One More Great Man In The World: Chiune Sugihara

One of the most dangerous times in the World was World War II and some people did bad things and some did good . Chiune Sugihara is one of them who did good things. He saved 2,132 Lithuanian Jewish people from the Nazis by giving visas at the time of World War II. It was risky for his job and his life, but he didn't care about his life, he cared about other people's lives.

We can compare Sugihara's story with other rescuers' stories including Oscar Schindler, Hannah Senesh, Varian Fry, and the whole Danish government. But I think as a good human being Sugihara was greater than Oscar Schindler. Before Sugihara we need to know about Oscar Schindler.

Oscar Schindler :

In 1939 the German Army forces defeated the Polish Army in two weeks. Jews were ordered to register all in two weeks. Jews were ordered to move all family members and relocate to major cities. More than 10,000 Jews from the countryside arrived in Krakow daily.

The Judenrat

The Jewish council comprised of 24 elected Jews were personally responsible for carrying out the orders of the regime in Krakow, such as drawing up lists for work details, food and housing. They had to move a place to lodge complaints.

All Jewish people from Krakow and surrounding areas were forced from their homes and required to crowd into an area of only sixteen square blocks.

March 20, 1941 was the deadline for entering the Ghetto.

At this time Jewish people couldn't work and they couldn't use their money. They were going to die. This time one clever Germany businessman came to them to take opportunity from their weakness. His name was Oscar Schindler. He went to a Jewish accountant whose name was Itzak Stern. He was a pots and pan factory's accountant and that factory belonged to a Jewish, so it was closed. Schindler had a plan to make money by using this factory, those Jewish people who were in trouble, and Stern. He told his plan to Stern.

Schindler's Plan :

Schindler did not have money to open the factory, so he asked Stern to help him to get the money because Stern knew which Jewish people had money, but they couldn't use and they hid it at that time. Schindler said to Stern that if those people gave him money, he could use them. He had no problem to use them and he would give those Jewish people pans and pots so they could sell them in the black market and could get what they needed at that time like food, clothes , money, etc. He told Stern that only Jewish people will work in his factory because they were cheap workers at that time. For his safety he planned to sell those pots and pans to German soldiers. He was making money this way, but it wasn't a good plan for others. He wasn't a Hero at this time.

Later when German soldiers were killing Jewish people, the people that [Jewish] were working in Schindler's factory were safe. They thought that factory was a haven for them. So a Jewish woman came to Schindler and requested him to save her parent's from the camp. Schindler got angry with her because it was risky for him. But he rescued her parents. We guess at this time he realized that he could rescue those Jewish people who were working in his factory.

All the money he earned by using Jewish people he spent to rescue those Jewish people. He gave bribes to the Nazi leaders to rescue them. At this time he became a hero for us.

Schindler's ending dialogs :

At the end of the war Schindler accused himself saying this-----

" I am a member of the Nazi party. I am a munitions manufacturer. I am a profiteer of slave labor. I am a criminal. At midnight you ( Jewish people who were working in his factory) will be free and I will be hunted. I have to flee. Forgive me. I know you ( Nazis soldiers ) got the order to kill these people. This is your opportunity. You can do it or you can return to your family as men instead of murderers ( They didn't kill, they went away ). I could have got more. If I made more money, I threw away so much. I didn't do enough. This car, ten more people. This golden button, two more people. I could have gotten one more person. " --- and he started crying.

Schindler saved 1,100 Jewish people and that's why he became a hero and a good human being in the World.

Chiune Sugihara :

One morning more than half a century ago, A crowd had gathered at the front gates of a consulate. The consulate official was Chiune Sugihara . He was a Japanese Diplomat in Kauna ( now Kovno ), Lithuania. This time his son Hiroki Sugihara asked his father who the people were and what did they want. His father told him they were Jews from Poland, Who needed visas to escape the Nazis. The refugees were asking the Japanese diplomat for help. His father explained that if the refugees didn't get visas, they might get killed. "What about the children?" the boy asked " Would they die too?'' "Maybe," his father answered. The boy pleaded with his father to help. Chiune Sugihara promised he would try.

Chiune was such a good man. Hillel Levine ( The author of the search of Sugihara ) asked Chiune first wife,- "Did Sugihara have any special Jewish friends in Harbin?" His wife said, "He was very kind to people, animals, Jews and not Jews," the old lady recalled fondly . "He was friends with everyone." She told us about herself that " I didn't want any children." I regret it. I told him to marry someone and have children.' She called him Sergei Pavelovich, Klaudia recalled, and he called her, by an odd concidence, Yukiko. After their divorce, Sugihara continued to support her and various nieces and nephews. By his former wife's report , Sugihara was a " truly good man."

His son tells us, " My father was a quiet person, but inside, he had courageous spirit. I think he represented decency....what every human being should have."

Because of this we can say he was such a good human being. That's why he decided to rescue those Jews by giving visas. So he asked the Lithuanian government for permission to write visas, but they denied him the right. Actually not only Lithuanian government but almost every civilized country closed it's door to Jewish refuges. But our hero Chiune Sugihara went with his Beliefs and helped to save the Jews anyway.

Levine tells us that Chiune was a spy doing his job. His son tells us that his father had been sent to Lithuania to gather information about Russian and German military movements in the area. Although the Japanese government refused to grant visas to the Jews, Chiune Sugihara disobeyed his country's ruling. For days, he wrote visas so the refugees could escape. Levine tells us in her articles that, " In Chiune 's office upstairs the consul was busy with a rubber stamp, bearing the sixteen- petaled chrysanthemum crest of his emperor, and a fountain pen, writing out visas in neat vertical lines of Sino- Japanese characters, pausing neither to eat nor to ask questions. He writes, in less than five minutes each, visas to distant, exotic destinations, which none of the recipients ever intend to see. Many of his visas still exist, treasured for over a half- century because the recipients owe their lives to them. In a mixture of stiff diplomatic English, French and Japanese, they read:

Transit Visa

Seen for the journey through

Japan' to Surinam, Curacao and

Other Netherlands Colonies.

1940 Vlll

Chiune Sugihara,

Consul du Japan Kaunas.

As consul Sugihara works steadily through piles of Passports, his wife, Yukiko, who is expecting a third child, tends their two small sons on the floor above. At night she massaged her husband's arm for writer's cramp. In the top floor apartment the tenant, a friendly Lithuanian woman, non-Jewish, prepares food for the refugees, look after their children while they apply for visas, and lets them use her bathroom.

Why He Is Hero and Better than Schindler:

Unlike Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Hungry whose purpose was to save Jews, Sugihara had no apparent reason to rescue Jews. He didn't take any single penny for writing those visas. Instead, he was violating the Japanese government. Chiune knew that if he signed all these visas, he would have to be prepared to lose his Foreign Ministry job. He also realized than in acting against his own government he would lose all chance of advancement or be dismissed for violating public service regulations of the civil authorities.

From the beginning he knew about his future troubles, but he didn't do it for money. He did it for humanity because he was such a good human being. Sugihara trusted his own values, not his government 's ruling. He instead did what he thought was right-writing out thousand of visas-because he had courageous spirit. He refused to watch other human beings being killed like animals. There is no obvious reason for Chiune writing visas. He got no money out of writing them, and knew that his job and life was in danger. But he refused to let the Nazis commit genocide. Sugihara even wrote visas while his train was departing from Kovno and he was going back to Japan. He wanted to write as many visas as he could.

We don't know exactly how many lives he saved. Somebody said about 2,000, Levine said 2,132 and his son said 6,000 people he saved by giving those visas.

From the beginning he had no plan to make money by giving visas. He wanted to save Jews anyway, but Schindler had planed to make money then he changed his mind that's why Chiune is greater than Schindler. Schindler was unfaithful to his wife. He had sexual relationship with other women in his wife's absence, but Chiune was a great husband for his two wives. But both men saved human's life that's why both of them are our heros.

We should remember them so if another Holocaust occurs, there will be more lives saved and from the beginning we can follow Chiune so we will not make any mistakes like Schindler. From the beginning we will not make plan like Schindler.

Sugihara is the hero without any fault, but Schindler is the hero with a fault. But both of them are great men at last. Always be a good human being than be a hero.

We should remember these rescuers' lives as inspiration through life, guiding us through the tough times-- whether they are our tough times or someone else's.


After the war, the Sugihara spent 18 months in a Russian internment camp. When they returned to Japan, he was forced to resign from the Japanese Foreign Ministry. For an unknown reason, after the Holocaust Chiune Sugihara changed his name to Sempo Sugihara. Experts think that this was because he wanted to conceal his identity from Japanese government since he defied their orders. Sugihara's story first came to light in the early 1990's because Japan considered Sugihara's heroism a war crime. His story was then overshadowed by the story of Oscar Schindler, after Spielberg's film "Schindler's List'' came out.

Levine, the preliminary planner of the Holocaust museum in Washington, had this in mind when he set out on his search for Sugihara, whom he never met. Perhaps, he imagined, there might have been a "conspiracy of goodness," a case of bending the rules in kindness to oppose the '' desk murderers" of that horrific undertaking. In this search, Levine confesses himself baffled. Oscar Schindler began his celebrated list in order to keep his factory going, which is at least an intelligible motive. Levine could find nothing to explain what Sugihara did. He did not, I believe, look in the right place; but he has nevertheless uncovered a strange story, and wrestled mightily to understand the blackest crime of our criminal times.

The people he had saved in Lithuanian never stopped looking for Sugihara. They found him in 1968. "That was the only comfort he received after the war," his son says. " He didn't know whether the people survived."

Sugihara's compassion was foretold by his name. In Japanese Chiune means roughly "1,000 new lives." In 1985, the Israeli government awarded him the title, "Righteous Among the Nations," its highest humanitarian award.

Chiune Sugihara died on July 31, 1986.

At the end of the movie "Schindler's List," Schindler's Jews gave him a ring. They (Jews) wrote Hebrew on the ring. That's meaning was-

"Whoever saves one life.

Saves the World Entire."

[ From Talmud]

For every hero like these people we can say this, they were really good human beings. We have to remember them, because we are human beings too.

Bibliography :

1. The Seattle Times- Today's Top Stories

Local News

Wednesday, Oct.8, 1997

Website: The Seattle Times, Today's top man's stand against holocaust < altsugi_100897.html>

2. Website: <Http://>

3. Murray Sayle, "Sugihara's list." The New York Review of Books,

December 4, 1997, 43-46.

4. The Movie " Schindler's List" By Steven Spielberg.