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Holocaust Education Spreads in Japan with Museum Opening

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 the opening of the first Holocaust museum in Japan, an exhibit on Anne Frank will open in Hiroshima next week.

Although the Holocaust and the dropping of 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 in a telephone interview Tuesday.

“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 the Jews, will be in Japan next week for the opening of an exhibition about Anne Frank and the Holocaust.

The exhibit is in Japanese.

Anne Frank’s diary is popular among the Japanese, the rabbi said, adding that one goal of the Wiesenthal center exhibit is to show the connection between Anne’s experience and the experience of the Jewish people.

The exhibit is to take place in Hiroshima’s peace park, which is devoted to the victims of the atomic bomb.

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.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem helped establish the new museum, which displays 70 objects on three floors, including original artifacts from the concentration camps.

A statement from Yad Vashem said the museum was initiated by Mekuto Uzuka, head of the Myoki Protestant Church in Hiroshima. At the opening ceremony for the museum, concern was expressed about anti-Semitism in Japan, which has a thriving cottage industry in anti-Semitic books and articles.

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

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