JAPAN AND THE JEWS: The Holocaust story that you probably don’t know

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You might be thinking that during the Second World War, Europe was the region where there were most Jewish people. A lot of people don’t know this, but during the war years, there were Jewish communities living in the Far East too under the occupation of the Japanese forces.

It is said that there were around 30,000 Jews in Shanghai alone, but there some that were also living in small communities in China, Philippines, and East Indies, which were areas known for having neutral administrations. Another group of Jews was living in French Indo-China, but life was not easy for them due to Vichy’s anti-Jewish laws that prohibited them from a number of activities and removed them from all the important positions that included working for the government.

The Jews in Asia

A small number of people did suffer from the maltreatment but the number is quite small compared to persecutions that the Jews in Europe faced. There were very few Jews that were imprisoned or punished for their identity by the Japanese forces. The Japanese view of the Jews stemmed from factors like nationalism, racism, and the fear of foreign conspiracy. It was apparent that anti-Semitism made its way into Japan during the First World War.

After the Japanese signed the Tripartite Treaty of September 1940 and the Anti-COMINTERN Pact in 1936, anti-Semitism established a strong footing among the ruling classes of Tokyo. It was during this time that the Japanese developed a campaign of defamation about the so-called Jewish Peril.

Attitude of the Japanese

The attitude of the Japanese towards the Jews varied. In 1937, Japanese diplomats in Paris reported that the West was opposing to Japan’s invasion of China because of French, English, and American plutocrats. Japanese ambassador, Baron Hiroshi reminded Japan that how certain Jews were in debt to them because of the help that they extended during the war with Russia in 1905. There are instances when the Japanese tried to convince the world that they were impartial with the Jews.

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