Thursday June 20, 2019

Escape and Survival: Stories of Descendants of Holocaust Survivors

On the onset of World War II, many Jewish refugees and residents applied for exit visas via Japan to escape the genocide.

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Men striped off their pride. A group of some 25 naked, severely malnutritioned Soviet prisoners of war standing in three. Image source: Wikipedia

https://youtu.be/KyVi2Wsql3s

Coming just two decades after the last great global conflict, the Second World War was the most widespread and deadliest war in history, involving more than 30 countries and resulting in more than 50 million military and civilian deaths (with some estimates as high as 85 million dead). Sparked by Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, the war went on for six deadly years until the final Allied defeat of both Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945.

“I am really lucky to be sheltered from war” says Arielle Salomon, a holocaust survivor descendant. When Germany invaded Poland, her grandfather Abram Salomon fled to Lithuania to escape the holocaust (extermination by the Nazis). “Whole family was murdered except him and his brother, and that survival was due to one man- Chiune Sugihara” she adds.

Night and fog (1955) is one such documentary that gives us a glimpse of the untold fear and unspoken suffering of the Jews  in the concentration camps.

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat posted at the Japanese consulate in Lithuania. On the onset of World War II, many Jewish refugees and residents applied for exit visas via Japan to escape the genocide. Disobeying the government orders, Chiune Sugihara and his wife issued as many as 6000 visas in 1940 one of which was Arielle’s grandfather. They estimated around 40,000 descendants that are alive today because of this man. But after the war, when Sugihara returned home, he was ignored by the Japan government for his actions. He did not seek attention and rarely spoke about his experience.

This photo shows Germans hiding the dead bodies. Image source: Wikipedia
This photo shows Germans hiding the dead bodies. Image source: Wikipedia

“I think he really exemplified not doing it for the accolades but doing what he thought was right” says Shoshana Buchholz-Miller, Illinois Holocaust Museum.  He was given the Honor of The Righteous Among the Nations, one of Israel’s highest honors. “Hero? I think he doesn’t want to be a hero, he just did what needed to be done” Chihiro Sugihara (grandson of Chuine Sugihara)

“It is something very emotionally overwhelming” Arielle Salomon after meeting the grandson of Sugihara to express her gratitude directly.

After his heroic act, he came to be known as a ‘Japanese Schindler’.  Chuine Sugihara was a good grandfather to a few but a savior to many more.

-by Vrushali Mahajan

Vrushali is pursuing her graduation in Journalism and is an intern at NewsGram. You can reach the author at twitter- Vrushali Mahajan 

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This is really an amazing job done by Mr Sugihara. Going against the government and helping people out of sheer humanity is what he did and saved almost 40,000 lives

Next Story

Home-based Weight Management Programs Benefit Kids and Parents: Study

Developing Relationships that Include Values of Eating and Exercise reduces weight gain in kids

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Home, Weight Management
Parents are the most important and influential people in a child's environment. Pixabay

Researchers have found that home-based weight management programmes may be beneficial for both kids as well as parents.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, found that the DRIVE curriculum — Developing Relationships that Include Values of Eating and Exercise — reduces weight gain in kids and also prompts their parents to lose weight.

“Parents are the most important and influential people in a child’s environment,” said study researchers Keely Hawkins and Corby K. Martin from Louisiana State University in the US.

For the study, 16 families were examined based on their child’s obesity risks for over 19 weeks. Kids aged 2-6 years, and with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 75 per cent were enrolled. Families were randomly assigned to receive health information only or DRIVE intervention.

Home, Weight Management
Home-based weight management programmes may be beneficial for both kids as well as parents. Pixabay

Children in the DRIVE intervention sessions – which included establishing regular snack and meal times, reducing screen time, and encouraging physically active play – maintained their body weight with a modest reduction in BMI. Additionally, parents who participated in the DRIVE sessions also decreased their body weight.

But the children who received only health education, significantly increased their body weight and BMI.

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“Our results showed that at the half-way point of the study, children were becoming healthier. Changes in the health of the parents, though, did not happen until the end of the study. This points to the need for long-term, family-based programmes to support behaviour change,” the researchers added. (IANS)