Eric Saul, Founder and Executive Director of Visas for Life and Institute for the Study of Rescue and Altruism in the Holocaust (ISRAH), a nonprofit corporation
Eric Saul served as founding curator of the Military Museum at the Presidio of San Francisco from 1973-1986. He was responsible for the restoration of the old 1861 Station Hospital of the Presidio. He was also responsible for the design and implementation of the permanent exhibitions. The museum was dedicated to telling the history of the Presidio of San Francisco and of the U.S. Army in the West and in the Pacific.
Eric Saul was promoted to Director of the Presidio Army Museum in 1978. As Director, he curated, designed and installed a number of exhibits on the contributions of minorities to the US military. Included among them were an exhibit on African American soldiers, entitled Ready and Forward: The Story of African American Soldiers in the US Army, and exhibits on women in the military, Filipinos in the US Army, and the famous Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team/Military Intelligence Service. The exhibit was entitled Go For Broke: The Story of the Japanese American Soldier in World War II. The exhibit was adopted by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. The exhibit opened at the Smithsonian in September of 1987 as A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the Constitution. For this exhibit, Saul was a technical advisor and consultant. He also collected the photographs that were used in the exhibit. Along with Japanese American veterans, Saul helped to obtain most of the artifacts for the installation.
The More Perfect Union exhibit was used by Japanese American legislators to help pass the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. This was a formal apology by the United States Congress to Japanese Americans for the forced imprisonment during World War II. In addition, Eric Saul lobbied on behalf of this legislation.
In 1980, Eric Saul co-founded of the Go For Broke 100th/442nd/MIS Foundation, later called the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS). He was curator from 1981 to 1987, producing exhibits including East to America, which chronicled the story of Japanese American immigration to the United States. Eric Saul has also curated an exhibit entitled Unlikely Liberators on the Japanese American soldiers of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion who liberated the infamous Dachau Death March. In the 1990's, Saul served as a consultant for the Japanese American National Museum. In 2002, he created a national project, the Kansha Project, to honor people who risked their reputations to help Japanese Americans during World War II. In 2010, Saul curated the exhibit Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts for the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. This exhibit was shown at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, November 2103 through March 2014. The exhibit opened at the Hawaii State Capitol in March 2014 and has been on a tour of Hawaiian Islands since then. The exhibit is sponsored by the Nisei Veterans Legacy Center. Saul is presently working with a committee to produce an edited compilation of oral histories of Nisei soldiers of World War II.
Eric Saul has been Guest Curator at the Simon Wiesenthal Center - Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles since 1994. He curated a major exhibit entitled Art in the Holocaust. In 1998, he curated an exhibit entitled I am My Brother's Keeper on Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. He also curated Liberation: Revealing the Unspeakable, an exhibit on the liberation of the concentration camps by the allied Armies, 1944-45. This exhibit premiered at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in 1995.
In 1993, Eric Saul founded the Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats Project to document and honor Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara. In 1996, the project expanded to honor all diplomats who helped Jews during the war. Under his direction, the Visas for Life Project created six traveling exhibits on the topic of diplomatic rescue, which have been shown in more than 150 institutions worldwide, including: the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust; the United Nations headquarters in New York and Geneva; the headquarters of the European Union, the Japanese Parliament; Yad Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority; and the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Saul has independently curated a number of additional traveling exhibits. In 1997, he created a series of traveling exhibits and programs on Chinese diplomat Dr. Feng Shan Ho. The exhibit traveled to numerous venues in the United States and to China on the 100th anniversary of Dr. Ho's birth. In 2000, Saul created another exhibit entitled Light One Candle: A Child's Diary of the Holocaust. The exhibit tells the story of Solly Ganor (Zalke Genkind), who was a survivor of the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania and the Landsberg-Kaufering concentration camps. It premiered in Detroit, Michigan, in 2001. In 2006, Saul created the exhibit A Man for All Times: The Story of Mexican Ambassador Gilberto Bosques and the Rescue of Jews in Marseilles in cooperation with the Tuvie Maizel Museum of the Holocaust and the Simon Wiesenthal Center - Museum of Tolerance. The exhibit opened in Mexico City at the Jewish Community Center, and then toured to the Mexican foreign ministry.
In 2006, the Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats Project became a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of the Institute for the Study of Rescue and Altruism in the Holocaust, a nonprofit corporation (ISRAH). The mission expanded to document a comprehensive history of rescue, relief and altruism during the Holocaust. As Executive Director of ISRAH, Eric Saul continues to document rescue, and has nominated many individuals for the title of Righteous Among the Nations.
In 2007, Saul instituted a major research program to document and honor Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. Saul has created a major database of Jewish rescue organizations and Jewish rescuers. He is cooperating with two programs in Israel. He is currently preparing a traveling exhibit on Jewish rescue. In 2012, Saul launched a website on Jews who rescued Jews in the Holocaust. It can be seen at www.jewishholocaustrescuers.com.
Eric Saul has been a consultant on numerous documentary films, including Yankee Samurai (1981), The Color of Honor (1982), Nisei Soldier (1984), and the Holocaust documentaries entitled Diplomats for the Damned (1999), Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness (2000), 50 Italians: The Men who Saved 50,000 Jewish Lives.
Eric Saul was an early consultant for Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.
Eric Saul was the co-author of The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 (1982) and contributed to Go For Broke: The Story of the Japanese American Soldier in World War II (1981). He was coeditor of Yukiko Sugihara's memoir, Visas for Life (1995). He also authored Unlikely Liberators: The Story of Chiune Sugihara and Japanese Americans of the 522nd Field Artillery (1995).
Saul has compiled a database of more than 2,000 abolitionist and anti-slavery organizations and individuals. The list can be found on the website at www.AmericanAbolitionists.com. He has organized a number of historic programs to honor these courageous individuals, including an event at the African Burial Ground National Monument historic site in New York City in 2013.
Another focus of Eric Saul’s work has been the history of the American Civil War. In 2012, in commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, he created a comprehensive reference website, www.CivilWarLibrary.org.
Saul organized a reading of the names of Union and Confederate killed in action at Gettysburg for the sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg battle, July 3, 2013. This has become an annual program at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
In February 2014, Saul published a website honoring the Union Twelfth Corps in the Civil War (www.Union12thCorps.com). This site will actively seek to obtain retroactive Medals of Honor for officers and soldiers from the Twelfth Corps who served in the Battle for the defense of Culp’s Hill, July 1-3, 1863.
As a follow up, Saul has created an extensive website to honor the U.S. Army of Georgia that was created in 1864 under the command of General Henry Warner Slocum. The site documents both the Georgia and the Carolinas campaigns, which were part of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous March to the Sea. The site documents the role of the Union Army in enforcing the provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation and the freeing of enslaved individuals along the route of the March.
Eric Saul is presently writing a major new book on diplomatic rescue in World War II.
Saul received an Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles Valley College and completed two years with a major in history at San Francisco State University (SFSU).
Recently, Saul and a number of other historians and Holocaust institutions have had their reputations impugned by a website entitled isurvived.org. This website is being run by an individual who is mentally unstable and has used these scurrilous attacks to draw attention to his hate website. A number of organizations have posted their reply to these attacks, entitled “Report on Kalman K. Brattman (K. K. Brattman) and the Holocaust Survivors Network” which can be accessed at: KalmanBrattman.com.
February 4, 2017