Photo: Rolan Novitsky
A special ceremony to honor WWII Japanese diplomat in Lithuania Chiune Sugihara (杉原 千畝 “Sempo”) was held in Jerusalem on Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27.
A memorial plaque to Righteous Gentile Sugihara was unveiled at the Chamber of the Holocaust or Martef haShoah on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
Sugihara was Japan’s vice-consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, from March, 1939, to August, 1940, during which time he issued transit visas to Lithuanian and Polish Jews fleeing the approaching scourge of Nazi Germany, saving more than 6,000 lives. In 1985 the Yad Vashem Holocaust authority in Israel awarded him the title of Righteous among the Nations. A Russian Orthodox believer, Sugihara is also honored by that church and is a saint in the Japanese Orthodox Church. Sugihara passed away in 1986.
At the ceremony on Mount Zion the song Way of the Samurai by Natella Botyanskaya dedicated to Sugihara’s memory was performed to the audience of relatives of Jews who survived because of him, Japanese embassy staff and organizers including representatives of Limmud FSU, the Claims Conference and March of the Living.