Wednesday March 27, 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.

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

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

US Threatens German Government Against Using Huawei 5G Tech

It is a market that will be worth billions, as 5G will require compatible new phones and communications equipment

Attendees pass by a Huawei booth during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2019. VOA

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has sent a letter to the German government threatening to curtail access to American intelligence if Berlin decides to issue contracts to Chinese tech giant Huawei to build their 5G communications networks, the media reported.

“The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy has indeed received a letter; there is no comment on its content from their side. There will be a quick reply,” CNN quoted Matthias Wehler, spokesperson at the German embassy in Washington D.C., as saying on Monday.

Germany announced on March 7 that it wouldn’t ban any company from bidding on 5G contracts.

The State Department has not commented on Grenell’s letter, but Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesperson, outlined how Huawei’s 5G networks could pose a constantly evolving and shifting threat.

“Because 5G networks are largely software-defined, updates pushed to the network by the manufacturer can radically change how they operate,” Marquis told CNN.

“The 5G networks our allies buy won’t be the networks that they eventually operate, as the software could be changed on a moment-to-moment basis by the manufacturer.”

The letter follows similar warnings by President Donald Trump’s administration urging allies to ban or restrict Huawei products from their 5G networks due to its ability to compromise national security by selling equipment with “backdoors” that could allow for unauthorised surveillance.

Huawei, China, Canada
A man lights a cigarette outside a Huawei retail shop in Beijing. VOA

China and Huawei have vigorously pushed back on the US charges and the telecom giant last week filed a suit against Washington over the 2019 National Defence Authorization Act, which bans American federal agencies from buying Huawei products.

The lawsuit is Huawei’s most aggressive move yet to fight back against US claims.

Germany’s March 7 announcement follows a similar decision by the UK. Both countries argue they can mitigate any risks and their decisions could make it harder for Washington to convince smaller countries to follow suit.

Also Read- Google Doodle Celebrates 30 Years of World Wide Web

Security concerns have led Australia to completely ban the company’s technology and New Zealand has moved to partially restrict it.

The 5G network is the next generation of wireless networks that promises to be 100 times faster and more reliable than current technology.

It is a market that will be worth billions, as 5G will require compatible new phones and communications equipment. (IANS)