Google Doodle is honoring the Japanese diplomat and war hero Chuine Sugihara who defied official orders by issuing transit visas to refugees so they could escape Nazi invasion of Poland territories via Japan.
Sugihara’s actions saved the lives of 6,000 European Jews who would otherwise have perished in the Holocaust during World War II.
His brave decision, which was taken on July 29, 1939, allowed families to escape Lithuania to reach the Dutch island of Curacao.
The humble humanitarian Chiune Sugihara became the vice-consul at the Japanese consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1939, just as the conflict was breaking out.
Sugihara had earlier tried to help Jewish refugees by making a plea for transit visas three times on their behalf to the Japanese Empire in Lithuania.
When they rejected, he spent much time soul-searching before deciding to help, all the while knowing this was likely at the sacrifice of his career.
Recalling what happened years later, the humble hero said, “There was no other way. I told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was a matter of humanity. I did not care if I lost my job.”
In total, thousands of Polish and Lithuanian Jews managed to arrive safely in Japan thanks to Mr. Sugihara’s illegal visas.
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