Was Japanese righteous diplomat Chiune Sugihara honoured in Montreal? #poland #holocaust #lithuania #yiddish


Mr Jose Levkovich of Montreal - Jerusalem (Holocaust guide) told me 2 years ago that about 50 years ago my father Rabbi Leib Baron zt"l asked him to make a reception at his home in Montreal for Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara. He told me it was well planned and survivors came from all over, including Rabbis Hershberg from Mexico and Kreiswirth from Antwerp as well as rabbis from New York, Chicago and Detroit and other places. He related to me the speeches of several of the participants, including Chazzan Rabbi Yankel Ederman of New York who organised the event and Sugihara himself. He asked me if we had any record and I replied that I was shocked as I had never heard about it. It would have been the first public recognition of its kind anywhere for Sugihara.


Since then I have spent much energy trying to find a reference, including Rabbi Ederman's archives at the USHMM, with no luck. Mr Levkovich's Daughter Sheila insists she remembers the event. Mr Jose is clear as a bell (as is evident on his many videos about the holocaust) and this whole affair is frustrating me as Sugihara's youngest son Nobuki, who was in Israel last week for dedication ceremonies, claims his father was never in Montreal! If anyone has any further info that could shed light on this I would greatly appreciate it. Mr Sugihara first met Religious Affairs Minister Zorach Warhaftig in 1969, bringing the first publicity of his whereabouts, so this reception would have taken place between late 1969 and late 1971 (for other reasons it couldn't have been later), but would not have been in the bitter cold period of Dec 20-March 20, almost certainly May-September 1970 or May-September 1971.


It occurred to me that the only periodical where this would have been recorded would have been the Yiddish Montreal daily Keneder Adler, as Yiddish was still the language of the elite in Montreal at the time, but there is no digital copy, only microfilm in just a few libraries. Does anyone know someone who could do a search?

Rabbi Elchonon Baron



Sugihara's son, Hiroki, was in Montreal in late 1998 to attend a memorial event.

Rabbi Leib Baron is quoted in the article.

David Kimmel
Montreal, Canada