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Jewish Journal

Letter from Shin Dong-hyuk

January 24, 2014 | 12:22 pm

Shin Dong-hyuk at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jared Sichel

Shin Dong-hyuk at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jared Sichel

I learned of the history of the Jewish people for the first time in South Korea, after my escape from political prison Camp 14 in North Korea. I also learned about the horrific Holocaust, the genocide suffered by the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis some 70 years ago. 

Right now, in my capacity as a human rights activist for North Korea, I travel all over the world and tell people about the human rights situation in North Korea, and, more importantly, about the reality of the political prison camps in that country. In every city/country I visit, if there is a Holocaust memorial or museum, I make it a point to visit without fail.

The reason I visit is that when I see the pain and suffering of what the Jews went through, I try to find a solution and an answer to what is happening inside the political prison camps in North Korea right now, and how to stop this modern-day genocide that is occurring.  

I have met many people, and have spoken in front of countless numbers of audiences, and I always make it a point to bring up the Holocaust and the suffering that the Jewish people went through under the Nazis, and make people remember what happened. The reason for this is not to compare the Jewish and Korean people — I do not dare compare the Jewish people, the chosen people of God, with the Korean people. My reason for comparison is the fact that the Jewish victims who were sacrificed in the Nazi camps and the political prisoners who perished in the North Korean political prison camps — my family, my friends — both bear a striking resemblance in the inhumanity and the misery of suffering; to me it is the same.  

[Related: Holocaust in North Korea]

The only hope for my family and friends and fellow inmates in the political prison camps of North Korea is your interest and concern regarding this issue. 

Please help to rescue my people who are suffering and feebly dying. 

Please pray for those suffering in North Korea. 

RIGHT NOW, right this moment, we need your concern, care and interest. 

The people of North Korea, and, specifically, those in the political prison camps, need your helping hand.

Thank you.

Shin Dong-hyuk

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