1939年9月1日、ドイツ軍のポーランド侵攻により、多くのユダヤ人たちは隣国リトアニアへ逃げ込みました。しかし、ソ連によるリトアニア併合が確実となり、彼らには日本通過ビザを得て、第三国へ逃げるという方法しか残されていませんでした。 1940年7月１８日、ビザを求めたユダヤ人難民が領事館へ押し寄せたため、杉原は本国へビザ発給を打診しますが、回答は「ＮＯ！」でした。しかし、彼は悩み苦しんだ末、命令に反してユダヤ人難民にビザを書き始めました。それは、人道・博愛精神第一という大きな決断でした。 -------
What we call 'Visas for Life' is the visas granted by Mr. Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania, to save many Jewish people who were being persecuted by the Nazis. On September 1st in 1939, lots of Jewish people got away into the neighboring country, Lithuania, due to the invasion by the German army into Poland. However, when Lithuania merged with the Soviet Union, the only way left for Jewish people to survive was to get away to third countries through Japan. On July 18th in 1940, the Japanese consulate was surrounded by a crowd of Jewish people asking for visas, and Chiune asked the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to permit him to grant the visas for Jewish people who were rushing to leave. However, the answer from the government was 'NO'. After considering the situation overnight, Chiune decided to issue visas by himself against the Ministry's wishes. It was a big decision made by Chiune based on the true humanitarian action.