Mr. Sugihara- Conspiracy of Kindness- MUST WATCH!!!
Dear friends around the world,
I am not commenting on the war, the political issues or the fighting. I am simply sharing this beautiful story of Mr. Chiune Sugihara who was just one person who had compassion for others. His compassion didn’t stay intellectual or just at dinner conversations. But he put it into action. Mr. Sugihara did what he did for the sake of humanity as he could not take the untold suffering in front of his eyes daily. It was a great risk to himself and his family. His wife told him she will stand by him even if he ends up with nothing. His family eventually suffered for what he did. He received no financial gain and in the early years not any recognition. The Japanese government did not have a clear policy on the Jews and the refugees escaping death. But the foreign Ministry of Japan was against bringing the refugees into Japan although nothing was firmly decided as Japan was in alliance with Germany and Italy. It was Germany exterminating the Jewish people. He decided to defy his government and issue visas for the Jews in Lithuania to help them escape. From Lithuania with Japanese visas, were able to take the trans-Siberian railway across Russia to the Eastern front and there board a ship to arrive to safety in Kobe, Japan. In Japan the Jewish refugees recounted how kind the Japanese public was to them and treated them with dignity. From Kobe, the Jews were able to eventually resettle in North America, South America and even Shanghai. The 6,000 and more Jews he saved said clearly, if it was not for Mr. Sugihara’s defiance of his government to issue visas for the escape, they would have been butchered. Now nearly seven decades later, the descendants of these 6,000 number into 40,000 people happily living their lives in peace today. I am truly humbled from the depths of my heart with profound admiration for this man and he is one of my heroes. His wife and he himself are really people who represent humanity at their best. Mr. and Mrs. Sugihara gained no financial benefits for this action and in fact suffered for it greatly later in life. He showed the highest human courage and valor.
Mr. Sugihara said just before he passed away:
“I could not help but sympathize with their tearful entreaties. There were elderly people and women amongst the refugees. At the time the Japanese government did not have a consistent policy regarding such refugees. I thought it hopeless to try to engage them. So I decided to act without waiting for their reply. I knew that someone would eventually make a complaint. However I decided myself this was the correct thing to do. What is wrong with trying to save the lives of many people? I think what I did was natural as a human being.”
This is indeed one of the most touching documentaries I HAVE EVER SEEN. It is about how a person used his connection, power and office to save the lives of thousands!! Please take the time to watch this incredible video. Learn about this brave and kind man. Share this with your children and friends. It is very good to expose young people to these types of stories. It helps to build their character, thinking and form their minds to be the best they can. This story transcends race, culture, religion, continents, space and time. I hope one day a top budget movie will be made of this. We need more of this on the screens to offset all the violence, pain, degeneration and horror in movies these days. For now please watch the beautiful documentary I’ve included in this blog post.
Mayor of Netanya, Israel
“In our Jewish tradition, there are two types of charity, one is ordinary charity and the other is ‘true charity’. Mr. Sugihara did what is called ‘true charity’. True charity is for people he did not know, people of different religions, for those who do not belong to his country, without any connections at all and whom he had never met. Sugihara did this contrary to his own safety. This is the highest act that can be achieved by mankind. He could not look away from the fate of Jewish persecution by Nazi Germany. With the help of his wife, he saved thousands of lives. Eventually history recognized his actions. Later he was honored with the title ‘Righteous Among Nations’ by the efforts of the Jews he saved. However small that symbol, it is the expression of his noblest deed. We all thank him for his highest act.”
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/v204964847qcmWnhG.flv
An excellent documentary reproduced here for strictly educational purposes. “A Conspiracy of Kindness” is one of the most inspirational documentaries I have ever seen. I highly recommend you to take the time to watch and share.
Born January 1, 1900, in rural Japan, Chiune Sugihara lived during a period of extraordinary change in his home country. He was a diplomat by profession, and his memory has endured primarily thanks to his actions during a single month of his life in 1940, while serving as Japan’s consul in Kaunas, Lithuania. As World War II escalated in Europe, Sugihara wrote visas, unauthorized by his foreign ministry, permitting Jewish refugees to escape through Japan, even though they did not meet the Japanese government’s requirement for entry, and in some cases, did not even hold passports at all. This decision, which some believe may have cost him his career, ultimately meant a safe escape for thousands of Jews who otherwise would likely have been captured by the Nazis.
Sugihara grew up at a time when Japan was beginning to assert itself as a global power. In his youth, he was exposed to competing cultural influences: his mother came from a long line of samurai, whose traditions stressed loyalty to family and country above all else; yet there was also the lure of more cosmopolitan opportunities, as Japan looked outward, colonizing parts of China and Korea.
An excellent student with an independent streak, Sugihara chose to pursue his own dream of studying English literature, entering the progressive Waseda University in Tokyo instead of following his father’s wish that he become a doctor. He worked odd jobs to pay his way.
Soon after starting university, Sugihara won a scholarship from the Japanese foreign service to study Russian in Harbin, China. Then the capital of Manchuria, Harbin was an international city primarily controlled by Japan. While in Harbin, Sugihara married a Russian woman — whom he later divorced.
Manchuria was also the site of Sugihara’s first assignments after finishing his diplomatic training. As deputy consul, he negotiated with the Soviet Union to win control of the Manchurian Railroad at a favorable price for Japan. However, Japan’s cruel treatment of the Chinese in its quest for dominance was more than Sugihara could stomach. He resigned from his post in 1934 and returned to Tokyo to retrain for assignments in Europe. While there, he met and married Yukiko Kikuchi.
As Nazi and Russian troops poured into Poland in the fall of 1939, Sugihara was appointed consul general to Lithuania and moved there with Yukiko and their young children. While his official assignment was to set up a small consulate in the capital city of Kaunas, his primary responsibility was to monitor Soviet and German troop movements near the border with Russia.
During his time in Lithuania, the Sugiharas quickly became acquainted with many of the local residents, including some Jewish families, who shared with him their fears of the growing Nazi menace. These friendships may have formed at least part of what inspired Sugihara to help the refugees when Nazi troops closed in on Lithuania.
Although his own government would not officially accept such a large number of refugees, Sugihara defied protocol and wrote scores of visas every day throughout August 1940, giving thousands of desperate refugees a chance to escape a terrible fate.
Later that fall, under intense pressure from the Soviet regime, which had annexed Lithuania in June, Sugihara was forced to close the consulate. After traveling to Berlin, he was reassigned to several Japanese consulates throughout Nazi-occupied Europe through the end of the war. Sugihara was serving in Bucharest at the time of Germany’s surrender in 1945, and when the Soviets took control of Romania, he and his family were detained there for over a year in an internment camp. They were released in 1946, but detained again for months in Vladivostok on their journey back to Japan.
Upon arriving back in Tokyo in 1947, Sugihara was pressured to resign from the foreign ministry. He believed that the dismissal was a direct result of his decision to issue the unauthorized visas in 1940, though the official reason was downsizing of the diplomatic corps during Japan’s post-war occupation by the United States.
Sugihara spent the latter half of his life in relative obscurity. At times finding it difficult even to provide for his family, he worked odd jobs as a translator and interpreter, and for many years as a manager with an export company in Moscow. Sugihara never spoke of his actions in Lithuania, never actually knowing, in fact, whether the risk had done any good. His humanitarian deed went almost entirely unheralded until the late 1960s, when he was located by a man he had helped to save.
In 1985, Israel officially recognized Sugihara for his actions with an award ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, where he was declared “Righteous Among Nations” and a tree was planted there in his honor. Since his death in 1986, Sugihara has been further memorialized in his hometown of Yaotsu, Japan, as well as Kaunas (now Kovnos), Lithuania.
In 2000, Japan officially celebrated the centenary of Chiune Sugihara’s birth.
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