Sugihara Week celebrations in Kaunas drew a large number of guests from Japan, including his eldest son Hiroki’s widow Michi Sugihara and the only surviving son Nobuki Sugihara.
Mr. Sugihara laid a wreath and observed a minute of silence for the Jews murdered in Garliava, a suburb of Kaunas. The scion of the Sugihara legacy said his father inculcated in him an interest in history and taught him respect for those who didn’t escape.
KJC chairman Gercas Žakas, Nobuki Sugihara and his wife Esin Ayirtman-Sugihara
“It’s important to visit here, because my father granted many visas to Jews from Poland and Lithuania so they could flee to Japan, and from there go to America or Israel. Most of the people who stayed were brutally murdered. We must remember those people. Lithuania is rather far away from Lithuania and we know very little about this country, but when many Jews arrived they told us much about it. So I wanted to see for myself what happened here and how people could be murdered simply because they were Jewish. I wanted to pay them respect and know the history of Jews and Lithuanians,” Mr. Sugihara said at the memorial site.
The week-long celebrations of Sugihara concluded in Kaunas with a performance by the Daigengumi Japanese drum band. Mr. Sugihara spoke again movingly at the closing ceremony at the Kaunas Town Hall reception held by the mayor of Kaunas. The final word was had by the group of volunteer Japanese painters who came to restore Sugihara House who delivered a very special greeting and wish to the city of Kaunas based on Japanese tradition. The final ceremony concluded in a large group portrait of participants, organizers, supporters and honored guests.
Full story in Lithuanian here.