Japanese General Kiichiro Higuchi.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Japanese General Kiichiro Higuchi was responsible for saving the lives of many Jews who, thanks to him, where able to escape from Europe to the USSR and from there to Manchuria. Yet unlike Japanese Righteous Among the Nations Chiune Sugihara the general is not well known, his grandson claims.
"My dream is to plant a tree to honor my grandfather in Yad Vashem," said Prof Ryoichi Higuchi, the grandson of general Higuchi, who is now visiting Israel and holding interviews with Jewish families who reside in Israel and were established by Holocaust survivors his grandfather, he strongly believes, saved.
The Japanese embassy in Israel stated that they are in touch with Yad Vashem since 2005, when Prof Higuchi appealed to them, and that Yad Vashem claims that they researched the matter and could not verify all the claims made by the applicant.
For example, Yad Vashem asks, if general Higuchi was indeed rebuked by the Japanese authorities for saving Jews, why can't they find any records of it in the Japanese archives?
Yad Vashem also stated that the process is very lengthy and involves many steps needed to verify the claims that were made.
General Higuchi served as the commander of the Japanese-occupied Chinese Harbin Special Branch between 1937-1938 and during the Otpor incident of 1938 gave Jewish refugees stranded in Otpor, then in the USSR, entry into the Japanese-created state of Manchukuo which existed in parts of China and Mongolia at the time.
The Jewish refugees were allowed to enter Japan itself later on.
Translated by Hagay Hacohen