Important Sugihara Passport Discovered

Recently I posted an article about “Diplomats who saved Jews”. Today I can report and display a document issued by one of the *”Righteous Among The Nations”. (*an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis.)

Sugihara

What you see here is a passport of Czechoslovakia issued to Egon Hertzka in 1936. On the first view nothing special on this passport but look at page 11 and you will see a Japanese visa issued by the Vice-Consul of Japan in Kaunas / Lithuania – Chiune Sugihara. He was a diplomat who saved thousands of Jews by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees by risking his career and his family’s lives. In 1985, Israel honored him as Righteous Among the Nations for his actions.

Sugihara worked more than sixteen hours a day to issue 2,139 handwritten visas. He distributed them regardless of whether or not the refugees had the necessary supporting documents. In early September 1940, the Soviet authorities forced him to close the consulate in Kovno. As he and his family prepared to leave Kovno for Berlin, Sugihara continued to issue visas on the train platform. He handed out more once he was on board.

Upon his return to Japan, Sugihara was forced to resign from the Foreign Service. The official reason for his dismissal was the downsizing of the diplomatic corps, but the real reason was likely the disobedience he exhibited in helping the Jews of Kovno. None of the refugees ever made it to Curaçao. From Japan, most went to Shanghai, China, and others to the United States, Canada, and Palestine.

Since entire families were often included in a single visa, thousands of Jews survived due to the efforts of Chiune Sugihara, who passed away in 1986.

Sugihara_visa

This passport with his visa is an important document for the Holocaust and is most rare to find!

3 comments for “Important Sugihara Passport Discovered

  1. oscar stern
    5 August, 2015 at 21:54

    Have you heard about a hunreds of visas that were emited after Sugihara was capted by Hirohito and taken to prisson under the same name? It was because the students of the Mir Ieshiba could duplicate (by hand writting) the visas but they didn´t know how to write in japanist theire real names… so they copy the last visa that emited Sugihara… The miracle was that japanist border authorities didn´t note de repetition of the name in a hunred of Visas.

    • 10 August, 2015 at 09:33

      Hi Oscar, thanks for your input. I never heard about this. Can you link to some sources? How do you know about it? Cheers Tom

  2. Eli
    29 February, 2012 at 08:41

    Mr. Topol,
    Thank you very much for the response. You truly have an impressive and informative website. It is not surprising that so many influential individuals seek you out for help and expertise…
    …perhaps you could kindly put a request for more specific important documents on your website?

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