Abe sits at Sugihara’s desk

January 15, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited his country’s former consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania at which Chiune Sugihara issued Japanese visas to around 6,000 Jews escaping Nazi-occupied Poland in WWII.

Members of families saved Sugihara meet his great-grandson, Rabbi Levi Wolff, Victor Grynberg, Maya Grynberg, Keisuke Sugihara and John Roth      Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Consul Sugihara disobeyed orders to facilitate the escape of the Jews who had been facing certain death.

Chiune Sugihara

Abe told media: “The courageous and humanitarian action of Mr. Sugihara provides us with guidance as to how to we should survive in this world, where rule-of-law-based international order is being challenged in various forms.”

“He worked far from Japan and in very difficult circumstances, but he had a strong belief as a Japanese diplomat and saved many Jewish people,”

Sitting at Sugihara’s desk, Prime Minister Abe said: “I am really proud of him as Japanese.”

The transit visas issued in a two month period in 1940 allowed Jews to  travel through Russia to Japan.

In 1984, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem bestowed him the honour of being Righteous Among the Nations. Sugihara died two years later.

Around 50 families established new homes in Australia and New Zealand with other arriving later via Shanghai. The Sydney Jewish Museum regularly exhibits the story of Chiune Sugihara and members of his family have travelled from Japan to Australia to meet families who owe their very existence to Sugihara.



One Response to “Abe sits at Sugihara’s desk”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    The Japanese diplomat was very humane no question about that but many European Jews with German passports were given visa to travel to China by the Japanese embassy because they were from a soon to be a war time ally.

    The Chinese in Shanghai were slaughtered by the Japanese be there was a German manager of the electric power plant who also helped save hundreds of Chinese by saying his factory was German property even displaying the German flag.

    These European Jews and the Chinese were fortunate that they were in the right place at the right time.

    A similar thing happen went the Japanese invaded New Guinea were a German Lutheran mission protected wounded Australian soldiers for a period however they were eventually put onto a Japanese merchant transport back to Japan which was later torpedoed by a US submarine with the loss of over 1000 Australian soldiers and civilian administrators lives. The worst maritime disaster in Australian history.


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