Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Sword to Heal Old 'Wounds'; World War II Samurai Returned to Japan in Spirit of Forgiveness

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Sword to Heal Old 'Wounds'; World War II Samurai Returned to Japan in Spirit of Forgiveness

Article excerpt

Byline: Dominic Feain dominic.feain@northernstar.com.au

A WORLD War II Japanese samurai sword has been handed to a Lismore reconciliation group to return to Japan in the spirit of healing and forgiveness.

The sword was found by a Sydney war widow who hoped the gesture might promote peace.

"Often these veterans never spoke of the war, even to their wives," said Sabina Baltruweit, from the group Remembering and Healing Old Wounds.

"I think this was her way of making peace with it."

The group was formed last year by Ms Baltruweit and two other Northern Rivers women, Larisa Barnes and Margaret Loong - whose families have all been deeply touched by war - to heal the wounds of war and promote non-violent solutions to conflict.

Under the mentorship of former Lismore priest Fr Paul Glynn, OAM, who is continuing the legacy of his brother, the late Father Tony Glynn, OAM, the women hope to carry on the reconciliation work of the two brothers.

The Glynn brothers were both former Woodlawn students and Lismore priests who dedicated their lives to reconciliation between post-war Japan and Australia.

The group will present the sword to Japanese Buddhist priest, Reverend Shigenobu Watanabe, at a multi-faith ceremony at Lismore Uniting Church on the eve of Anzac Day in April.

Rev Watanabe will research the origins of the sword and organise its repatriation to Japan.

Ms Baltruweit, Ms Barnes and Ms Loong have each experienced the traumatic generational legacy of World War II from German, Jewish and Australian perspectives respectively.

Last year they returned another war souvenir, a fragile, tattered Japanese flag, in a similar cere- mony.

Ms Baltruweit explained that such gestures were very meaningful to the subsequent Japanese generations, and carried huge significance in Japan. …

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