In this online talk, Andrew Jakubowicz will explore what postcards sent between Poland and the Soviet Socialist Republic may reveal about Jewish families in the months before the Final Solution was implemented.
In early spring of 1940/1941, the final hundreds of over two thousand Japanese visas were used by Polish refugees in Lithuania to travel east. Most of the refugees were Jewish escapees from the dismembered Poland, at the time still shared between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. They are known as Sugihara survivors. They were still connected to families caught elsewhere in the web of totalitarian regimes that were spread across Europe and Asia.
One group, a melded family of parents and children, was communicating back to Lodz in Poland across to Yoshkar-Ola in the Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, and further to Vienna in the Nazi Reich. Postcards from these places, carrying carefully coded news to avoid obliteration by the censors, reached the travellers as they awaited their departure from Vilnius, and arrived ultimately in Kobe. The postcards travelled efficiently within and between the USSR, Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan.
The lecture will be illustrated with images of the postcards, maps of the topography, photographs of a number of the places, and images of the survivors.
Andrew Jakubowicz is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Technology Sydney. His main research areas cover racism, multiculturalism, refugees, media and social change.
The child of “Sugihara survivors”, Polish Jews from Lodz who escaped to China via Japan on visas from Lithuania provided by Dutch consul Jan Zwartendijk and Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara, he has been deeply engaged with scholarly explorations of the complex relations between Poland and its Jewish population.