Ex-Jewish Evacuee Revisits Kobe after Some 80 Years


Kobe, March 5 (Jiji Press)--A 95-year-old Jewish man late last month revisited the western Japan city of Kobe, where he temporarily stayed some 80 years ago after escaping Nazi persecution, thanks to a “visa for life” issued by Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara.

Marcel Weyland repeatedly expressed his gratitude to the people of Kobe, as he always wanted to do so. “Kokoro kara Arigato” (Thank you from the bottom of my heart), he told them in Japanese.

During World War II, Sugihara, then vice consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, issued transit visas to many Jews against the Foreign Ministry’s policy. Weyland was one of those saved by the visas.

After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Weyland’s family fled to Lithuania. The family then obtained Sugihara’s visas there and landed at the port of Tsuruga in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, via Vladivostok in the former Soviet Union.

The family moved to Kobe in spring 1941 and stayed there for about a half year before leaving for Shanghai.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press