Hong Kong: Markets, magazines and more

Erica Lyons – who has been here for some seven years with her family – and I went to an old temple – I love the smell of incense – and a walk through the market.

We later met some of our dining companions from the other night for a fabulous vegetarian dim sum lunch.

Erica, a lawyer by training, is editor-in-chief and publisher of the new Asian Jewish Life: A Journal of Spirit, Society and Culture.

The now-quarterly free publication – hopefully to become more frequent – focuses on the Jewish experience in Asia. It is handed out on El Al flights from Asia in business and first. It is also online.

She gave me a copy of the 40-page premier issue which features an excellent group of articles by some very interesting writers, covering artists, book reviews, personal stories and much more. Read it online at the link above.

Erica (photo right) is also on the board of the Hong Kong Jewish Historical Society, and shared some information about the century-old Jewish cemetery, which I hope to visit Friday morning.

I have discussed the possibility of forming a Jewish genealogical society here under the auspices of the historical society. I hope to meet more of the historical society members when I return through HK from Australia towards the end of March.

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World Jewish Studies: Holocaust topics

The conference also covered sociology, immigration, issues of color, the Holocaust and its aftermath, including displaced persons in Italy.

Tracing the Tribe recommends viewing these topics and seeing which reflect what you would like to know more about or that may have personal implications to your own research

Geographically, the list covers Japan, Italy, France, US, India, the Vatican, and Greece.

(E=English, H=Hebrew)

Jews, Color, Race:
Gary Phillip Zola (E) “Bone of Our Bone and Flesh of Our Flesh”: The Judaization of Abraham Lincoln
Gil Ribak (E) “The Jew Usually Left Those Crimes to Esau”: Immigrant Jewish Responses to Accusations of Jewish Criminality in New York City, 1908–1912
Shlomi Deloia (E) Race, Whiteness, and the Jewish American Immigration Novel of the 1920s
Efraim Sicher (E) The “Jew’s Passage to India”: Race, Color, and Hybridity in Desai and Rushdie
Shmuel Trigano (E) Towards a Sociology of Judaism
Inbal Ester Cicurel (H) Karaites in Israel: A Religious Community in Changes

Attitude Towards the Jews in the Axis States:
Tommaso Dell’era (E) The Catholic Church, Racism and Anti-Semitism (1934–1939): New Documentation from the Vatican Archives
Maria Costanza-Caredio (E) The Italian Racial Laws
Simona Salustri (E) The Reinstatement of Jewish Teachers in Italian Universities
Chizuko Takao (E) Japan Faces its Jews

Studies in Holocaust Research:
Miriam Gillis-Carlebach (H) A Look at the Suffering and Resourcefulness of Holocaust-Surviving Children as Expressed in Their Own Testimonies
Hava Eshkoli (H) The Plan of Resettlement of Jewish Refugees in Alaska during the Holocaust
Yitzchak Kerem (H) Reevaluation of Rescue in Thessaloniki

Jewish Displaced Persons in Italy after the Holocaust:
Cinzia Villani(E) The Arrival and Early Stay of Jewish DPs in Italy: The South Tyrol-Milan Route
Arturo Marzano (E) Between Florence and Rome: The Presence of Jewish DPs in Central Italy
Elena Mazzini (E) The Representation of Jewish DP’s in the Italian Press and in Memoir Writing

Tracing the Tribe hopes that this series will inspire, raise awareness and encourage readers to explore their own history as well as Jewish history in general.

Oregon: Jewish in Japan, April 15

What kind of records are available concerning Jews who lived in Japan? Are there census record? Are these available to genealogists? What happened to Jewish aliens living in Japan during the Second World War?

If these questions are intriguing, then the next program of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon will be of interest.

George Sidline will present “Somehow We’ll Survive: A Story of Growing Up Jewish in WWII-era Japan,” beginning at 7pm, Tuesday, April 15, at Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Portland.

Sidline, the second of two sons, was born in Japan of Jewish parents before World War II. When war broke out, the family remained in Kobe, Japan, where George’s father ran an import/export business. After the war, the family stayed in Japan, eventually immigrating to Canada in 1954. In 1962, George moved to the US, where he worked in California’s Silicon Valley.

Many people urged George to write a book about his wartime experiences and the experiences of others among the foreign population living in Japan during the war. He published his book in 2007, chronicling some of the harrowing events that engulfed the family.

The book is available at http://www.amazon.com, titled “Somehow, We’ll Survive, Life in Japan during WWII through the eyes of a young Caucasian boy.” A retired engineer, George lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon, where his children and grandchildren reside.

For more details and directions, click here.

Oregon: Jewish in Japan, April 15

What kind of records are available concerning Jews who lived in Japan? Are there census record? Are these available to genealogists? What happened to Jewish aliens living in Japan during the Second World War?

If these questions are intriguing, then the next program of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon will be of interest.

George Sidline will present “Somehow We’ll Survive: A Story of Growing Up Jewish in WWII-era Japan,” beginning at 7pm, Tuesday, April 15, at Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Portland.

Sidline, the second of two sons, was born in Japan of Jewish parents before World War II. When war broke out, the family remained in Kobe, Japan, where George’s father ran an import/export business. After the war, the family stayed in Japan, eventually immigrating to Canada in 1954. In 1962, George moved to the US, where he worked in California’s Silicon Valley.

Many people urged George to write a book about his wartime experiences and the experiences of others among the foreign population living in Japan during the war. He published his book in 2007, chronicling some of the harrowing events that engulfed the family.

The book is available at http://www.amazon.com, titled “Somehow, We’ll Survive, Life in Japan during WWII through the eyes of a young Caucasian boy.” A retired engineer, George lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon, where his children and grandchildren reside.

For more details and directions, click here.

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‘Japanese Schindler’ honored in Lithuania

The Independent(UK) reports on the honoring of Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania by Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

For years, few Japanese knew the incredible story of how the man dubbed “Japan’s Schindler” saved about 6,000 Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War despite working for an ally of Germany. Unlike Oscar Schindler, the German industrialist who turned against the Nazis and rescued almost 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust, Sugihara had to wait until just seven years ago for his bravery to be officially recognised.

Sugihara was the acting consul in Lithuania’s temporary wartime capital when he was ordered to abandon his post as the Germans advanced in 1940. A fourth of the city’s population was Jewish, mostly prosperous and well integrated, and few were ready to believe the horror stories from nearby Poland until it was too late to flee. By an accident of history the mild-mannered diplomat – one of just two left in the city – became their last hope for survival.

In July 1940, desperate refugees asked him for visas to the Soviet Union. Sugihara asked his superiors in Japan for permission, which was never granted. However, the diplomat, with the help of his wife, went ahead and signed as many as possible.

By the time they boarded a Berlin-bound train on 1 September 1940, still scribbling out the last visa, they had saved about 6,000 people, including hundreds of children. Sugihara’s final act in the besieged city was to hand his consular stamp to a refugee, who went on issuing passes.

Dismissed in disgrace from the Foreign Ministry, he worked as a part-time translator and died in 1986. In 1985, Yad Vashem honored Sugihara for rescuing Lithuanian Jews. His family finally received a formal Japanese government apology 14 years later.

Why did he help? The story mentions how moved Sugihara was by an eleven-year-old refugee he met, Zalke Jenkins. “The diplomat spoke afterward at how moved he was by the strength of family bonds in Jewish life, which reminded him of home.”

For Sugihara’s family, the Emperor’s approval is the highest honor Japan can give.

‘Japanese Schindler’ honored in Lithuania

The Independent(UK) reports on the honoring of Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania by Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

For years, few Japanese knew the incredible story of how the man dubbed “Japan’s Schindler” saved about 6,000 Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War despite working for an ally of Germany. Unlike Oscar Schindler, the German industrialist who turned against the Nazis and rescued almost 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust, Sugihara had to wait until just seven years ago for his bravery to be officially recognised.

Sugihara was the acting consul in Lithuania’s temporary wartime capital when he was ordered to abandon his post as the Germans advanced in 1940. A fourth of the city’s population was Jewish, mostly prosperous and well integrated, and few were ready to believe the horror stories from nearby Poland until it was too late to flee. By an accident of history the mild-mannered diplomat – one of just two left in the city – became their last hope for survival.

In July 1940, desperate refugees asked him for visas to the Soviet Union. Sugihara asked his superiors in Japan for permission, which was never granted. However, the diplomat, with the help of his wife, went ahead and signed as many as possible.

By the time they boarded a Berlin-bound train on 1 September 1940, still scribbling out the last visa, they had saved about 6,000 people, including hundreds of children. Sugihara’s final act in the besieged city was to hand his consular stamp to a refugee, who went on issuing passes.

Dismissed in disgrace from the Foreign Ministry, he worked as a part-time translator and died in 1986. In 1985, Yad Vashem honored Sugihara for rescuing Lithuanian Jews. His family finally received a formal Japanese government apology 14 years later.

Why did he help? The story mentions how moved Sugihara was by an eleven-year-old refugee he met, Zalke Jenkins. “The diplomat spoke afterward at how moved he was by the strength of family bonds in Jewish life, which reminded him of home.”

For Sugihara’s family, the Emperor’s approval is the highest honor Japan can give.