Sugihara Chiune

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    I saw this on a friend’s blog, thought I would repost:

    I thought we shouldn’t let this get past without some note. I missed posting this on the actual yahrzeit, but I wanted to mention the 25th anniversary of the death of Sugihara Chiune, a Japanese diplomat during World War II.

    Mr. Sugihara was a dissident, opposing the actions of his government in China, particularly, Nanking. Wishing to avoid further trouble from him, they stationed him as far from their ears as possible, in Lithuania. When faced with thousands of desperate Lithuanian Jews seeking travel permits to anywhere beyond the reach of the Nazis, he asked for permission to grant travel visas to get the Jews out of harm’s way. When his government denied his request, he started issuing visas anyway.

    He issued thousands of travel visas against the policy of his own government, knowing that he could well be risking his own life. Working twenty hour days, he and his wife hand wrote visas. When they were recalled, they wrote visas on the way to the train station and flung blank papers with the consul seal and his signature out of the train windows as it pulled away from the station. Thousands of European Jews slipped out of Lithuania, into Russia and across the continent into Japanese controlled China and Japan, where the government refused Nazi requests to deport or execute them.

    When he reached home, he awaited the consequences of his action, but no one ever mentioned it. He theorized that they simply did not realize the massive scope of what he had done, thinking that he had simply written a few hundred visas. A man of intellect, courage, and a great humanitarian soul, he passed away in 1986.

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    What a tremendous, tremendous man he was. Please, everyone read his story on Wikipedia and other sources. This man saved thousands. Probably singlehandedly saved the entirety of the Mirrer Yeshiva. A simple blot of ink saving thousands of souls. It is so important to have hakorat hatov to people like this. He and his descendants are deserving of our prayers and torah. Can you imagine his sachar? Millions of hours of torah learned because of him. He was truly righteous among the gentiles.

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