develope its resources, while others thought that this would buy Japan good will with American Jews and, possibly, prevent a war with America. For some reason, the USSR (anti-semetic at tha time) allowed the Jews to cross Russia to Vladivostok, where the Jews were able to board Japanese merchant ships that took them to Kobe. The Japanese hoped that wealthy American Jews would pay for the refugee's passage to Curacao. International Jewish organizations sent very little money to the refugees, so the Japanese government helped support them. Some Japanese officials became worried, so they asked the Jews who their leader was, the Jews said, 'God'. Japanese admirals arrainged a meeting of the head rabbis with the head Shinto priests. The Jews remained under the protection of the Japanese military. Most of the Jews were sent to Shanghai, where they were exploited by the Chinese. When the ghetto was bombed, Japanese and Jewish doctors took care of all victims. The ironies are many- most of the military leaders that came up with these uncoordinated plans were anti-semetic. They served with anti-semetic tzarist military officers that fought against the new USSR. Since they believed that Jews controlled the finances and politics of the Western world, that the European Jews could be used as bargaining chips to lift the oil embargo placed on Japan. Other Japanese believed that the Jews had great technilogical expertise that would help Japan in Manchuria, but they ended up with mostly rabbis and their students. Individuals in the army and navy stood up to the Germans and refused to handover any Jew to the Nazis, when Nazis arrived in Japan. Another irony was that the classical Mir Yeshiva, a rabbinical school that had provided rabbis to America, was saved by the Japanese. The Jews in America had to turn to Japan to get spiritual leadership from the very Jews that American Jews had refused to help. The Mir Yeshiva was the only yeshiva in European yeshiva to survive intact. The Yeshiva University in New York City is the direct result of Japan's kindness and support to a people that had no where else to go. Also, some of the Japanese converted to the Jewish faith.
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