Japanese museum teaches about Shoah

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NEW YORK — Fifty years after atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan is remembering not only Japanese victims of the war, but Jewish victims as well.

Two months after Japan's first Holocaust museum opened, an Anne Frank exhibition will open in Hiroshima.

Although the Holocaust and the atomic bomb are separate phenomena, they are "nonetheless two watershed events that emerged from the second world war," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said last week.

"It is an appropriate time for the world to pause and remember the innocent," he added.

Cooper, who has been working toward educating the Japanese about the Holocaust and Jews, is scheduled to visit Japan this week for the opening of an exhibition about Anne Frank and the Holocaust. The exhibit's text is in Japanese.

Anne Frank's diary is a popular book in Japan, the rabbi said. One of the exhibit's goals is to show connections between Anne's experience and that of the Jewish people.

The exhibit will be on view in Hiroshima's Peace Park, which is devoted to the atomic bomb's victims.

The Holocaust museum, dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust, officially opened in June in Fukuyama, a city near Hiroshima.

The museum is believed to be the first of its kind in Japan.

Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial helped establish the new museum, which has three floors and displays 70 objects, including original concentration-camp artifacts.

A statement from Yad Vashem said the museum was initiated by Mekuto Uzuka, head of the Myoki Protestant Church in Hiroshima.

At the museum's opening ceremony, some expressed concern about anti-Semitism in Japan, which is home to a thriving cottage industry in anti-Semitic books and articles. The Aum Shinrikyo sect that allegedly carried out this year's sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway is known to have disseminated anti-Jewish pamphlets.

Japan, which has a population of 120 million, is home to about 2,000 Jews.