A young Jewish refugee with her Chinese playmates. Shanghai, China (x)
Between 1933 and 1941, it is estimated that 20,000 Jews escaped persecution by fleeing to the Chinese port of Shanghai. Shanghai was one of the few places in the world that would accept Jewish refugees at this time, Japan being another.
i am furious that i am just now learning about this important fact.
Because it has nothing to do with the USA being the superhero and saving all the Jews
okay but let’s also not forget that 1) japan was allied with the nazis and 2) a large part of the reason japan and its colonized territories (including shanghai) allowed jews in was partly because of anti-semitic thought received from the russians that “the jews had money and power”.
before i post quotes i want to also say this is no criticism of the people in japan or their occupied territories, of whom i hear lovely stories about this period!! it is the political motivations of the japanese government that i’m focusing on here; the state, not the citizens; the institution, not the population. it’s not about japanese people (or the people in their occupied territories), who were blameless and actually really nice it seems. now that that’s covered:
(this is from wikipedia citing books i can’t access online but you can look it up if you like:
"…they proposed that large numbers of Jewish refugees should be encouraged to settle in Manchukuo or Japan-occupied Shanghai, thus gaining the benefit of the supposed economic prowess of the Jews and also convincing the United States, and specifically American Jewry, to grant political favor and economic investment into Japan. The idea was partly based on the acceptance of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as being as a genuine document by at least part of the Japanese leadership.” [x]
the protocols of the elders of zion, if you didn’t know, is an anti-semitic document produced out of russia that claims to be the “real” minutes of a meeting from the committee of jews who secretly run the world, the elders of zion. it is a thing still published and accepted as non-fiction by people around the world in dozens of languages, so yeah the japanese government that controlled places like shanghai were kind to us… because they wanted the money they thought we had.
“By the end of the war, the Japanese attempted to press a propaganda theme that pointedly contrasted their treatment of the Jews in Asia to that of the Nazis in Europe. Some of Tokyo’s diplomats and other government officials seemed to believe that this distinction would gain them influence among Jews around the world.” [x]
so get this, once again they were LITERALLY ALLIED WITH THE NAZIS… but then they turned around and started trying to pitch themselves in opposition hoping american jewish support funds would flow in, supporting jews in japanese territory and hailing the japanese government as protective heroes… so murder us when we’re poor and useless, welcome us with open arms when they can get “our money”???
so yes they did lovely things and there are people only alive today because of their generosity but let’s also not erase the anti-semitism (learned from the west, to be fair) that was happening here…
also, of course, the US were no angels either; they came in for politics as well, and were known to fly right over the tracks of trains bringing holocost victims (jews and otherwise) to death camps, fully capable of bombing them and deciding not to. they were there to defeat the german military for political reasons, not because they came a shit about the jews either. once again, that’s not a commentary on individual soldiers or citizens but on state actions.
edit: oh yeah and there were exceptions to these shitty motivations, most notably chiune sugihara; he was the japanses vice-consul in lithuania and risked his own life to give jews lithuanian exit visas to japan desite 1) not having a non-japanese final destination (which was required) and 2) not having the funds to meet the criteria for the visas. he just knew they were unsafe and wanted them to be safe, and risked his life to help 6000 people escape war-ravaged and nazi-controlled europe. he hand-wrote visas for 18-20 hours a day to grant safe passage to a usual month’s worth of people every day while he occupied the position. sugihara was a fucking badass and a hero and a righteous, noble person, who let jews emigrate because of pure human empathy and not people of anti-semitic propaganda:
On the night before their scheduled departure, Sugihara and his wife stayed awake writing out visa approvals. According to witnesses, he was still writing visas while in transit from his hotel and after boarding the train at the Kaunas Railway Station, throwing visas into the crowd of desperate refugees out of the train’s window even as the train pulled out.
In final desperation, blank sheets of paper with only the consulate seal and his signature (that could be later written over into a visa) were hurriedly prepared and flung out from the train. As he prepared to depart, he said, “Please forgive me. I cannot write anymore. I wish you the best.” When he bowed deeply to the people before him, someone exclaimed, “Sugihara. We’ll never forget you. I’ll surely see you again!”
so RIP chiune sugihara!!!