Friday, December 15th | 27 Kislev 5778


Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

January 6, 2016 11:24 am

Inspired by Grandparents’ Holocaust Survival, Japanese Man Enlists in IDF

avatar by

Email a copy of "Inspired by Grandparents’ Holocaust Survival, Japanese Man Enlists in IDF" to a friend
Japanese IDF soldier Daniel Tomohiro. The soldier's Hungarian grandparents survived the Holocaust, made aliyah, and fought in Israel’s War of Independence. Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

IDF soldier Daniel Tomohiro. The Japanese man’s Hungarian grandparents survived the Holocaust, made aliyah, and fought in Israel’s War of Independence. Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. – Daniel Tomohiro is not the typical Israeli soldier. His Hungarian grandparents survived the Holocaust, made aliyah, and fought in Israel’s War of Independence, but they then moved to Australia, where his mother met and married a Japanese man and moved to Iwata, Japan.

Now Tomohiro has come full circle and is serving in the Israel Defense Forces, undergoing basic training with the Nahal Brigade’s 50th Battalion. On Wednesday, his unit was scheduled to take part in a swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.

“My 88-year-old grandfather Ivan lives in Sydney, Australia,” Tomohiro said. “He told me that he fought in an artillery during the War of Independence, in the Palmach [the Jewish paramilitary organization in the pre-state years], and was an instructor in an officer training course. My grandmother died when I was a child and I still don’t know what she did in the Palmach.”

Tomohiro’s parents met when his father was on a business trip to Australia.

Related coverage

December 14, 2017 11:43 am

Family of Mumbai Terror Victims Granted State-Owned Home in Israel - Rabbi Nachman and Freida Holtzberg, who lost their son and daughter-in-law in the 2008 terror attack on the Indian...

“My parents married and moved to Japan, but at home they kept talking about Israel,” Tomohiro said. “My family is very pro-Israel and loves the state, and I believe the Israel Defense Forces is the most moral military in the world.”

According to Tomohiro, his grandparents imbued him with a sense of curiosity about Israel.

“I felt very connected to the state, but I arrived here for the first time only when I was 18, with my parents and younger brother,” he said. “My older brother had already made aliyah and was in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. After I graduated high school in Japan, I returned to Israel, and four months ago I joined an IDF Hebrew course and later started basic training.”

IDF service “means a lot to me and my family,” Tomohiro said.

“My grandmother was in Auschwitz. She survived only because a German nurse covered her with a blanket when Dr. Josef Mengele came to visit. He thought she was dead and this saved her life, because he didn’t perform experiments on her. I realized, after hearing such stories, that the Holocaust happened because there was no State of Israel. I am happy to contribute to the security of the state, to make the IDF and Israel strong, and to prevent another Holocaust,” he said.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Deborah Spackman

    Dear Daniel:

    I followed my mother in intercession for Jewish world-wide revival. She was a nurse, and after a business degree was unsatisfying, became a nurse also. During the holocaust I was able to do much to help encourage people to go to Canada House because the Germans only saw me as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed child….no threat, but Yeshua inside me with HIS wisdom and guidance, spared many lives! (Only problem was my birthmother while passing through China had been a “comfort woman” and still she chose to bless, love and protect through it all!)

    I pray G-d gives you great discernment and His wisdom to walk in it during your IDF service, and the protection of His precious blood to cover and protect….that you would hear His still small voice saying: “this is the way…walk ye therein” and that your obedience would bring blessing to you and those you protect.

    Child Apostle Deborah Spackman