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Lucie Choueke, who was the last remaining Japan resident from the pre-World War Two Sephardi Community in Kobe, lived in Japan for 84 years.  "Womb of Diamonds" tells her intriguing life story.  Her anecdotes from Syria during the economic downturn of the 1930's, her life during World War Two in Kobe, and her accounts of the Kobe Jewish communities' actions to aid European Holocaust refugees make this a unique, Jewish memoir.  

The Choueke family have been residents of Kobe, Japan from 1933.  Their residence, together with its many artworks, antiques, interior decoration and garden is only open to the public on a very limited basis to benefit community events and charitable causes.

The Choueke family maintains its residence on the second floor but, on special occasions, has opened the first floor and garden to visitors. The building was designed and built by the English architect, A.N. Hansel in 1896. It is designed as an English mansion with an added blend of Japanese and international influences. After their previous residence was destroyed during the unfortunate bombing of Kobe in 1945, Ezra and Polissa Choueke acquired this house in 1954.

For four generations, the Choueke family has been dedicated to the preservation of the house and the acquisition of artworks that adorn the interior. On open days, visitors can have a unique and authentic experience of what life was like for a foreign, merchant family living in Kobe. Here, in a very intimate and personal setting, visitors can enjoy rare paintings, historic woodblock prints, architectural detail and family photos that highlight the fusion of diverse cultures that gives Kobe its romance and energy.

People of many nationalities, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds were welcomed to this home and to Kobe City by its tolerant citizens and its enlightened leaders. Each group prospered and each made its own contribution. The Choueke Residence is one of the most important cultural landmarks in the city, yet it remains purposefully small and personal in its appeal.

We look forward to welcoming you on open days and hope that you will enjoy the many interesting sights of our beautiful city. We sincerely encourage you to join us in working towards international understanding, tolerance and goodwill among all people.

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