Real Heroes: Chinue ‘Sempo’ Sugihara

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Sugihara Book Cover

I have read this book twice and I find this story absolutely incredible and very inspiring. This is the true story of Sugihara, who was a Japanese diplomat (consul) in Europe just before and during World War II.

He is notable for helping hundreds of Jews escape the murderous Nazis by granting (against the wishes of the Japanese government) the Jews visas with which they were able to travel to Japan and from there to counties of safe haven… What is even more incredible in his case, and I think in the cases of many other heroes like him is that in doing what he did, he went completely against the grain. Besides the fact that many in Europe at that time seemed to either not care or simply condoned what was happening to the Jews and other ‘undesirables’, there was also the fact that he went against the wishes of his own government which is rather remarkable considering that the Japanese mindset would have been one not standing out, not going against the current. Keep in mind too that at that time, the Japanese were allied with the Nazis.

The other remarkable thing was that not only did he bring his wife into his decision to help the Jews but he also sought her blessing on it. She immediately agreed. I am very sure they knew the possible consequence of his decision with regards to his career, his family and possibly severe repercussions.

I will update this post and give a more detailed summary and what the book meant to me in the next few days..

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