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-02-0054

<Begin Segment 54>

JN: Did you want him to talk more about the meeting?

TI: Yeah.

JN: And Solly Ganor?

TI: I think he's getting there.

RT: Yeah. So then we start talking about how we're gonna have a, it was not exactly a meeting, we were gonna have a session. So this was where we got the fella that helped him out and Solly Ganor on the same program. And they talked about, this guy talked about how he saw somebody that was laying in the snow move, and he thought, "Hey, maybe the guy's alive yet." And Solly Ganor's talkin' about he feels himself being picked up. And he says, "I couldn't see who was picking me up." But he says, "Well, to put it in English, what went through my mind was, 'God is receiving me.'" And...

TI: Because Solly was just so close to death.

RT: Yeah. He was...

TI: He had been in these camps for a long period of time.

RT: Long period of time.

TI: And he was near starvation.

RT: Yeah. He was just, he had had it already. Like he said to me, he says, "You know Rudy, you come that close to death, and to find out who the guy was that saved your life, I would never forget the man. I would do anything I can, anything he wants."

JN: The person, it wasn't definitely the person there. This was a 522 person that, not necessarily this...

RT: Yeah. We won't say, we don't put it that way, because...

TI: Well, in his book he identifies Clarence?

RT: Yeah, well. This is...

TI: As the individual.

JN: Clarence was the one that was in the meeting.

TI: Okay.

RT: This is the reason why I felt it was better, you had to have a name. And he doesn't know who the person really was. So we said, "Well, let's pick a man."

JN: The (first) meeting at the hotel was between Solly and Clarence, (with us).

RT: So it's been, to me, I think what these Japanese Americans have done, not because I was part of it, but because of what all these guys have done. I don't think there could be another nationality that you can say, "Yeah, they were great."

JN: You could tell him about what Speaker Sol Shilansky said to you, too. The speaker of the Knesset. Remember that? The speaker of the Knesset.

RT: Yeah. Well, it wasn't the 442 that was there. So somebody was, sorta I think, well, he was being pushed by somebody else. He was tryin' to prove that, "I'm 442nd, so I had nothin' to do with it." But then Sol Shilansky, who was -- what'd they call him?

JN: The speaker.

RT: Yeah. The speaker of the house.

JN: Of the Knesset.

RT: He was the one that was handling the program that day. And he turned around and he said, "Well, but here is a man that risked his life for the same freedom we were fighting for. And he has gone through as much hell as we have. So I would like to personally pin this pin on his collar." And he pinned my pin on the collar of my jacket.

JN: And he had also been in Dachau. And he was telling you his story about remembering a patch. Remember?

RT: Yeah, yeah. 'Cause he was the one, he told me in the early part, that when I said, "Do you know for sure who it was?" And he said, "Well, when I was picked up, I could see the patch. Now I know who belonged to these patches, who the guys were." And to him, it was like God sent. And he says at one time, when we were just shootin' the breeze, he says, "You know something, Rudy? If it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't be here. Not that, not that you were the one that picked me up or anything. But because of your group of people and what they were fighting for. Because of that, I'm here today." And he says, "I respect you people and I bow my head to you." And it was just like when we went to Ammunition Hill. This is where these Jewish people have their monument. And somebody come up and started pushing me to the side, and said, "These aren't the guys did this and that and this." And so the people at the Ammunition Hill just stopped him right now. And they said, "He represents these people. So as far as we are concerned, he is the man. It made me feel good, too, because these people are recognizing what the Japanese Americans have done.

<End Segment 54> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.