Tree Planted in Israel for "Visas for Life" Diplomat Sugihara


Beit Shemesh, Israel, May 2 (Jiji Press)--A ceremony to newly plant a tree in honor of the late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), who saved the lives of a number of Jewish people during World War II, was held at a junior and senior high school in Beit Shemesh, central Israel, on Thursday.

The event was organized by teachers of the school who were shocked to learn the news in February that pine and other trees planted near Beit Shemesh in 1985 to commemorate Sugihara's achievement have been removed and a related stone monument has gone missing after work to prepare land for housing construction about 15 years ago.

Sugihara issued transit visas to thousands of Jewish people to help them escape the Nazi persecution during the war when he was vice consul in Lithuania. The visas later came to be known as "visas for life."

Thursday marked a special day for Israelis to pray for the victims of the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. People offered silent prayers as a siren was sounded across Israel shortly past 10 a.m. (7 a.m. GMT).

Soon after that, an oak tree was planted in the presence of students of the school. A new monument was also installed. Participants in the ceremony included Yo Osumi, minister at the Japanese embassy in Israel.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press