KOBE, port on Osaka Bay, Japan. Before World War I a small number of Jews, mainly from the Middle East and Europe, carried on their business activities in Kobe; the Jewish community increased slightly with the advent of refugees from the Bolshevik Revolution. The Sephardi and Ashkenazi congregations in Kobe maintained synagogues and a community center. With the rise of Nazism in Europe, and particularly after the outbreak of World War II, hundreds of Jews from Eastern Europe fled across Siberia to Japan, which served as a transit point for their journeys to more or less permanent homes elsewhere. Many of them made their way to Kobe in 1940–41 where they were given emergency assistance by the local Jewish community, Jewish international relief organizations, and some sympathetic Japanese. Notable among the refugees who passed through Kobe at this time were teachers and students from the famous *Mir yeshivah in Lithuania who, lacking the necessary visas, were sent on to Shanghai. After World War II, a small Jewish community, augmented at times by American and European businessmen and professionals, continued to live in Kobe.
A. Kotsuji, From Tokyo to Jerusalem (1964), 159–67.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.