Memorial Middle School, Howell, NJ
2012 Study Tour Participant
The summer of 2012 will forever be etched in my mind. I was chosen by NJ-ALPHA to go on a Peace and Reconciliation Study Tour of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Korea. I did a lot of pre-reading as required by NJ-ALPHA, and it was very informative. I learned about the atrocities done to the innocent people of China and Korea from 1931 – 1945. I was never taught this part of history in school as a child and young adult, nor have I ever taught it to my students. It is not included in the history books where I have taught.
Four years earlier, I traveled to sights in Eastern Europe to view many countries where the Holocaust took place. I thought I was exposed to almost all the places of horror and death for millions of Jewish people, Romas, homosexuals and other peaceful people at the hands of the Nazis of Germany.
In China, many of the same acts of terror and death were done to the Chinese and Korean people, as well as other people such as those living in the Philippines, as ordered by the Japanese Imperial Army. In fact, I was shocked to learn so much of what was done to innocent Chinese and Korean people. The study tour group traveled to many different cities in China (Shanghai, Harbin, Nanjing, and Hong Kong) and Seoul, South Korea where we listened to and took notes of lectures from knowledgeable scholars in universities, survivors and eyewitnesses. We even visited some female survivors in the House of Sharing in South Korea, as well as joining the Halmoni’s, known as the Grandmas, in their weekly protest against the Japanese government for not acknowledging the truth about those abused in China by the Japanese Imperial Army. This protest takes place once a week across the street from the Japanese Embassy in South Korea.
This study tour was so educationally rewarding for me. Through the generosity of NJ-ALPHA, I plan to share the knowledge I gained on this tour so that many students and others will benefit from my experience. Just as the Holocaust in Europe, we must NEVER FORGET the genocide that happened in Asia.