Documents related to “Visas for Life� and historiography of Chiune Sugihara

Chiharu Inaba


This article addresses several questions. First of all, the Japanese committee of the UNESCO applied documents held in Yaotsu Town, Gifu Prefecture, concerning historical facts how Sugihara rescued Jews from the Holocaust in Lithuania during WWII, as a candidate of the Memory of the World Resister in 2017 – UNESCO. Later, it presents the reasons, due to which the memory about Sugihara’s activities in Kaunas in the summer of 1940 was enhanced in Japan, and quite a lot of attention was given to the analysis of historiography on Sugihara. The main trigger was his wife Yukiko’s memoirs provided in her book entitled “Visas for Life�, based on Chiune Sugihara’s own hand written, unpublished memoirs. Later, other books followed, such as Hillel Levine’s “In Search for Sugihara�, and others. There is no doubt that Sugihara issued visas on a large scale in Kaunas, but the exact number of persons rescued is still unknown and disputable. In Sugihara’s own report to Japanese government dated February 28, 1941 it is said that in Kaunas 2,139 visas were issued. But usually the number 6,000 denoting the number o persons saved by Sugihara is given. However, some new researches about Sugihara have already appeared in Europe and Russia. The article presents different historiographical considerations about people saved by Sugihara. Finally, summing up the discussed material, it is very important to discover and examine documents of Immigration Office in Tsuruga and reports on registration of refugees in Kobe.


Chiune Sugihara; Jewish refugees; UNESCO Memory of the World; Historiography on Sugihara

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ISSN 1392-0588 (Print)

ISSN 2335-8769 (Online)