Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Rudy Tokiwa Interview II
Narrator: Rudy Tokiwa
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Judy Niizawa (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 2 & 3, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-trudy-02-0053

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TI: But as I mentioned earlier, yeah. But the 522 had split off. And they were requested by another unit to help them. So they were in Germany. And one of the things that happened was that they were able to liberate some of the satellite Dachau camps.

RT: Yeah.

TI: And I've been reading a book, it's called, Light One Candle by Solly Ganor. And he was in Dachau. And he recalls having a Japanese American soldier, someone from the 522, essentially liberate him, lift him up out of a snow bank.

RT: Yeah.

TI: So he remembered that. And then years later, I believe it was in the '80s, there was a group of 522 veterans who went to Israel. They were being honored by the Knesset.

RT: Yeah. (April 1992)

TI: And you were with that group. And Solly, in his book, talks about going to this meeting, and meeting the men, or the man, who actually lifted him out of the snow bank. And you were there. Can you tell me what that was like?

RT: Well, you see we, well, Judy and I were the ones that led that group over there. And they wanted, the 522 guys wanted to go and meet with some of the people that they helped, which was something that I felt should be done, too. And so we had written quite a few letters over there and whatnot. And we got it to the point where they would like to have us come over. And at the, and that they would allow us to sit in on a meeting of the Knesset, which was their (parliament). And not only that, they had a big ceremony of -- what was it they had? Seven camps, huh? The Jewish...

JN: Oh, in the Yad Vashem. Yom Hoshoah is the holiday.

RT: Yeah. So they, what they would do is every year at a certain date, they have a candlelight ceremony for all these different camps. And so we were invited as guests to go see his tomb. And they also have (a memorial) called Ammunition Hill. Now this, very few people know this story. Ammunition Hill is the story about the Jewish people who were in Africa. And they got caught in Africa. And so the English was havin' a hell of a time fightin' the war in Africa, and they needed everybody they can get to fight the war. So they asked the Jewish people if they would join the English army. And they joined the English army and fought in Africa. And this is the reason why the Ammunition Hill is now a monument (for) them. And one of the things that I've always been surprised at is, back there, this story isn't something that is just told to a small group. It's told to everybody.

And I was very fortunate that I had met a Japanese (professor at Hebrew University). And can you imagine? He spoke the same languages as they do and everything (Hebrew, Japanese, and English). And he spoke English to me. So we talked quite a bit. And he said one thing that he was amazed at was, he says, "They found out that I was Japanese, and that I was going to school in Israel. But they treated me like I was royalty because of what you 442nd, 522 boys did." And so I said, "Well, that's great. But now what do you think about what has happened now?" And he says, well, as far as he's concerned, "the Israeli government is a hundred percent in back of the Japanese American soldiers." That's a hell of a lot better there than we can say about (the U.S.) government here.

<End Segment 53> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.