Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat, moved with his family including wife Yukiko, to Lithuania during World War II to work in a consulate. The Sugihara family became acquainted with the local residents and were made aware by the Jewish families in the area of their increasing worries of persecution from the Nazi party. Chiune contacted the Japanese government and requested permission to issue visas to the Jewish residents who lined up at the consulate begging for help. The Japanese government declined Chiune the request to issue the visas. Chiune knowing the injustices taking place to innocent people, disobeyed his government to obey his conscience. Chiune and Yukiko wrote over 6,000 visas granting asylum to refugees. Chiune wrote a month worth of visas in a single day, for almost three months. Even when Chiune and his family needed to leave Lithuania because the consulate was closing down, Chiune was still writing visas and throwing them out the train windows. Chiune and his family’s dedication to helping those being persecuted, saved thousands of refugees and even more of their descendants. “Sugihara. We’ll never forget you. I’ll surely see you again!” said a thankful refugee. Thousands have been saved by the courageous and kindness of Chiune and his family.
For more information:
A Special Fate: Chiune Sugihara: Hero of the Holocaust
Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story
Persona Non Grata