Son of ‘Japanese Schindler’ finds forged visas in Lithuanian archive
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Son of ‘Japanese Schindler’ finds forged visas in Lithuanian archive

Chiune Sugihara’s son says seals and signatures on documents different from those he gave to Jews in Lithuania fleeing Holocaust

Japanese diplomat Sugihara Chiune, who helped save the lives of thousands of Jews as the Imperial Consul to Lithuania in World War II. (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
Japanese diplomat Sugihara Chiune, who helped save the lives of thousands of Jews as the Imperial Consul to Lithuania in World War II. (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Lithuania’s state archive contains forgeries of life-saving visas given to Jews during the Holocaust by late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, his son said.

Nobuki Sugihara, who visited the archives in Vilnius last week, found out that the seals and signatures on some visas said to have been issued by his father differ from those on the Japanese consulate’s official documents, the LETA news agency reported last week.

Some of the forged visas were issued after the closure of the Japanese consulate in Kaunas, the archive said. The report did not say who may have forged the visas, or why and when.

Sugihara lived in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city, between 1939 and 1940 and opened Japan’s consulate there.

In Yaotsu, Japan, in November 2017, Chiune Sugihara Memorial Hall museum director Daisaku Kunieda holds a visa replica of one of the Jews who had a transit visa stamped by Sugihara. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

In 1940, he gave transit visas into Japan to some thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis. The recipients had destination visas into Curacao, an island that was a Dutch colony, supplied to them by Jan Zwartendijk, the Dutch honorary consul in Kaunas.

With those visas, the recipients were able to travel through the Soviet Union, escaping the Nazis. Both men acted without the approval, and sometimes in defiance, of their superiors.

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