【NPO 杉原千畝命のビザ】NPO Chiune Sugihara. Visas For Life

【NPO 杉原千畝命のビザ】NPO Chiune Sugihara. Visas For Life

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。
Chiune Sugihara, Japanese consul in Kaunas, Lithuania at the outbreak of World War II, acted in defiance of his own government to issue life-saving Japanese transit visas for Jewish refugees fleeing annihilation by the Nazis. These have been given the name “Visas for Life”.

Vast waves of Polish refugees had escaped to neighboring Lithuania following the German invasion of their country on September 1, 1939 and were urgently seeking a way out of Europe, but the Soviet takeover of Lithuania and related closure of embassies and consulates made the task nearly impossible. In desperation, they approached Sugihara in hopes of obtaining transit visas through Japan as their only means of escape. Moved by their plight, Sugihara sought permission from his superiors for mass issuance of visas but was firmly rebuffed. The diplomat, struggling with his own conscience, “ultimately reached the conclusion that humanity and compassion come first.” He resolved to save the refugees and, at risk to his own career and future, issued thousands of visas that gave these people new lives.

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