|Do you know who Chiune Sugihara was? This, Yaotsu born Japanese Diplomat is called
and respected by Jewish people from all around the world The "Japanese Schindler".
And why is that? Might you ask?
On July 27th, 1940, during the raging days of the Second World War, Mr. Sugihara, acting as the Japanese General Consul to Lithuania, did not shut his eyes.
On that day, while sitting at his desk, he heard a loud voice coming from the outside. Looking out he saw a large gathering of bloodshot-eyed crowd, calling out to him. They were all Jewish people, which scarcely managed to flee the clutches of the Nazi oppression. They where pleading for passage visas through Japan.
At the previous year, Nazi Germany has invaded Poland. Soon after, Britain and France has declared war on Germany. Soon after Europe was engulfed in the flames of war. The Nazis, acting out from a big, horrific plan regarding the Jews, where sending them in large masses to concentration camps in Poland, Germany and other territories they have captured. In those camps they had only one gruesome faith, death. This was the plan, the mass murder of the Jewish people, the Holocaust.
These people fleeing the horrible faith awaiting have pleaded before Sugihara to save their lives. At the time, they had only one place to go, which was the Dutch colony of Curacao, a small island of the northern shores of South America. But, to get there they had only one route they could follow, and that route was through the Soviet Union and Japan.
During the war, Nazi Germany and Japan were allies. The Germans might regard helping the Jews as defiance to the alliance. Sugihara, as an official of his government, sent a telegram to the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, and asked for guidance. No answer came. He tried again and again, until finally a short answer has arrived. The answer was "NO".
"I have decided on my own accord to help these people. If that will result in a punishment from my government, then I will have to live with that. I had to go through with my faith and believes as a human being". The resolution Sugihara made was one. Opposite to the orders he got from the ministry he decided to issue the visas. And he did that with great eagerness and resolve. Even if his arms would swell up out of tiredness, even if his back would hurt, even if his fountain pen would break out of excessive use, he continued with hardly ever stopping, issuing the life saving visas, one after the other.
Even though Mr. Sugihara is the diplomat who has saved 6000 precocious lives from the Nazis, he was actually a person that came from a regular home and from a regular and simple family. That simple man, who was raised on the ideology of loving ones country, and on patriotism, had a great love for mankind as well. In those unimaginable circumstances of WW2, that simple man has emerged to become a great man.
Mr. Sugihara was born on January 1st 1900 in Yaotsu. He was an obedient and kind person from the very beginning. Even though, that one great deed of his has given him the title of "Hot Blooded Sugihara".
The Jewish people did not forget his name. We, in Japan did not forget his name.
In the abundant nature of his green countryside, we have built the "Chiune Sugihara Memorial Hall", so that future generations will not forget his name as well.
You too, dear reader, can have the resolve, kindness, endurance and courage to change and to do, for the benefit of humankind.