Collecting 1.5 million paper cranes project   

Harvest of Hope

Let me explain about my peace project. I am a docent of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance. Five years ago, one day, a colleague of mine who was working at the Holocaust exhibit said, gItfs very strange, when a public people insert a passport card, always particular boysf print came out.h I became deeply interested about this boy, and picked a passport card and got a print out. I began to read the printed page and discovered the boyfs name. He was dressed modestly; a very good looking boy. It looked like he was from wealthy family.


He was the youngest of four children and grew up in Paris, France. His family was put on a train to be deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp, and the family was separated. The boy and his grandmother were sent to the Auschwitz death camp. 20 Jewish children were to be used in horrific medical experiments including him. In November 1944, the children were transferred to the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, Germany. All 20 children were brought to a school in Hamburg and injected with morphine and murdered.  


When I finished reading his story, tears came down from my eyes. My anger swelled and at the same time I became so depressed. I imagined that thousands of children were separated from parents and siblings. They were sent to the (Auschwitz) Death Camp. They would cry out and call to their parents, but nobody would answer. Even nobody would rescue them. Were all Nazifs SSmen single? When these evil soldiers left their house in the morning, they brought smiles to their children, yet they had inflicted evil to children the same age as their children, and returned home to their family at night. How could a human being dehumanize another human being? 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered during the Holocaust because they were Jews. As I give tours to student groups, most can hardly imagine this large of a number of 1.5 million. I want to show what 1.5 million means.


The Holocaust ended 65 years ago, but genocide still occurs in places like Darfur in Sudan and North Korea. Many children have been used as soldiers in Myanmar. Children are living in garbage disposal areas in the Philippines. Child slavery has been exploited in many countries. When can these children attend school to study, laugh, play, and enjoy freedom? When will this tragedy be finished? I decided to make 1.5 million paper cranes myself.


According to Japanese custom, we make thousand of paper cranes to make a wish; also paper cranes are a symbol of peace.  A Japanese magazine wrote about this project and people began sending in paper cranes.


In January 2008, I was a guest speaker for AAJUW (American Association of Japanese University Women). They became my sponsor to support this peace project.

I have received 200,000 paper cranes now, including 3,000 paper-cranes from Nagasaki Atomic Bomb survivors and 4,000 from Hiroshima. Especially, an elementary school which is located 1 mile from ground zero area in Hiroshima. Everybody wants to have peace in the world. The project began as tiny as one drop of water. However, one drop of water can make an ocean. Would you like to be a peace maker and change the world?

You can join this peace project with any number of paper-cranes.


Shalom unto you!

Mamiko Channah Yamamoto