Americans tell how grandmother survived genocide: Talk at Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama

“Remember this tragedy”

by Kana Kobayashi, Staff Writer

The American grandchildren of a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust talked about their grandmother’s experiences to an audience of about 80 at the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama on June 21. Goni Dubnov, 20, and her brother Tammuz, 19, quietly told of the vicissitudes of the life of their grandmother Halina, 75, whose parents were killed when she was only six months old.

Halina was taken in by relatives who told a woman that if the Nazis came they would give Halina some alcohol to make her sleep and hide her in a hole in the wall. They asked the woman to rescue Halina if she saw a red curtain hanging in the window and gave her all of their money in return for her cooperation. As a result, Halina’s life was spared. Raised as a Christian, Halina did not begin to recount her experiences until she was around 60.

Goni and Tammuz heard about the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama while traveling in Japan with their family and asked to give a talk there. They said that although it was hard to talk about their grandmother’s experiences, it was important to tell her story to young people. They asked their audience to remember their grandmother’s story so that such a tragedy would never happen again.

Conveying what they have learned to other young people

Student group based at Fukuyama’s Holocaust Education Center

by Kana Kobayashi, Staff Writer

A group of students in Fukuyama is working to learn about peace and the Holocaust and to tell others about them. Based at the Holocaust Education Center in the city, Small Hands comprises students from elementary through high school from Fukuyama and its environs. Members of the group met with Goni and Tammuz Dubnov during their recent visit.

The group, which began its activities in 1997, now has about 20 members. One of the students’ projects is to send roses known as Souvenir d’Anne Frank to schools throughout Japan. The roses are grafted from a flower given to a church in Kyoto by Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank (1929-1945). The group also put together a newspaper about Anne and about Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), a Japanese diplomat who saved the lives of many Jews.

Members of the group plan to travel to the United States next March to learn more about the Holocaust by visiting Jewish schools and Holocaust-related museums. On June 21 they listened quietly to the talk by Goni and Tammuz Dubnov and engaged in a discussion with them.

Sayaka Yoshida, 15, a first-year student at the Fukuyama high school affiliated with Hiroshima University, said, “Not many people my age are interested in the Holocaust. I want to make an effort to learn more about it and tell others.”

(Originally published on June 24, 2014)