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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:10 PM
Original message
'Japanese Schindler' who saved Lithuanian Jews is honoured
Source: The Independent (UK)

When Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the monument of Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania last weekend, many television programmes back in Japan had to run stories explaining who this obscure diplomat was.

It's obvious why the Emperor would be in London yesterday to dine with the Queen but who was Chiune Sugihara?

For years, few Japanese knew the incredible story of how the man dubbed "Japan's Schindler" saved about 6,000 Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War despite working for an ally of Germany. Unlike Oscar Schindler, the German industrialist who turned against the Nazis and rescued almost 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust, Sugihara had to wait until just seven years ago for his bravery to be officially recognised.

Sugihara was the acting consul in Lithuania's temporary wartime capital when he was ordered to abandon his post as the Germans advanced in 1940. A fourth of the city's population was Jewish, mostly prosperous and well integrated, and few were ready to believe the horror stories from nearby Poland until it was too late to flee. By an accident of history the mild-mannered diplomat - one of just two left in the city - became their last hope for survival.



Read more: http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2594166.ece
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. How about the German who saved 1000s of Chinese from the Japanese?
during the Rape of Nanking? Where's his recognition?
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Write "The Independent" and ask them!
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I will!
Thanks!
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Good.
Contact Us
The Independent and Independent.co.uk
Published: 12 October 2006
Please decide whether your query should be directed to the website or the print edition of the Independent, and choose an option from the following groups. Note that almost all editorial content on the website comes from the print edition, so unless your query is definitely related to the website, you should contact the paper first.

PRINT EDITION

* News Desk - newseditor@ independent.co.uk

* Letters for publication in the print edition. Note: If you wish to submit a letter for publication in the newspaper, it must include the sender's name, postal address and daytime telephone number - letters@ independent.co.uk

WWW.INDEPENDENT.CO.UK

* Editorial (Note: website only. No editorial submissions, letters or forwarding requests- please use departmental addresses above) - Martin King: m.king@ independent.co.uk

The Independent group in the UK is based at
Independent House,
191 Marsh Wall,
London
E14 9RS.
The general switchboard number is (+44) (0)20 7005 2000

http://news.independent.co.uk/article293866.ece
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Thanks for the info.
and thanks for the post about this courageous person.
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Kber Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
14. There are angels and devils in every society
Sometimes people shine brightest when all around them is black.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. k &r EOM
,
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thank you. Never heard of him before now.
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I hadn't either.
More and more information is still emerging from that horrible time.
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. I was JUST, I mean JUST telling my mom about him! I have a childrens' book on him that I
used to read to my son. Sugihara was a real hero. He wrote visas for Jews desperate to leave. And he wrote them day and night until his hand couldn't write anymore. And then he wrote some more. Yes, this is a great story that almost no one knows. I have relatives from Japan and my hubby is Jewish, so this story has great significance for my family. Thank you for sharing this article.
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Glad to share.
Do you have the name of the children's book? Is it in English? I have a few nephews and nieces and would love to get this for them.
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #8
22. "Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story" by Ken Mochizuki
It's on Amazon, fyi.

Excerpt:

As the train pulled away, refugees ran alongside. My father still handed permission papers out the window. As the train picked up speed, he threw them out to waiting hands. The people in the front of the crowd looked into my father's eyes and cried, "We will never forget you! We will see you again!"

/snip

Gives me chills. Hope you get the book and your nephews and nieces enjoy it.
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
10. As I read the article, it was like a novel or a movie unfolding
Thank you for posting this article. I've already passed it on to others.
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. What an interesting comment.
I am glad you liked it. I did too. I had never heard of him. Your comment about a book or movie made me think, "Wouldn't it be interesting to have a movie about the "unsung" heroes of the Holocaust?" It would be like a montage of the different heroes, profiling each of them and then showing their actions, include this man, Irena Sendler of Poland, and Mefail and Njazi Biaku a Muslim family of Albania. I know there are others, but wouldn't that make for an interesting book/movie?
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. A new profiles in courage
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #17
27. I agree - that would be a great idea!
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
12. Thank you. I was told I am one-fourth Lithuanian Jew.
But I know nothing of what happened there. Only that our survivors ended up in Russia.

I do know that a righteous human being can be anyone, anywhere. Since honor matters so much in Japanese culture (wish it mattered a bit more here), I am so glad that the royals have let the world know that the family of this man (and his wife) have so much to be proud of.
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
13. Some historical notes in this article appear wrong...
The Germans didn't invade until spring of 1941. The Soviet Union annexed Lithuania during 1940, and it was during this year that the diplomat wrote the visas - prior to any advance of German troops. Of course, later German troops would have trapped any Jews in Lithuania who did not manage to evacuate along with retreating Red Army units. So the effects were the same - saving the lives of Jewish people.
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Jesterstear Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
15. The band Savatage did a great song about him...
Edited on Wed May-30-07 01:36 PM by Jesterstear
Entitled "Chance" from their CD "Handful of Rain," released in 1994:

He was standing all alone
Trying to find the words to say
When every prayer he ever prayed was gone
And the dreams he's never owned
Are still safely tucked away
Until tomorrow he just carries on
Carries on
Carries on
Carries on

See the devil on the streets at night
See him running in the pouring rain
See him grinning 'neath a twisted light
I'll be back again
See the people standing in a row
See them nodding like a field of grain
No one sees the sickle though
Coming 'cross the plain

And this he knows, if nothing more
That waiting in the dark like destiny
Are those who kiss the dogs of war
And there is no tomorrow, no tomorrow
Take a chance
Take a, take a chance yeah

See the devil he is so intense
See the devil go and change his name
What's the going price of innocence
It can't be the same
Is it dark when the moon is down
Is it dark with a single flame
If there's glass falling all around
I am not to blame

And this he knows, if nothing more
That waiting in the dark like destiny
Are those who kiss the dogs of war
And there is no tomorrow, no tomorrow
Take a chance
Take a, take a chance yeah
Take a chance
Take a, take a chance oh yeah

Burn the night away
Burn the night away
Burn the night...

Pictures at an exhibition
Played as he stood
In his trance
Staring at his inhibitions
All the time believing
That it now came down to nothing but this chance
Chance
Chance
Chance

I fear you
Your silence
Your blindness
See what you want to see
In darkness
One kindness
One moment
Tell me what you believe

I believe in nothing
Never really had to
In regards to your life
Rumors that are not true
Who's defending evil
Surely never I
Who would be the witness
Should you chance to die

Father can you hear me
This is not how it was meant to be
I am safe and so are you
As for the other's destiny

(simultaneously - add a new stanza each time
through and continue as a round)


Father can you hear me
This is not how it was meant to be
I am safe and so are you
As for the other's destiny

I believe that situations
All depend on circumstance

Look away
Look away

Pictures at an exhibition
Played as he stood
In his trace
Staring at his inhabitions
All the time believing
That it now came down to
Nothing but this chance

------------------------

The final section represents the conflict in Chiune's mind, and the culmination of all 4 parts being sung in a 6 part harmony is incredible.

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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
16. Who wrote this????? It was the SOVIETS who invaded in 1940
Edited on Wed May-30-07 01:58 PM by happyslug
For more on this diplomat see the following:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara

I notice someone else saw the problem in the Article, but I wanted some sort of confirmation that someone just did not get the years wrong (Thus I wrote my report while David__77 saw the same problem and pointed out that the Germans did not invade till 1941 and this incident occurred in 1940.

Thus the invasion was NOT a German Invasion but when the Red Army entered Lithuania in 1940. When the USSR invaded Chiune Sugihara gave out a huge number of visas to Jews In the town. These Jews then used those Visas to travel, via Russia, to Japan. The real question is did he do this because he suspected Hitler would Attack the USSR and thus saving these people from Hitler, so did he do it to save them from Stalin? Stalin hated Jews almost as much as Hitler, but Stalin never adopted a policy of genocide against the Jews (Stalin did have Jews Killed, but killing Jews was NOT the agenda, Stalin Killed anyone he throught was against him).

I hate to say it, Chiune Sugihara seems to have been more Anti-Soviet then Anti-Hitler by this action. The action saved these Jews from the Death Camps, but such death camps did not yet exist when he gave out these Visas (The Death Camps were only set up starting in early 1942). He should be treated as a hero he was do to what he did, but lets try to keep the History of his actions as accurate as we can.



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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. I have a feeling the editors and the reporter
Edited on Wed May-30-07 02:26 PM by depakid
are going to get some heat for this in Britain....

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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 02:16 PM
Response to Original message
19. Never heard of him before.
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Betsy Ross Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
21. Check the PBS store.
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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #21
29. Highly recommended.I watched it when it was on.
Excellent example of what a person dedicated to peace can do in even the worst of times.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
23. Given the lack of imperial visits to that shrine Koizumi visited yearly
the visit here certainly is a loud demonstration of where this Emperor's sympathies lay, and it's not with Japanese war criminals.

Since it'd be considered massively improper for him to speak about it, we can only judge by his voting with his feet. In this case I believe he and his Empress chose quite wisely...
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bixente Donating Member (464 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
24. Last year, I seen a documentary about this man
titled "Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness". Up until then I was unaware of him, as were those I mentioned him to. An amazing man so I'm delighted to learn of this.

Incidentally, if you can track down this doco, I'd certainly recommend it; it features interviews with his wife, his family and those he aided.
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. See post 21.
I think I am going to have to get this video. Thanks for recommending it.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 07:00 AM
Response to Original message
26. What a hero - I am glad he is finally recognized!
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psychopomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. I'll second that
I am moved first by the fact that a Japanese would have the strength of character to follow his heart even if it meant going against his own society. It is especially pleasing given the audience that Jewish conspiracy books have here in Japan. I am also happy to see that people know the right thing to do, no matter where they come from.
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