Museum of "Visas for Life" Diplomat to Open in Tokyo

Society Culture History

Tokyo, March 18 (Jiji Press)--A museum of Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), the Japanese diplomat who issued transit visas to thousands of Jewish people during World War II to help them escape from Nazi persecution, is set to open in the Yaesu district in Tokyo.

Items to be shown at Chiune Sugihara Sempo Museum will include one of the "visas for life," as well as manuscripts written by Sugihara. The museum will be opened to the public from Saturday, following an opening ceremony on Tuesday.

The visa in question was issued by Sugihara to the late Nathan Bluman on Aug. 9, 1940, allowing the Jewish Pole to escape to Canada by way of Japan.

Among the manuscripts to be exhibited will be a note, believed to have been written around summer 1978. It describes how Sugihara felt when he decided to issue transit visas to Jewish people in defiance of a Japanese Foreign Ministry order not to do so.

"After struggle and anguish, I finally came to conclude that the most important thing is humanitarianism," the note says.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press