As part of our ongoing series about the Great Shanghai Escape, I had a conversation with my friend and collaborator Dovi Safier, who is a known expert on this topic, as well as having done some original research highlighting new angles of the narrative. Prior to getting to the topic at hand, our conversation covered recent history discoveries related to the family of the Slabodka Yeshiva, bearing witness to history, the recent rally in Washington, before we got to talking about the escape to Shanghai. We discussed the role of Rav Yitzchak Isaac Herzog in facilitating the escape and of Rav Avraham Kalmanowitz in funding the Mir Yeshiva and other rescue activities he spearheaded throughout his colorful career. The arrival of the refugees in Japan was another story we covered, including their reception by the local populace and the local Jewish community, despite the fact that anti-Semitic tropes were prevalent in the Japanese press. In order to create an even more authentic feel, Dovi inserted historic audio of eyewitnesses to some of the events described.

Check out a previous episode of Jewish History Soundbites relating to the refugees sojourn in Japan regarding the debate surrounding the halachic International Dateline:


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