Meet Chiune Sugihara.
Last Sunday, Persona Non Grata premiered at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. It’s a biopic about Chiune Sugihara, a man who has come to be known as the “Japanese Schindler” but who’s seldom discussed stateside. A diplomat for Japan, Sugihara worked at a consulate in Lithuania. In the summer of 1940, he wrote 2,000 visas for Jews who were desperate to flee European persecution and create a new life in Japan. In total, Sugihara saved more than 6,000 lives during World War II. In 1985, he and his wife, Yukiko, were honored as Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem.
When asked why he wrote the visas, he gave this reply:
“People in Tokyo were not united. I felt it silly to deal with them. So, I made up my mind not to wait for their reply. I knew that somebody would surely complain about me in the future. But, I myself thought this would be the right thing to do. There is nothing wrong in saving many people’s lives. … The spirit of humanity, philanthropy … neighborly friendship … with this spirit, I ventured to do what I did, confronting this most difficult situation—and because of this reason, I went ahead with redoubled courage.”
Persona Non Grata was directed by Cellin Gluck and stars Toshiaki Karasawa as Sugihara.
(H/T Dummy Frog)