While returning home from visiting my mom, I was thoroughly engrossed in The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a book I highly recommend. My husband, Robert, was reading Miriam Katin’s 2013 book Letting It Go, and turned to me to share Katin’s comic about Chiune Sugihara. Sugihara was the Vice-Counsel for the Japanese in Lithuania and issued thousands of visas to Jewish refugees trying to escape occupied Lithuania. He saved over six thousand lives.
I believe Sugihara’s words and Katin’s comic say what needs to be said and is sadly relevant today, as it demonstrates that every Republican presidential candidate has no sense of history:
You want to know about my motivation, don’t you? Well. It is the kind of sentiments anyone would have when he actually sees refugees face to face, begging with tears in their eyes. … Some Japanese military leaders were just scared because of the pressure from the Nazis; while other officials in the Home Ministry were simply ambivalent.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.
Thank you for that courage, Mr. Sugihara, and for your shining example of humanity.