Service focuses
on Holocaust hero

A Japanese diplomat broke
the rules to save more than 6,000 Jews

Star-Bulletin staff

The story of a Japanese diplomat who saved more than 6,000 European Jews during World War II will be the focus of services next week at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin and Temple Emanu-El.

A photographic exhibit that celebrates the legacy of the late Chiune Sugihara, Japanese consul general in Kovno, Lithuania, in 1940, will open Wednesday at the Japanese Cultural Center. Sugihara violated his country's policy by granting visas to Jewish refugees which allowed them to escape Hitler's campaign of genocide by traveling through Russia and Japan.

"I may have disobeyed my government, but if I didn't, I would be disobeying God," Sugihara said when he was honored in 1985 by Israel.

His widow, Yukiko Sugihara, who has written an account of the escapes, "Visas for Life," will speak at the Honolulu events next week and sign copies of the book. Planned are:

>> Wednesday: 7 p.m. A documentary film, "Inochi no Visa," will be shown during the exhibit opening at the Japanese Cultural Center, 2454 S. Beretania St. The exhibit will continue through April 30. For information call 945-7633.

>> Thursday: 7 p.m. Yukiko Sugihara will describe her husband's heroism in an appearance at Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii, 1727 Pali Highway. The event is free and open to the public.

>> Friday: 7 p.m. Sugihara and Hawaii nisei WWII veterans will speak at the Sabbath service at Temple Emanu-El, 2550 Pali Highway. It is open to the public. The Jewish community will be commemorating Yom Hashoah, an observance established by the Israeli government to remember the Holocaust, the killing of 6 million Jews by Nazis during World War II.

The University of Hawaii Colleges of Arts & Sciences Nisei Veterans Endowed Forum Series and the Visas for Life Foundation are cosponsors of the local events.

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