An emotional tribute

An emotional tribute

The Holocaust has gone down as one of the most horrendous events in history, reiterating the phrase ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ In an effort to enlighten people about the massive torture by Nazi Germany and the show of humanity by a few citizens, the Consulate General of Israel and the Consulate General of Japan in Bengaluru joined hands to organise a ‘Holocaust Memorial Event’ at Alliance Francaise recently.

The highlight of the event was the screening of ‘Sugihara Chiune’ (Persona Non Grata), a film on Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara revered for defying his own government and rescuing thousands of refugees fleeing Nazi Germany during World War II by issuing scores of life-saving transit visas through Japan.

Yael Hashavit, Consul General of Israel in Bengaluru, said, “The holocaust was a horrific event in the history of mankind. Our duty is to commemorate and remember those who died and those who survived the atrocity. There are quite a few genocides in history but nothing was as bad as this one involving the extermination of millions of Jews. We need to know what happened and we can’t let history repeat itself,” she said.

“Japan had nothing to do with Israel. Yet Sugihara went ahead to help the Jews without any hesitation, even as he could have lost so much in the process,” she added.
Toru Tsutsui, Acting Consul General of Japan in Bengaluru, praised the initiative. “I hope the audience will have a meaningful evening watching the film,” he said.

Ziv Shalvi, Deputy Chief of Mission, Consulate General of the State of Israel, stated, “Many other minorities were also wiped off along with six million Jews in the Holocaust. The world needs to understand how global this issue is and that respect for human rights is of utmost importance.” The film screening was preceded by lighting of the candles by the dignitaries, as a mark of respect for the victims of the tragedy. The movie was a poignant account of the help extended by Sugihara Chiune, in times of distress, to the Jews.

Rie Goto, a Japanese entrepreneur, said, “About a decade back, nobody knew of Sugihara. Now with the wide exposure through TV programmes, books and news, he has become well-known. I know the full story but I wanted to see how the film would be and also how Indians would respond to it.” Shifali Hamsavardhan, another viewer, visited Japan last year and was curious to learn more about the country’s history.  “It is a period film and I wanted to see how the Japanese helped the Jews and how far they have reached as a country. The movie was well-made,” she expressed.

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