The Mir Yeshiva's Holocaust Experience: Ultra-Orthodox Perspectives on Japanese Wartime Attitudes towards Jewish Refugees

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Abstract

The exodus of Jewish refugees from Lithuania to East Asia in late 1940 has become one of the most remarkable stories of rescue during the Holocaust. The largest group among these refugees was the Mir Yeshiva - one of Europe's most notable Jewish educational institutions at the time, and the only Lithuanian yeshiva to survive the war in its entirety. Recent studies of this story have emphasized the role of the rescuers - particularly the Japanese vice consul Sugihara Chiune, who issued visas to the Jews - while neglecting the perspectives of the rescued. Nevertheless, the Mir Yeshiva has produced numerous accounts of its wartime ordeal over the past seventy years. Overlooked for the most part by the historiography of this period, the Mir testimonies and writings shed new light on the experiences of the Jewish refugees in Lithuania (1939-1940) and East Asia (1941-1945). Considering these accounts within their broader historical and international context, this article highlights their contribution to our understanding of this episode and Japanese wartime attitudes toward Jewish refugees.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)295-314
Number of pages20
JournalHolocaust and Genocide Studies
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science

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