About This File
"Do you remember this?" It was an event in August, 1968. A gentle man visited SUGIHARA. This gentleman showed SUGIHARA one sheet of paper that had become tattered. It was the visa that SUGIHARA issued in Kaunas of Lithuania 28 years ago. "I found you finally, Mr. Sugihara. We have never forgotten you." This gentleman's name was B.Gehashra Nishri.
In the fall of 1939, SUGIHARA Chiune was sent by the Japanese government to Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania, to open a consulate. He had barely settled into his new post when the Germany invaded Poland, forcing a wave of Jewish refugees to flee eastward into neighboring Lithuania. The desperate refugees brought with them chilling tales of German atrocities against the Jewish population.
SUGIHARA Chiune was one of the most important rescuers of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust. An estimated 40,000 descendants of the Jewish refugees he saved are alive today because of his courageous actions. The story of Chiune Sugihara is among the most remarkable of the second world war.
SUGIHARA 'Sempo' Chiune was the Japanese Consul General in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania in 1939 and 1940. When World War II broke out, Consul Sugihara's office was flooded with visa requests from thousands of Jews fleeing German-occupied Poland. With the encouragement of his wife Yukiko, Sugihara issued Japanese transit visas to as many as 6,000 Polish Jews.
SUGIHARA acted on his own without the official permission of his government. In issuing the visas, SUGIHARA felt that he was risking his career, his future and even his safety. After the war, he was let go from the diplomatic service, and rather than being honored for his humanitarian initiative, he spent his life in disgrace, never recognized by Japan during his lifetime.
B. Gehashra Nishri visited SUGIHARA in 1968, he was Counsellor of Israeli embassy. When the train that SUGIHARA's family boarded was leaving from the Kaunas station 28 years ago, Nishri shouted "Thank you, SUGIHARA!! I never forget you. I will come to see you again!" to the train. Nishri could find SUGIHARA finally after an interval of 28 years.
45 years after signing the visas, SUGIHARA was asked why he did it. He replied: "They were human beings and they needed help. I'm glad I found the strength to make the decision to give it to them."