Square in Jerusalem dedicated to Japanese diplomat who helped Jews – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Square in Jerusalem dedicated to Japanese diplomat who helped Jews

Written by on October 12, 2021

A ceremony was held on Monday in Jerusalem to name a square in honor of late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who issued visas to help Jews escape from Nazi persecution during World War II.

A sign that reads “Chiune Sugihara Sq.” was unveiled in the square in southwestern Jerusalem at a ceremony that was attended by Mayor Moshe Lion, Koichi Mizushima, Japan’s ambassador to Israel, as well as some of those who were saved by Sugihara and their descendants.

Nobuki Sugihara (R), a son of wartime Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, credited with helping Jewish refugees escape Nazi persecution by issuing transit visas, poses at “Chiune Sugihara Square” in Jerusalem on Oct. 11, 2021. (Kyodo)

Sugihara, who is often dubbed as “Japan’s Schindler,” after Oskar Schindler, the German who provided Jews with a safe haven, provided transit visas for more than 2,000 Jewish refugees in 1940, while serving as acting consul in Kaunas, Lithuania despite violating orders from his superior.

While there are several locations commemorating Sugihara in Israel, the square is the first place in Jerusalem that is dedicated to him.

His son Nobuki said in a speech at the ceremony that it is “most important” that the survivors’ memories are passed on to their descendants.

A 94-year-old attendee, who fled the Nazis using a visa from the Japanese, thanked Sugihara, saying he had understood the sufferings and difficulties faced by the Jews and acted upon it.

Related coverage:

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Bread sold to mark 80th anniv. of visas that helped Jews flee Nazis

Kin of Jewish refugee who fled Nazis thank Japan over visa issuance

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