Sugihara Week Continues in Kaunas

Events for the Sugihara Week being celebrated in Kaunas are scheduled from September 2 to 8.

Sugihara Week is a series of events to commemorate Japanese diplomat and Righteous Gentile Chiune Sugihara’s life and deed. From 1939 to 1940 Sugihara and Dutch consul Jan Zwartendijk saved over 6,000 Jewish lives from the Holocaust by issuing so-called visas for life.

“Consul Sugihara has become ever more known in the world and I am happy ever new ways to commemorate his heroism are appearing. It is significant that this wonderful initiative for a Sugihara Week came from Kaunas, which is the epicenter of the entire Sugihara story,” Toyoei Shigeeda, Japan’s ambassador to Lithuania, said.

Kaunas deputy mayor Simonas Kairys said: “Although Sugihara Week is being held for the first time, it has received major attention in both Lithuania and Japan. It’s incredible what a tie these two distant and different countries share. At the beginning of September many honored guests from Japan will arrive in Kaunas, including representatives of the Japanese Diet, Gifu Prefecture and the Japanese media.”

Sugihara Week began with the opening of an exhibit of illustrations of Japanese fairytales by Kotryna Šešelgytė at the Vincas Kudirka Public Library in Kaunas. Japanese ambassador Shigeeda, Kaunas municipality representatives and Sugihara Week organizers were in attendance. The exhibit will run until September 29. The library has more information on their facebook page here.

“Sugihara Week will unite the Lithuanian, Japanese and Jewish peoples anew in the Sugihara story. Artists from the three peoples will meet in joint creative projects and scholars will discuss the period in authentic, period locations in Kaunas,” Dr. Aurelijus Zykas of the Asian Studies Center of Vytautas Magnus University and one of the organizers of Sugihara Week events, said.

Program of events available in Lithuanian here.

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