SENDAI--Out of tragedy, hope can only follow.
In a touching gesture, the world-renowned Frankl Center in Vienna has tried to provide solace to Japanese victims of last year's natural disaster.
The Frankl Center honors the late Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, who is best known for his book "Man's Search for Meaning."
It has presented a rare first edition of Frankl's "Arztliche Seelsorge" (The Doctor and the Soul), which was written in the face of unbearable personal tragedy.
The center presented the book for "disaster-stricken Japan."
The book is now on display at the office of nonprofit organization that assists people with mental disabilities in this tsunami-ravaged northern city.
Frankl (1905-97) wrote "The Doctor and the Soul" in despair over the loss of loved ones. It was published in 1946.
Its Japanese translation, by Tokuji Shimoyama, was published in 1957 by Misuzu Shobo.
Most of Frankl's immediate family perished in the Holocaust.
Frankl, a Jew, along with his newlywed wife and parents, was rounded up by the Nazis and transported to concentration camps.
It was during this time that he started work on an essay that would become "The Doctor and the Soul." The unfinished manuscript was confiscated by camp guards.
Frankl was moved to three other camps until he was liberated by U.S. soldiers in 1945.
Upon returning to Vienna, he learned that his mother died in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, and his wife perished in Bergen-Belsen.
Wracked by sorrow, Frankl rewrote the lost essay and published it as a book.
Frankl is said to have survived the ordeal of concentration camp life by jotting down his thoughts on scraps of paper.
Frankl's philosophy was that each person lives to discover the meaning of life and thereby to fulfill it. In the book, he describes the meaning of life, agony and love.
He dedicated the book to Tilly, his wife.
Last summer, the center contacted Kayao Katsuta, a logotherapy scholar living in Germany, and asked her to deliver the book to Japan, which was still reeling from the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake that claimed an estimated 20,000 lives.
Katsuta, 66, has been holding seminars on logotherapy for beginners in Sendai and Tokyo since 2001.
The Frankl center's board members handed over the book to mark the 10th anniversary of Katsuta's seminars.
A letter attached to the book, written in German, reads: "Austria has gone through difficult times. This work was born out of catastrophe and brought many good things to people around the world.
"We sincerely hope this book will bring the strength to live (despite hardships) to disaster-stricken and other Japanese."
The book was handed to Fukujiro Shiroki, a student of Katsuta's seminar and director of Hoppu no Mori, a Sendai-based NPO.
Shiroki, 64, and his colleagues had the book rebound for display in a glass case at the NPO's new office.
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