Prof. Ryuichi Higuchi with the two of KKL-JNF's Golden Books in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: DENNIS ZINN KKL-JNF)
Tuesday, June 12, 2018: On entering KKL-JNF headquarters in Jerusalem, Japanese Professor Ryuichi Higuchi was welcomed by KKL-JNF Books of Honor Custodian Efrat Benbenisti, who led him upstairs to the Books of Honor Hall.
Higuchi, a professor of musicology and an orchestra conductor, is the grandson of Japanese Imperial Army Lieutenant-General Kichiro Higuchi, who personally saved the lives of 20,000 Jews fleeing the persecutions of Nazi Germany.
Higuchi came to the KKL-JNF head office in Israel to see for himself the inscription of his grandfather’s name in the KKL-JNF Golden Book
. This was the professor’s first trip to Israel. Benbenisti told him that she is honored to meet him.
“It is very emotional for me because we are re-living the past. You must be very proud of your grandfather.”
Shariel Gun from KKL-JNF’s Resource Development Division described to the visiting professor the mandate of this international Jewish organization from its inception and explained how its goals have changed over the years.
“KKL-JNF was established 117 years ago
, some 40 years before the declaration of Israeli independence. At that time, its main activity was to purchase land that would one day be part of the new country and to plant trees. Today we still plant trees but our focus has changed to issues such as water management,
, and recreational activities in nature
for the citizens of Israel.”
He screened a short film
showing the full range of KKL-JNF activities.
Following the screening, Benbenisti showed Higuchi the inscription for which he had come all the way from Japan to see. It was in KKL-JNF’s sixth Book of Honor, which was started in 1939. The entry made in 1941 reads:
“General Higuchi - Tokyo, inscribed by the National Jewish Consul in the Far East in Harbin - Abraham Kaufman”.