Event- Excursion: “The Role of Japanese Diplomat Chiune Sugihara in Saving Jews Life“

On 27 September 2023, the Lithuanian Ambassadors’ Club organised an event “The Role of Japanese Diplomat Chiune Sugihara in Saving Jews Life”. The event took place in Kaunas, at the premises of the Sugihara Foundation “Diplomats for Life”.

Prof. Egidijus Aleksandravičius, PhD, of Vytautas Magnus University, spoke compellingly and powerfully about how the Japanese Imperial Vice-Consul, Mr Ch. Sugihara helped about 6000 Jews to escape from the Soviet invasion in Lithuania, Western Belarus, Ukraine and the subsequent Holocaust by issuing them Japanese transit visas in 1939-1940. The professor also mentioned the vital role of Jan Zwartendijk, Honorary Consul of the Netherlands and representative of the Philips company in Kaunas, who issued 2 345 visas to Jewish refugees to the then Dutch colony, the island of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea. Prof. Aleksandravičius’ story was particularly fascinating in revealing the connections between the history of the rescue of Jewish refugees in Kaunas and other geopolitical processes taking place in the world at that time.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Prof. Egidijus Aleksandravičius and the Director of the Sugihara House, Ramūnas Janulaitis, for giving us the opportunity to gain a much deeper insight into the events that took place in Kaunas in 1939-1940.


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