Japan Bails Out Museum in Lithuania Commemorating Chiune Sugihara #lithuania #holocaust

Jan Meisels Allen



Sugihara House- Lithuania                                  Chiune Sugihara


Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat –vice-counsel—stationed in Lithuania at the beginning of World War ll and is credited with saving almost 6,000 Jews—mainly from Poland-- by issuing them visas without his government’s approval.  A museum in Kaunas, has been dedicated in his memory.  The museum is housed in the building that once served as the consulate.


Due to the pandemic, ticket sales have dropped dramatically, the major source of revenue for the museum.  As a result people from Gifu Prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshu, where Sugihara was born, raised some 30,000 euros (about $35,600) to help the museum survive the pandemic.  “We expect to raise another 40,000 [euros] in the autumn,” Japanese Ambassador Shiro Yamasaki said.


Sugihara was reassigned elsewhere in Europe, and when he returned to Japan in 1947, he was fired. He died in 1986.


Created in 1999, the museum honoring his courageous actions exhibits the life and work of Sugihara, The villa was decorated to recreate what it looked like during his time serving there. The names of Jews to whom he is known to have granted visas also are displayed.


The government in Lithuania, the southernmost Baltic country that once was the home to a large Jewish community, has declared 2020 as “the year of Chiune Sugihara.”


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Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


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