Major Holocaust Exhibit in Japan on Righteous Gentile Chiune Sugihara


A major Holocaust exhibition is being held to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater in the Tokyo district of Ikebukuro from October 8 to 13. “The Courage To Remember: The Holocaust 1939-1945 — The Bravery of Anne Frank and Chiune Sugihara” was jointly organized by the Soka University and the Simon Wiesenthal Center and is based on the SWC’s educational exhibit “The Courage to Remember.” The new version of the exhibit focuses on Japanese diplomat and hero Chiune Sugihara as well as on the life of Anne Frank. It provides a compelling historical account of the Nazis’ murderous campaign in which 6 million Jews and other victims of the Nazis were targeted and killed between 1939 and 1945, according to organizers, and uses documents, photographs, items which belonged to Holocaust victims and other rare objects to tell the story.

“We have to remember the Holocaust and the suffering of millions of innocent people, to which the diary of Anne Frank testifies,” Lithuanian ambassador to Japan Egidijus Meilūnas said at the opening October 8. “We cannot change the past, but we must learn from it. The courage of noble figures such as Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara, honorary Dutch consul Jan Zwartendijk and other rescuers of Jews set an inexhaustible example of humanity to future generations as well,” he continued.

Chiune Sugihara (1900–1986) was a Japanese diplomat who served as vice-consul in Lithuania during the early years of World War II. In 1940, he helped Jewish refugees desperately trying to flee persecution by the Nazis by issuing as many as 6,000 transit visas so that they could travel to Japan, though many lacked an entry visas for a third country. Honorary Dutch consul in Lithuania Jan Zwartendijk provided many of the Jews with Sugihara transit visas a final destination in the form of permission to land at the Dutch Caribbean possession the island of Curaçao, which didn’t actually require an entry visa of foreigners at that time.

At a February 3 meeting in Tokyo to launch preparation for the exhibition, Soka University President Yoshihisa Baba stated that the exhibition provides an important opportunity for human rights education, saying, “I feel today’s youth can learn crucial lessons from the tragic history of the Nazi Holocaust. Now is the time to promote tolerance education in Japan and throughout the Asia Pacific region.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, thanked embassy representatives for their support and emphasized that the recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz has brought the need to remember the horrors of the Holocaust back to public attention.

A previous version of the exhibition focusing on The Holocaust and the life of Anne Frank was shown from 1994 to 2007 throughout Japan and seen by more than two million people.

Japanese state bodies and Japanese NGOs as well as the embassies of the European Union, Lithuania, Poland, Israel, France, the Netherlands, the United States and Germany, the United Nations Information Center and the Soka Gakkai Peace Committee contributed to the exhibition jointly organized by Soka University and the SWC. The exhibition is scheduled to be shown in Hiroshima and other cities in Japan beginning in 2016.

For further information, contact:

The Courage To Remember Exhibition Steering Committee
twittter: @soka_univ