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conspiracy of kindness
January 4, 2014 9:12 AM   Subscribe

A Japanese Holocaust rescuer, it is estimated that Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania in WWII, facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. The profoundly moving story is now on YouTube: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6.

Anne Akabori, author of "The Gift Of Life" speaks in 2006 about her book, which focuses on WWII Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara.

On YT: 杉原千畝:A Japanese Holocaust Rescuer.

Timeline of Chiune Sugihara's life.

Bonus cross-cultural link. Japanese man who became a rabbi.

Sugihara/Sugiwara on languagehat's blog.
posted by nickyskye (9 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just found a link to the whole video.
posted by nickyskye at 9:14 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Great links. Sugihara is one of my heroes, a reminder that even in the face of ultimate evil and official indifference to same, one person can make a difference.

I haven't seen the video yet, but does it also mention Sugihara's co-conspirators, like Dutch consul Jan Zwartendijk, who provided exit visas for Curaçao to some 2400 Dutch and other Jews in Lithuania?
posted by MartinWisse at 10:01 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


I learned about Chiune Sugihara from Hark a Vagrant. Thanks webcomics!
posted by clockworkjoe at 10:57 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


One of my personal heroes and inspirations - to do the right thing, in spite of strong social pressure to turn a blind eye and no punishment for doing so. True courage and empathy.

Interesting thing is that Sugihara had already done this kind of thing before - when he protested Japan's actions in Manchuria. It's even more amazing when you consider how Japanese culture (especially then) regards ummm, I can't find the way to express it properly but individualistic, non-communal, non-solidarity actions.
posted by smoke at 1:04 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


So The Man in the High Castle, it was a documentary?
posted by localroger at 2:26 PM on January 4


Hugh O'Flaherty Another one who isn't recognized very often. Funny sidenote: after the Nazis put a price on his head he would goosestep up and down the demarcation line between the Vatican/Nazi territory just to taunt them :)
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 4:08 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


The Fugu Plan is an enthralling account of the events, what he was able to give the refugees was a "transit visa" through Japan, which was just enough to finagle their way past other borders. Now when they got to the port in Japan they found there was essentially no where else in the world to go and were stuck.

"Stuck" being a trivialization of unbelievable international convolutions and subtleties of the periods ideas and myths about cultures. The book pulls together details that were hidden that no one wanted to discuss or remember, no one is a simple hero and the motivations are really interesting. Not to in any way reduce the heroic actions of one diplomat.
posted by sammyo at 4:44 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Sugihara himself never made a big deal out of what he'd done. If I remember the details correctly (I interviewed his wife and son in the mid-'90s for a Reader's Digest story) he tried various jobs after the war once the Foreign Ministry decided he wasn't their kind of diplomat. I believe lightbulb salesman was one. Only after he died and grateful Jews crowded the street for his funeral did neighbours even realize they'd been living next to a true hero.
posted by ecourbanist at 5:34 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


So The Man in the High Castle, it was a documentary?

I don't recall anything similar to this in The Man in the High Castle.
posted by popaopee at 8:08 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


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