Son of Jew-saving Japanese diplomat Sugihara coming to Lithuania

Monument to Chiune Sugihara in Vilnius
D.Tunkūno nuotr.

On Friday, Nobuki Sugihara is scheduled to attend a presentation of awards for merits to the Jewish community at the Presidential Palace.

On Saturday, he will give a speech as part of the nowJapan 2014 festival’s program Unseen Japan, and is also scheduled to attend commemorative events to mark the National Memorial Day for the Genocide of the Lithuanian Jews, visit the IX Fort in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, and his father’s home, the organizers say.

Also on Saturday, Nobuki Sugihara will meet with members of the public, share his memories about his father and their family. His visit is being organized by the Jewish Community of Lithuania and the organizers of the nowJapan 2014 festival.

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat who served as vice-consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania. During World War Two, he helped several thousand Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Poland and residents of Lithuania. Sugihara issued travel visas that facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family’s lives.

In 1985, the diplomat was named a Righteous Among the Nations, an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis.

Nobuki Sugihara was born in 1951 and went to live in Israel with his father in 1968 after receiving the Israeli government’s proposal to study. He studies management at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and also learnt Hebrew.

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