LIST OF OVERSEAS GUESTS SPEECHES
of Sugihara Visa
of Temple of Emeth Memorial Park. Mr. Manski fled
from Poland to Lithuania in December, 1939. After
receiving the visa, he traveled across Russia to Japan
and finally arrived in the United States in 1941.
He has been a member of Zionist Organization of America
(ZOA) since 1941, was National Vice-President of the
ZOA, and is a member of the National Executive of
the ZOA. Also serves as a member of the Middle East
Committee and the Holocaust Committee of Jewish Community
Relations Council (JCRC) and Vice-President/board
member of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts.
Ambassador Yasushi Akashi, Chairman of the Committee,
the Honorable Takumi Ueda, Co-Chairman of the Committee,
I am very grateful to you for making this event possible
so we can pay respect and love to Mr. Sugihara for
his wonderful deed. Honorable Ueda, your quotation
"As you sow, so you reap" is very appropriate
for this occasion.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, especially Mrs.
Sugihara, it is with great humility that I stand before
you, I am taking the liberty of speaking on behalf
of all the Sugihara's survivors, their children, grandchildren,
and future generations to come.
We have survived one of the darkest periods of human
history. I am very grateful to Mr. Chiune Sugihara
for his courage and strong humanitarian beliefs which
he showed by issuing two thousands visas despite the
orders given to him by his superiors. I personally
did not have the privilege and fortune to meet Mr.
Sugihara, but my mother and sister did when they obtained
our visas in Lithuania. I'd learned later that my
mother prevented me from going to see Mr. Sugihara
after my paternal grandfather warned the Soviet was
searching for me due to my Zionist activities as a
young man. In particular, the Soviet found a Zionist
flag that I buried before leaving Lida, Poland to
Lithuania. I did eventually have the pleasure of meeting
Mrs. Sugihara and his son Hiroki in Boston in 1989
at the Holocaust event sponsored by the Anti-Defamation
League in the state capital.
On August 9, 1940 consul Sugihara issued my family
a transit visa to the Curacao islands by way of Japan.
We arrived in Tsuruga on February the 24 in 1941.
My first impression entering Tsuruga was a fairy land
with small houses, flowers, clean streets, and very
polite people. I ate my first banana. I never before
ate anything that tastes like that. We traveled from
Tsuruga to Kobe, where we lived for two months. Our
time in Japan would have been much more enjoyable,
had we known the outcome of our visa application to
the United States. As the world situation worsened,
our apprehension rose. I spent my time walking through
the city of Kobe, going to stores, and waiting for
our visa. I had a language barrier. Some Japanese
spoke Russian or German, and I replied in Yiddish.
With others, I communicated using my hands. After
two months of waiting, we received our passport to
freedom on April 30, 1941. We arrived in Seattle,
Washington, on May 18, 1941. From there we traveled
to Boston where we joined my father.
After I arrived in Boston, I enrolled in an evening
school for immigrants and began to learn English.
I spent my evenings at school and worked during the
day. I always wanted to attend college but, being
a Jew, this was not possible in Poland. Now in the
United States, I was able to enroll at Boston University
and I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration
in 1948. Subsequently, I returned to Boston University
in 1982 and received my Master's Degree in liberal
studies in 1983. My college education, which had been
a dream to me in Poland, became a reality because
of Mr. Sugihara's noble deed.
While in college, I met my wife Estelle in 1946. After
two dates I told her that I wanted to marry her. She
thought I was crazy because we really did not know
each other. However, we did marry that year and we
recently celebrated our 54th anniversary in September.
We have three sons, two of whom are college professors
and one a bank director. Each of our sons is married
and has two children, so we have six grandchildren
in all. Finding my wife and the accomplishments of
my children are the result of Mr. Sugihara's action
in helping to rescue me.
Beyond myself, Mr. Sugihara helped to rescue my brother
and sister as well. My brother has two sons and three
grandchildren. My sister has two sons, a daughter,
and seven grandchildren. So, as a result of saving
the lives of my family in Europe, Mr. Sugihara has
brought to life 8 children and 16 grandchildren, all
because of the action of one man who thought of humanity
more than of himself.
In the late 1980s, I wrote a book entitled gWith
God's Helph which was published and accepted
in the library of Congress. The book describes my
city in Poland, which was destroyed and my experience
in the U.S. Mr. Sugihara is a big part in my book.
I wrote it for my children, grandchildren and future
generations to know what happened to our people.
Since the release of the movie "Schindler's List,"
many people have thought of Mr. Sugihara as a "Japanese
Schindler." To me, there is a great difference
between the two men. The results were perhaps the
same-lives were saved. However, Mr. Schindler derived
economic benefits from having Jewish laborers. Mr.
Sugihara did what he did purely because of his humanitarian
I have always appreciated what Sugihara did for us,
but I began to think a great deal about him after
a Boston Globe correspondent stationed in Japan interviewed
me about 10 to 11 years ago. I saw that the younger
generations were completely in the dark about what
transpired in Europe between 1939 and 1945. I decided
to do something about this, because it is very important
to me that young people know what happened at that
I have been active in the Jewish community in many
capacities from the time that I arrived in the United
States, and I have been a member of Temple Emeth in
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts for 42 years. As an officer
in the temple, I suggested that we establish a memorial
stone for the Shoa (Holocaust), which we call the
stone of remembrance. The stone depicts the cities
and towns where family members of Temple Emeth lived
before they were slaughtered and destroyed. Each village,
town and city is marked on the map that shows the
political boundaries as they existed from 1918 to
1939. The names of all the communities are remembered.
After completing the stone of remembrance, I undertook
to design and establish at Temple Emeth a memorial
stone for Mr. Sugihara. This granite stone, dedicated
earlier this year, commemorates a ray of light and
hope in the darkest years of 20th century Europe.
The inscription reads "Chiune Sugihara, Japanese
consul to Lithuania. In the fateful years of 1939-1941
he issued some two thousand visas to 6000 Jews-thereby
saving the lives of what has today become 3 generations
of 36,000 people."
The stone has a quotation from the Bible selected
by our Rabbi Turetz, as follows: "A valiant man
whose heart is like that of lion." (Samuel II.
17:10) The stone is inscribed in English, Hebrew,
and Japanese. Mr. Sugihara's face is etched in the
granite. The stone is set in a Japanese garden with
lights that resemble those used in Japan. A cobblestone
walk leads to the stone of remembrance, which connects
to the flagstone walk to the Sugihara stone.
The Sugihara memorial stone was dedicated on April
30, 2000 on the grounds of Temple Emeth. Close to
600 members of the Japanese and Jewish communities
were in attendance. The Japanese chorus of Boston
directed by Noriko Sakamaki was joined by Shirai Emeth,
the Temple Emeth choir directed by Gennady Konnikov.
Together, they sang Japanese, American, and Hebrew
songs. There was also a presentation of senbazuru
by the Showa Boston student representatives. This
time I'd like to thank Masa Sakamoto, a researcher
in Children's Hospital and the Japanese Consulate
in Boston for their help.
The event is best described in a note I received from
Professor Emeritus Saul Toster of Brandeis University.
He writes, "Dear Samuil Manski, Sunday's dedication
ceremony to Sugihara's memory combined with Yom Hashoah
was a powerful one. It stood for me not only as remembrance,
but with the temple choir and Japanese chorus singing
together as reconciliation as well. I write that as
one who served in the Navy in the Pacific war."
In conclusion, my people have a long memory. The word
"remember" is in the Bible over 600 times.
We never forget that we were slaves in Egypt. We never
forget the Exodus from Egypt. We never forget the
destruction of the temples by the Babylonians and
the Romans. We never forget the exile from Judea after
the destruction of the second temple. We never forget
the 2000 years in exile. We never forget the expulsions
from Spain, Portugal, and other European countries.
We never forget that we were a disposable people.
We will never, never, never, forget the Shoa (Holocaust).
But we will also remember that our people have contributed
to the world through Moses, Jesus, Karl Marx, Freud,
and Einstein. We will remember the creation of the
state of Israel in 1948, so we will never again be
a disposable people. We remember Entebbe. We also
remember a man by the name of Chiune Sugihara. His
memory will be carried forward for generations to
come. Thank you.
of Sugihara Visa
Mr. Lewin was born in Lodz, Poland in 1936 and fled
to the United States at five. After graduating from
Harvard Law School, he began his service in the government.
In the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, he was
Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights
Division of the Department of Justice. He currently
serves as Honorary President of the American Section
of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers
and Jurists and National Vice-President of the National
Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs.
Sugihara and distinguished members of the committee
and distinguished guests, I wish I could address you
in Japanese, but I am afraid that my fluency in that
language was greatest 60 years ago when I was here
in Japan, and I can no longer do that. Let me tell
you the story. I was three-and-one years old in September
1939 when my father paid a smuggler to lead us through
a forest in the dead of the night to cross the border
between Poland and Lithuania. I don't remember that
terrifying night, but my father carried me in his
arms and he told me years later that he frightened
me into absolute silence by telling me that there
were wolves behind the trees who were ready to devour
me if I made a sound. My mother added that the most
frightening moment was when the metal potty being
carried in a knapsack clanged against a low-hanging
Our immediate goal was Vilna, in the still independent
Republic of Lithuania, a haven for Polish Jews who
had fled their homes to avoid the Nazis. After we
arrived in Vilna, my mother, who had worried about
a German invasion of Poland even before it happened
and had planned for quick departure, searched for
some means to leave Europe.
My parents had given up a very comfortable and respected
life in Lodz, Poland's second largest city, where
I was born. My father had been elected in his early
thirties to the City Council of Lodz by its large
Orthodox Jewish population, and he was the City Council's
youngest member. He was destined to follow in the
footsteps of his father, my grandfather, Rabbi Aaron
Lewin, the respected rabbi of the City of Rzeszow,
who had been twice elected to the Polish House of
Representatives, the Sejm. My maternal grandfather,
a highly successful businessman in Amsterdam, owned
textile mills in Lodz, and he put his new son-in-law,
my father, in charge of operations. And so I spent
the first three-and-one-half years of my life in this
Polish metropolis, as my father divided his time between
the mills--which he barely tolerated--and the City
Council chambers--where he encountered and battled
with some of Poland's most vicious anti-Semites who
demeaned the Jews of Poland on the official record
of Lodz City Council record.
On September 1, 1937, when Hitler's Blitzkrieg forces
crossed the German-Polish border, my mother's entire
family was with us in Lodz. My mother's father, a
prominent Dutch citizen, was a very daring soul. He
quickly booked a commercial flight from Warsaw to
Amsterdam to retrieve jewelry and other valuables
that he could use so that we could escape from the
Nazis. My mother never saw her father again. Relatives
in Amsterdam have told me that, unable to rejoin us
in Poland, he tried to cross the border into Switzerland
with a fortune in diamonds sewn into his coat. He
was apprehended on the Swiss border, handed over to
the Nazi authorities, and ultimately transported to
Auschwitz-Birkenau's gas chambers and crematoria.
My mother had been raised in Amsterdam as a Dutch
citizen. In those pre-feminist days, married women
were legally transferred to their husbands' citizenship,
so my mother officially became Polish and was that
when I was born. Accompanying her in Lodz, even after
my grandfather had left, were her mother and her younger
brother, both of whom were still Dutch citizens. They
joined us on the midnight border crossing and settled
with us in Vilna.
No sooner had we come to Vilna, as Jews call Vil'nyus,
than my mother and her brother Leo, who was in his
twenties, began searching for ways to reach either
the United States or Palestine or some other locations.
Dutch citizens learned that they had a right to enter
Dutch colonies in either Asia or South America. The
Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) were open to citizens
of Holland, as were the Netherlands Antilles island
of Curacao and the Dutch colony of Surinam, between
Venezuela and Brazil. From Vilna one could travel
to Moscow and then, by trans-Siberian railroad, to
Vladivostok. Passage by boat from Vladivostok to Japan
required travel by boat and that could be done in
transit to either the Dutch East Indies or the Dutch
But, my mother was no longer a Dutch citizen. And,
of course, neither was my father or I. But my mother
persevered. She corresponded in Dutch with the Netherlands
Ambassador, L.P.J. deDecker, who was stationed in
Riga, and with a young Dutch Honorary Consul who was
living in Kaunas, also known as Kovno to the Jewish
population. The Dutch Consul was named Jan Zwartendijk,
and he too was entitled to credit, along with today's
principal honoree Chiune Sugihara, in the rescue of
the thousands of Jews who made their way from Lithuania
to Japan in 1940 and 1941.
Ambassador deDecker wrote to my mother that although
Dutch citizens were legally entitled to enter the
Dutch East Indies, no visas to those colonies would
be issued to Polish citizens such as my father, me,
or my mother who was then a Polish citizen. So far
as visas to Curacao and Surinam were concerned, said
deDecker, he could not help us because entry to those
Dutch colonies did not depend on a visa. The local
governor, a Dutch government official stationed in
Curacao, had total and absolute discretion to allow
in whoever he wished.
After consulting with Consul Zwartendijk, my mother
and my uncle came up with an ingenious course of action.
She wrote to the Dutch ambassador and asked whether
he could endorse on her Polish passport the fact that
no visa was required for entrance to Surinam , Curacao,
and the other Dutch possessions in the American hemisphere.
On July 11, 1940, Ambassador deDecker did exactly
that. He wrote an endorsement in French on her Polish
passport declaring that for the admission of foreigners
to Surinam, Curacao, and other possessions of the
Netherlands in America, no entrance visa was required.
Now in the meantime while we were in Vilna, Russia
occupied Lithuania. Since the Russian authorities
no longer recognized Poland as an independent country,
my parents' Polish passport was useless. My father
instead took out a Latvian laissez-passer, called
a "Leidimas," for himself, my mother and
for me. When my mother's now-invalid Polish passport
came back in the mail with the Dutch ambassador's
endorsement, she delivered it and the "Leidimas"
to Mr. Zwartendijk. Zwartendijk whom she had talked
to copied deDecker's endorsement on that document,
on the Latvian document, identically accepted that.
Instead of it being a declaration by the Dutch embassy
in Riga, it became a declaration by the consulate
in Kaunas. This is a copy of that handwritten notation.
The original is a family treasure at our home. Zwrtendijk's
endorsement is dated July 22, 1940. I don't know of
any endorsement earlier than that. A few days later,
when the number of applicants began to run into the
hundreds, a rubber stamp with this notation was produced,
and most travel documents having the Sugihara visa
have that rubber-stamped endorsement.
And herein came the noble Chiune Sugihara. I grew
up being told that Consul Sugihara was a friend of
Jan Zwartedijk and that he had agreed with the Dutch
consul that he would issue transit visas to Jews bearing
the Dutch endorsement in their passports. Mr. Zwartendijk's
son, with whom I have corresponded, has said that
he thinks his father never knew Consul Sugihara. I
nontheless believe what I was told in my childhood.
Maybe they met at some diplomatic reception. But in
any event Jan Zwartendijk said in a letter he wrote
in 1963 before he passed away, "The Japanese
Consul at Kaunas was entirely willing to issue transit-visa
to those who had my annotation for the Netherlands
West Indies in their passports." Now to me, the
words "entirely willing," particularly in
the context of a letter in which Zwartendijk said
modestly that he did not even remember details of
what he had done, indicate to me that Zwartendijk
had come to some understanding with Consul Sugihara.
Our travel document has the marvelous Sugihara visa
written in an elegant Japanese hand dated July 26,
1940. On a list compiled by Consul Sugihara that Professor
Hille Levine of Boston University discovered in the
Japanese Foreign Ministry several years ago my grandmother
who was with us is number 16, my father is number
17, and my uncle number 18 on the list of visas. The
two, my grandmother and my uncle appear as Dutch citizens
and my father with the document that was issued for
him and my mother and myself as Polish. Nathan Gutwirth,
the Dutch citizen who some have credited with being
the first to get a Curacao visa appears as number
1264 on that list as having received it on August
6, 1940. In her autobiography, Mrs. Sugihara begins
her account with the following words: "The events
that unfolded on the morning of July 27, 1940, are
still very vivid and clearly imprinted in my mind."
She reports that on that day--July 27--between one
and two hundred Jews stood unexpectedly in front of
the Japanese consulate in Kaunas seeking visas. That
was the day after Consul Sugihara had issued visas
to our family. I remember being told by my mother
that she had told friends in Vilna that she had obtained
such a visa. Those people, including Minister Warhaftig
who later became a very important official in Israel,
traveled on the next day from Vilna to Kaunas.
My mother never spoke of meeting the Japanese consul
who saved our lives. Nor did my father. From the sequence
on Sugihara's list--my grandmother, my father, and
my uncle Leo--I surmise that my uncle actually did
the legwork of traveling to Kaunas with the documents,
including the critical endorsement by deDecker on
my mother's Polish passport, and of visiting Consul
Zwartendijk and Consul Sugihara. He probably presented
the requests in a group, following his mother's and
his sister's with his own.
It was a remarkable testament to the respect shown
to Consul Sugihara and to Japan that the Communist
regime of the Soviet Union permitted the holders of
Sugihara visas to leave Russia. We traveled from Vilna
to Moscow, rode on the trans-Siberian railroad for
2 weeks from Moscow to Vladivostok, and then went
by boat and ultimately ended up in the hospitable
Japanese city of Kobe. My father was fortunate enough
to be on a list of distinguished rabbis whose entry
to the United States--in non-immigrant status initially--was
requested by several leading Jewish organizations.
My father and I first came to America in the spring
of 1941. The American authorities were not as kind
to my uncle and my grandmother. Despite repeated efforts
by my mother, who had stayed in Japan for several
months to try to obtain a visa for her mother and
her brother, they were not allowed into the United
States, and my mother said farewell to them in Kobe.
That was the last time that she saw her brother.
Before Japan entered the war in December of 1941,
my grandmother and uncle traveled to the Dutch East
Indies. My uncle Leo served in the Dutch armed forces.
He died on a far-off island in the Flores Sea. My
maternal grandmother was the only grandparent I remember--the
only one who survived the Holocaust. She lived with
us for about five years after the war.
My father's father--the esteemed rabbi of Rzeszow--was
murdered in cold blood in Lvov when the Russians left
that city and Germans were entering it on June 30,
1941. His widow hid in a concealed apartment for several
months, until she was discovered and sent to her death
at Belzec extermination camp together with my father's
only sister and her young daughter.
Rabbi Judah, the great Jewish scholar who lived almost
2000 years ago and compiled the Mishnah, the primary
exposition of the Jewish Oral Law, observed that some
individuals can win eternal reward with a good deed
in a single hour, while others labor for the same
objective for a lifetime. By doing what was right--with
no expectation of reward or acclaim (indeed, with
ignorance for many years of whether his kindness had
any effect whatever)--Consul Sugihara won his eternal
reward. He has to his credit not only the six thousand
lives of the Jews who fled Europe with the travel
document bearing his elegant Japanese script, but
also the tens of thousands of descendants of these
survivors. And he can take credit for the survival
of a great institution of Jewish learning--the famous
Mirrer Yeshiva. Its students and faculty escaped to
Japan and then spent the war years in Shanghai before
coming to the United States.
Chiune Sugihara was a true hero who merited immediate
entry to the roster of Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem,
the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The Foreign Ministry
in Tokyo not only failed to authorize the issuance
of transit visas, but it explicitly directed him not
to issue them in the most direct cables. Chiune Sugihara
ignored these instructions and continued with his
life-saving effort until he was on the train leaving
What can one say about this angel of mercy? There
is a Hebrew phrase--"kishmo ken hu"--the
name describes the person. I do not know the Japanese
meaning of the sounds that make up the name Chiune
Sugihara, but it is amazing for me to consider the
Hebrew meaning. "Chiune" which in Hebrew
could be pronunced "hiyuni" means "life-giving."
Rabbi Judah Ha-levi, the master of Hebrew usage, speaks
in his Kuzari of "hakoach hachiyuni"--the
And if one sounds out the name Sugihara, the word
"hara" means pregnant--a woman who is about
to give birth. The matriarch Sarah was told, "Hinach
hara veyaladet ben"--"You are pregnant and
will give birth to a son." And "sugi"
is a sort of Aramaic or Hebrew word that means "subject."
Hiyuni (Chiune) Sugihara is, therefore, the "subject
of conception," of life-giving, of fruitfulness--of
continuity through the generations.
It is indeed an appropriate name for one who gave
life and who offered continuity and productivity to
thousands who were otherwise facing death and destruction.
I now have a grandson and a granddaughter. My grandson,
Gidon Moshe Lewin Halbfinger, and granddaughter, Ayelette
Tova Lewin Halbfinger, are alive today because of
the decency and courage of Consuls Sugihara and Zwartendijk.
Gidon Moshe, my grandson, was born on the sixteenth
day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz more than four years
ago. I checked the Hebrew calendar and discovered
that it was on the sixteenth day of Tammuz sixty years
ago--July 22, 1940--that Jan Zwartendijk inscribed
on a piece of paper the Dutch endorsement that gave
Consul Sugihara four days later the opportunity to
grant a visa for life to Gidon's grandfather and to
To the family and memory of Chiune Sugihara, I offer
my thanks and the gratitude of my own family--my daughters,
my brother, and my grandchildren, who would not have
been conceived and born in the United States if not
for the gift of life granted by Consul Sugihara, and
I believe the thanks of my wife, who would never have
met me if not for Chiune Sugihara. May the widow of
Chiune Sugihara and his children and descendants live
many years in health and happiness. They deserve the
age-old Jewish blessing--L'Chaim, to life.
National Executive Committee
with J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
His practice is concentrated in the areas of complex
real estate transactions. After serving as Chairman
of Chicago Regional Board of ADL and Vice Chairman
of National Commission of ADL, he was elected to the
current position. Also serves as a trustee of ADL
afternoon, I can think of no greater honor for the
Anti-Defamation League and for me as chairman of its
National Executive Committee and to take part in this
ceremony honoring a man of such principle and humanity
as Chiune Sugihara.
This is a man whose humanity shone all the more brightly
because it was in the middle of inhumanity which we
know as the Holocaust. He was the man who was blessed
in this moment of the greatest challenge because his
wife and partner Yukiko Sugihara joined in his decision
to do right. They made the decision even though it
placed them in personal danger. They both knew that
it would spell the end of career they had worked so
hard and long to build and the way of life it had
brought to them.
This event is so significant for the Anti-Defamation
League because we as an organization have as our purpose
the same mission which motivated Mr. and Mrs. Sugihara
almost sixty years ago. We were established eighty-seven
years ago to combat bigotry, hatred, and prejudice
against all people. As a Jewish organization, our
wise founders realized that the best way to protect
our people against the bigotry, hatred, and prejudice
we have experienced over the centuries was to combat
bigotry, hatred, and prejudice against all people
wherever or whenever we find its ugly face. This is
the mission which has motivated us in the United States
throughout the years and which has motivated our activities
throughout the world in the past decades.
We have realized that the tools to accomplish our
mission lying in many venues. The obvious is the use
of the courts and of legislation to fight those whose
bigotry, hatred, and prejudice threaten to harm their
victims. This we have done for years in the United
States with great success and we have been proud to
explore our methodology around the world to help others
of like-mind fight the same fight in their countries.
But I am happy to say that the arsenal of weapons
does not stop with the tools I have just described.
We realized that perhaps the most powerful weapon
against the evils of hatred, bigotry, and prejudice
is education. Children are not born hating. It is
something they learn. Something they are taught while
their minds are being molded. Chiune Sugihara observed
the noble principles of the Samurai Code that would
not let him be anything but the hero he was. Likewise,
children can be taught to accept and respect the differences
of people around them. If this lesson can be firmly
inculcated into the child' mind as he or she is growing
up, the hatred which Mr. and Mrs. Sugihara had to
contend with will be avoided. This is the best insurance
to protect future generations against the ravages
of the hatred, bigotry, and prejudice. The urgency
of education mission is demonstrated to us so powerfully
when we see what the reverse can do. The Nazi authorities
taught the German children to hate. This created the
environment which forced Mr. and Mrs. Sugihara to
have to choose to give up all they had worked for
in order to do right. We can see it even today when
the schoolbooks used in the lessons taught to the
Palestinian children by their instructors teach hatred
of Israel. If these lessons continue, we will be assured
of future generations of people who will hate with
the suffering and bloodshed that are the unquestionable
Our educational programs are varied in large part
in a learning methodology we call "the World
of Difference." In this program we teach teachers
to teach in turn their students the acceptance and
respect of differences in others. In the United States
this program has been presented to over 150, 000 teachers
who in turn have presented to over 15 million students.
We are now sharing our methodology with educators
and others throughout the world. We hope that they
can take this program and adapt to the needs and issues
of their individual countries. I am so proud to say
that one of those countries is Japan. In fact, our
experts have worked with experts right here in Osaka
where "World of Difference" program is currently
underway. We believe that together we can make a difference.
As you heard also, the Anti-Defamation League also
sponsors an essay contest in various cities in the
United States, named and in honor of Sugihara-san.
The student contestants are asked to write essays
examining the moral dilemma which Sugihara-san and
his wife faced in making the choices they made 60
years ago and how it relates to the students' own
lives. As you have heard, we have this year's three
winners with us today: Emile Brock of San Francisco,
Allison Vuona of Boston, and Nicholas Sher of New
York City. This event also has great personal significance
for me and my family including my wife Louise who
has joined me for this occasion.
In 1938 my family and both my mother and father's
sides all resided in Central Europe, mostly in Vienna
in Austria. When the Nazis came to Austria, some of
my family were fortunate enough to escape to the safety
of the United States. My father escaped after being
threatened by arrest by Gestapo. In fact, he was saved
by his Sugihara-san, his non-Jewish maid who at risk
of her own personal safety protested so vociferously
that Gestapo officers left, promising to return. Needless
to say, my father did not wait for their return. My
grandfather was arrested in a street of Vienna in
November of 1938, on the morning after Kristallnacht
and sent to Dachau, a notorious Nazi concentration
camp. He was only released because of the bravery
of my grandmother who sought the assistance of the
Mayor of Vienna. The Mayor was a fellow officer with
my grandfather in the Austro-Hungarian Army in the
First World War and persuaded the commandant of Dachau
to release my grandfather because of his heroic war
efforts. He was released on a condition that he and
my grandmother leave Austria in a few days with what
they could carry in the suitcase. So noble Italians
sheltered them until they were granted the visa to
come to the United States. But you know, as matters
turned out, my immediate family and a few others of
my family were the lucky ones. They survived. All
the others remained in Europe. All the others died.
Sugihara-san and his wife fought so valiantly for
the victims of the hatred. They fought so valiantly
through their acts of personal bravery.
Finally, being here today, has another personal significance
for me. One of the few lucky others in my family to
escape the Nazis was my grandfather's brother. He
and his wife traveled the East and ultimately only
he ended up in Japan in 1940 because his wife had
died on a way in Shanghai. He then sent for his son
and daughter whom he had left in what he had mistakenly
thought was the safety of Vienna. He and his children
were sheltered here throughout the war. They lived
in Japan in safety from 1940 until 1947 when they
immigrated to the United States. They survived only
because of the shelter and hospitality provided them
by the Japanese people.
In closing, I want to congratulate the other diplomats
and their families who are here today and whose heroism
also saved so many lives. When so few were wiling
to stand up, they did. I want to thank Akashi-san
and Ueda-san for inviting us to participate and helping
us bring the contest winners here today. I also want
to mention Dr. Ed Alster, ADL's Associate Director
of the Education Division who, as you heard, is also
with us today here and whose tireless efforts made
our group's participation possible. Finally, Mrs.
Sugihara, our National Director Abraham Foxman who
would have been here today, but for his recent and
fortunately successful heart surgery, would like to
share in this occasion and personally expressed his
congratulations to you and to the other diplomats
being honored today.
In a reading I did about Sugihara-san he has often
been called, as Mr. Manski said, the "Japanese
Schindler." I would agree with Mr. Manski. With
observations of Leo Melamed, another Sugihara survivor
who is now in Chicago, where I am from, and who went
on to become one of the giants in the United States'
financial world. As I mentioned to you before personally,
Mrs. Sugihara, Mr. Melamed sends both his congratulations
and his apologies for not being here today. But Mr.
Melamed observed as did Mr. Manski, that Mr. Schindler
saved thousands of lives for his acts, but also made
considerable money. Sugihara-san and his wife, on
the other hand, gained nothing for what they did except,
of course, for the immeasurable personal satisfaction
of knowing that what they did was right and what they
did made a difference. In fact, Sugihara-san's actions
caused him and his family to lose all most of us hold
to be so important: job, material wealth, and the
position he held in his society for so many of later
years of his life.
Do you know in Yiddish, there is a word which defies
short translation, a "Menche." I try to
define it for you, Mrs. Sugihara. A Menche is one
who is principled, who is kind, who is selfless, and
who shows true humanity. Sugihara-san was a Menche
in all senses of the word. Thank you.
Japanese American Citizens League
Mori was born in Murray, Utah, of immigrant parents
from Japan. After graduating from Brighem Young University,
he moved to California where he became a City Councilman
and later Mayor of the City of Plesanton. Elected
to and served six years in the California State Assembly.
After several years in business, he founded Mori International,
international business consultant firm. Also serves
as a member of the Utah Governor's Asian Advisory
Sugihara, friends and family of Mr. Chiune Sugihara,
Chairman Akashi, honored guests, and ladies and gentlemen.
I am very proud to and honored to be here to represent
the Japanese American Citizens League or JACL, as
it is more commonly known. There are many common ideals
that are represented by the life of Mr. Sugihara and
the goals and purposes of the JACL.
If I may, I would like to reflect for a few moments
on my personal life as I try to explain why the JACL
has had such an interest in the pursuits of Mr. Sugihara.
I am a Nisei, although you may expect me to speak
Japanese, I never had any formal education in Japanese,
so you have to bear with my English today. I am a
Nisei whose parents immigrated from Kagoshima-ken
here in Japan. My father immigrated to the United
States in the early 1900's. My father's family was
very poor and it became his responsibility, as the
oldest son, to come to the United States and earn
money to support his family back in Japan. Being poor
and without status, my father compensated by working
very hard to buy property, develop a farm, and raise
a family of eight children. In the rural Rocky Mountain
West, my father along with a few other Japanese immigrants,
faced not only the harsh weather, but a harsh attitude
that these independent people of the West expressed
towards foreigners who were of a different color.
These hard working Japanese pioneers in America faced
many economic jealousies that often turned into hate,
violence, and rejection.
This hate and resistance that the Japanese people
experienced gave birth to the JACL, which was organized
in the late 1920's. It became the first organization
of its kind to serve a specific ethnic minority from
Asia. Today, JACL is the largest and oldest Asian
American civil rights organization in the United States.
We have some 115 Chapters throughout the States including
one here in Tokyo, Japan. JACL has been the communication
link to government and society as a whole in explaining
the injustices that were being thrust upon the Japanese
American community in the United States. JACL has
been the advocate of the Japanese American people
in promoting laws that made sure that Japanese Americans
and other minorities maintained the same rights and
privileges that were enjoyed by the majority population.
World War II was a very difficult time for Japanese
Americans in the United States. Hysteria swept the
country and the fear and hate toward Japanese Americans
lead to the evacuation of 120,000 Japanese Americans
from the West Coast of the United States into concentration
camps that were located in desolate parts of the West
and South part of the United States. Basic Human and
Civil rights were violated in direct contradiction
to the Constitution of the United States. There was
no recognition of "Due Process of Law" which
is guaranteed by our Constitution. While these injustices
continued, many men and women who were in these camps
volunteered to serve in the armed services in order
to prove that they were loyal to the United States.
Following the War, there were many court battles that
were waged to right the wrongs that were suffered
by the Japanese Americans during the War. However,
most were unsuccessful and the community went about
rebuilding all that was lost to them during the War.
JACL decided during the 1970's that they must organize
a campaign to have dignity and honor restored to their
community. They began the process of advocating for
"Redress" and an Apology from the United
States government for the unjustified wartime evacuation
that was experienced by the Japanese American community.
After over a decade of hard work from individual people
as well as a National effort in Washington D.C. by
the JACL and other supporting organizations, the first
of which were many organizations in the Jewish community,
the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of
1988. This Act of Congress provided Redress to all
surviving Japanese Americans who were incarcerated
in the camps, and more importantly, for the first
time in the history of the United States, the government
recognized its wrongdoing and apologized to each person
who was unjustly incarcerated. Today, the JACL continues
its vigilance to assure that basic human and civil
rights are afforded to all peoples of the world.
A clear and strong understanding of basic human rights
is what guided Mr. Sugihara in his decision to issue
Visas for Life to thousands of Jews during the War
in Europe. The compassion that he expressed in his
act of heroism is unparalleled in the Foreign Ministry
of Japan. Although the Jews were looked down upon
and despised by a strong ally of Japan, Mr. Sugihara
recognized the worth of a human being, regardless
of their ethnicity, religion or creed. He was a true
humanitarian and a prime example that a government
should champion rather than force into obscurity.
Much like the Japanese American Community, who fought
and died for maintaining the freedom and liberty they
deserved, in spite of themselves being held in prison
camps, Mr. Sugihara provided freedom and liberty to
thousands even though he knew in his heart that he
himself would be dishonored and dismissed from his
prestigious government post. To him, humanity was
more important than any personal comfort, glory, or
honor that he might receive.
A very important element must be recognized at this
point. Like the U.S. government, who recognized a
wrong of the past and apologized to the Japanese Americans,
the Japanese government has also recognized its harsh
treatment of Mr. Sugihara and its failure to recognize
his courageous actions. It is exceptionally commendable
that Mr. Kono, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has
recently apologized to the Sugihara family. In going
a step further, the Japanese government now has honored
his name and his accomplishments.
We in JACL are very proud of Mr. Sugihara and the
example that his name will perpetuate to younger generations
of all nations. For this reason, JACL passed a Resolution
in its Biennial Convention in 1998 in support of all
efforts to recognize and honor Mr. Sugihara for his
act of heroism and to remove any dishonor caused by
his diplomatic actions to save thousands of Jewish
We commend the Japanese government for taking this
bold step in promoting human rights throughout the
world. In this modern Global society, we all need
to recognize the worth of the individual human being.
Japan and the United States, who are today the economic
and political leaders of the world must never end
efforts to be leaders in the field of human rights.
We must take every opportunity to be an example to
the real world where bigotry and extremism continues
to guide the lives of millions. This celebration has
been an expression that we will continue to strive
for better human relations in all of our lives.
I would like to express my personal appreciation to
all of those who made this celebration possible. This
event will be a strong reminder to the great legacy
left to us by Mr. Sigihara and the need to perpetuate
his memory. I personally appreciated being here to
share in this Spirit of Respect for Humanity.
At this time I would like to present to Mrs. Sugihara
an original copy of the Resolution passed by the National
Council of JACL on July 3, 1998. This Resolution was
sponsored by the Salt Lake City Chapter of JACL. The
Resolution recognizes the many accomplishments of
Mr. Sugihara and urges efforts to formally recognize
is acts of heroism. And let me note this time that
to my recollection this is the first and only time
that JACL has given the recognition to a non-citizen
of the United States. The first and only time. We
commend Mr. Sugihara and we appreciate being here
with this celebration. Thank you very much.
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Born in New York, he was educated at Yeshiva University.
He has been a long-time activist for Jewish and human
rights causes around the world. For over 2 decades
he has overseen the Wiesenthal Center's international
social agenda from worldwide anti-Semitism, Nazi war
criminals and Nazi Gold, to extremist groups and hate
on the Internet. In 1999, he received Yeshiva University's
Bernard Revel Community Service Leadership Memorial
Akashi, Mr. Ueda, Ambassador Kumlin, distinguished
Counselor of the Embassy of Israel, other distinguished
diplomats, Samuil and Nathan, representatives of the
Sugihara survivors here today, old friends and new,
it is with a deep sense of gratitude and humility
that I represent Simon Wiesenthal, the great Nazi
hunter and humanitarian as well as the 400,000 constituent
families of the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the Centennial
Celebration of the birth of Chiune Sugihara. Congratulations
to the organizers of this important international
This historic gathering creates another opportunity
for the Jewish people to fulfill the obligation of
"Hakarat Hatov" - to say thank you to the
late ambassador and to his partner and wonderful wife
for saving Jewish lives and redeeming hope in a time
Mrs. Sugihara, who, on the occasion of Israel's 50th
birthday, I had the special privilege and the honor
to accompany to a reunion in Jerusalem, Israel's capital,
with the faculty and students of the Mirrer Yeshiva
- people and the institution who only survived because
she and her husband cared - in her own right, together
with the memory of the late husband, continues to
serve as a symbol of hope and dignity. May G-d bless
you with many more years of good health and strength.
Now, we turn to the presentation of 22 Chiune Sugihara
In a few moments, Lloyd Williams will present this
collective recognition to Sweden's Ambassador, Krister
Kumlin. But I would like to take a few moments to
introduce each name and briefly introduce you 22 other
This is Aracy de Carvalho Rosa, an aide to the
Brazilian Ambassador in Berlin, who for her actions
in helping to save Jews in the capital of Nazism,
Berlin. Rosa was awarded the Righteous Among the Nations.
Feng Shan Ho, Consul General of China in Vienna.
Dr. Ho was one of the first diplomats to save Jews
during the Nazi era. He issued visas to Jewish people
seeking to escape Austria after the Anschluss in 1938.
He issued those life-saving papers on his own authority
despite orders to desist and an eventual reprimand
from his superiors. Frank Foley, British Vice Consul
in Charge of Visas in Berlin on the eve of the outbreak
of World War II. Historians estimate that Mr. Foley
issued at least 3,000 visas to Jewish refugees during
the years of 1938 and 1939. Despite the British policy
of giving visas only to a few Jews, it was known that
he tried to do everything he could to help these unfortunate
Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, the trade attache to
the German Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark. This
is a German diplomat during World War II. When Mr.
Duckwitz learned that the Nazi occupying government
was planning to deport Danish Jews to the death camps,
he alerted the Danish government. He made a clandestine
trip to the Prime Minister of Sweden in order to arrange
safe haven for those Jews. The Danish underground
implemented the rescue of over 7,000 Jews of Denmark.
As a result, 99% of them were smuggled into Sweden
and saved. After World War II, he became Germany's
ambassador to Denmark.
Jan Zwartendijk. You've already heard the incredible
family odyssey. But this was a man who was the Honorary
Dutch Consul in Kaunas. He is credited with devising
and pioneering the use of the "Curacao visa"
in early July 1940. Along with Sugihara, he issued
the end visas to the destinations of Curacao and Surinam.
Giorgio "Jorge" Perlasca, "Acting
Charge D'Affaires" of the Spanish Legation in
Budapest, Hungary. This gentleman was granted
Spanish citizenship for fighting on the side of Franco
during the Spanish Civil War. Yet he used that designation
to serve humanity. In fall of 1944 in Budapest, he
placed as many as 3,000 Jews under the protection
of Spanish safe houses in the capital of Hungary.
In December 1944, the Spanish Ambassador evacuated
Budapest, so this very interesting diplomat had himself
appointed "Spanish Ambassador" and continued
on his own to issue thousands of protective passes.
Jan Karski, one of the great heroes of the
Second World War who died a few weeks ago. Mr. Karski
prepared written eyewitness accounts of the German
atrocities in Nazi occupied Poland in real time. Later,
he was smuggled out of Poland and into the United
States, where he reported to US Supreme Court justice
Felix Frankfurter. Karski gave hundreds of talks to
anyone who would listen in the United States and Great
Britain in order to bring about pressure for interventions
to stop the Nazi Holocaust. He was not successful.
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul
General in Bordeaux, France. Mr. Mendes issued
perhaps as many as 30,000 life-saving documents 10,000
were for Jews and 20,000 were for other refugees fleeing
the German onslaught into France. He personally conducted
hundreds of Jewish refugees across a border checkpoint
on the Spanish frontier. All of his life-saving activities
were done against the explicit orders and policies
of his government. He was fired from his job and lost
all of his property. He died in poverty in Lisbon
in 1954. In November of 1995, Portugal finally restored
his career and its national dignity when it awarded
him a special medal for his humanitarian efforts.
Angel Sanz-Briz, the Spanish Minister in Budapest,
Hungary. In the summer of 1944, Mr. Sanz-Briz
appealed to Madrid for permission to provide Spanish
protective papers for Jewish citizens in Budapest.
Unable to obtain permission, he nonetheless issued
hundreds of Spanish protective passes on his own authority.
He authorized the establishment and protection on
dozens of safe houses in Budapest. By the end of the
war, many thousands of Jews were saved as a result
of his interventions.
Jose Santaella, Spanish Agricultural Attache in
Berlin was awarded the Righteous Among the Nations
medal for helping to save German Jews trapped in Nazi
Germany. I'll come to the several Swedish personalities
in a moment.
Ernst Prodolliet was the Swiss Consul General in
Bregenz, Austria. Mr. Prodolliet received Israel's
Righteous Among the Nations for his life-saving activities
in Austria during the Nazi Holocaust.
Charles "Carl" Lutz, Consul for Switzerland
in Budapest, Hungary and Gertrud Lutz, wife of the
Consul for their activities in Budapest. Mr. Lutz
was the first neutral diplomat in Budapest to rescue
Jews. He is credited with inventing the Schutzbrief
(protective letter) for Jewish refugees in Budapest.
He obtained permission from the Hungarian government
to issue protective letters for some 8,000 Hungarian
Jews for emigration to Palestine. But he used the
8,000 not for individuals but towards families. He
established 76 Swiss safe houses throughout Budapest.
Between the years of 1942 and 1943, he helped some
10,000 Jewish children and young people to emigrate
Harald Feller, the Swiss Minister in Budapest.
From the beginning of his appointment in 1944, Dr.
Feller was tireless in his efforts to support Consul
Charles Lutz and the rescue of Jews. He constantly
pressured the Hungarian Government to end the persecution
and stop deportations to Auchwits. Toward the end
of the war, he hid endangered Jews in the basement
of his own consular residence in Budapest.
Selahattin Ulkumen, the Turkish Consul General
in Rhodes. For many diplomats here today, if the
name Ulkumen rings a bell, and if you have ever been
posted in Geneva, his son is the ranking ambassador
for the United Nations. In July 1944, the Germans
began rounding up the Jews on the Island of Rhodes.
Mr. Ulkumen interceded on behalf of those Jews who
were Turkish nationals or had any contacts or connections
with Turkey. Through his efforts, 42 families, totaling
more than 200 Jews were set free from the deportation
to and the certain death at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In
reprisal, the authorities bombed Ulkemen's official
residence, fatally injuring his pregnant wife, but
not before she gave birth to a baby who today serves
the world as diplomat at the United Nations.
Angelo Rotta, the Vatican diplomat in Sofia, Bulgaria
and Papal Nuncio in Budapest. Monsignor Rotta
took measures to save Bulgarian Jews by issuing false
baptismal certificates and visas for Jews to travel
to Palestine. Later as the Dean of the diplomatic
corps in Budapest, he issued some 15,000 safe conduct
certificates for Jews. He also issued hundreds of
safe conducts and false baptismal certificates for
Jews who were already in labor camps, at deportation
centers and on death marches. He personally set up
and protected numerous safe houses throughout Budapest.
Which brings us to the intervention of the Swedish
diplomats in Budapest in 1944. Per Anger, Lars
Berg, Swedish Minister, Carl Ivan Danielsson were
three very distinguished diplomats representing the
Swedish nation. Together and inspired by Mr. Raoul
Wallenberg who was not a professional diplomat
but who came on a mission of mercy to Budapest in
the summer of 1944, the Swedish legation worked tirelessly
to help more than 30,000 Hungarians Jews. Wallenberg's
personal intervention prevented Nazis from deporting
and murdering Jews in the death camps of Auschwitz
and Birkenau. He even had a personal confrontation
with Adolf Eichmann, the person in charge of the final
solution. With the staff of Jewish volunteers, he
rescued thousands of Jews who were forced on death
marches. He also established and protected dozens
of safe houses throughout Budapest. In the final days
of the Second World War, as the Soviet troops were
coming close to Budapest, Raoul Wallenberg went to
see the general, the German general in charge of the
city, who had orders to dynamite the Jewish ghetto
and the remaining 17,000 Jews in the city. In a singular
act of courage, Raoul Wallenberg threatened this general
with a war crime tribunal after World War II unless
he desisted from the plan. The force of Raoul Wallenberg's
action and the commitment of the people of the embassy
worked. Together, we can say the Raoul Wallenberg
mission saved about 100,000 Jews from certain deaths
in the final months of the Second World War. And what
was his reward? On January 17, 1945 Raoul Wallenberg
was arrested by the liberating Soviet Army and disappeared.
In a few weeks, the Swedish and Russian governments,
we hope, will come out with a definitive report. There
were reports that he was murdered by the Soviets in
1947, but eyewitnesses that we interviewed saw him
in the Soviet Gulag many years after.
So, how we can best understand the underlying courage
of these individuals, among them Christians, Moslems,
Buddhists and I imagine more than a few agnostics.
I suggest that we can look to a single decision that
occurred over 3,000 years ago in Pharaoh's Egypt which
changed history forever.
It was there that a young prince by the name of Moses,
went out to visit the massive work projects where
the Israelite slaves were toiling. The Bible relates
that Moses saw an Egyptian taskmaster whipping a Hebrew
slave, and the narrative adds that Moses looked around
and "saw that there was no man," at which
point he slew the oppressor and saved the life of
a single, helpless slave. But what does the Bible
mean when it says that Moses saw that there was no
one there? Surely there were thousand of slaves and
hundreds of slave masters involved in building the
pyramids and other huge projects.
Rashi - perhaps the greatest Jewish commentator on
the Bible provides this special and very relevant
insight: "BIMKOME SHEH'AIN ISHE, HISHTADAIL LEE'YOTE
ISH"- No, Moses was not alone, but no one else
saw what he saw - the flogging of a Hebrew slave was
an act repeated in the ancient Egypt thousands of
times a day, it hardly raised an eyebrow, let alone
a voice in protest. Even the slaves themselves had
lost virtually all hope.
"BIMKOME SHEH'AIN ISHE, HISHTADAIL LEE'YOTE ISH"
- in a place where there is no man. The test of a
true humanitarian, of a true leader is to have the
courage to be a man where others have lost their humanity,
to see the worth of a helpless victim, when the victim
has lost all hope. That was the measure of the greatness
of Moses, that was what set him apart for greatness
and leadership and it is that biblical quality of
courage, that unique vision of decency that each of
these 22 diplomats showed in humanity's darkest hour,
when the rest of the world turned their backs on the
Jewish people, when the Pope and other religious leaders
turned a blind eye to the Nazi genocide, and when
even many of the victims themselves gave up all hope
for the future.
In a place and time when there were no men, these
23 with Sugihara included, stood up for the Jewish
people and they confirmed humanity. They will each
forever have their places in our hearts and from today
with this new award will also be forever honored by
the people of Japan.
Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce
As a head of the oldest ongoing business/civic organization
in Manhattan, he has been working on the business/economic
development, revitalization, and quality of life issues
of the Upper Manhattan area. Also serves as Chairman
of HARLEM WEEK, Inc., Vice Chairman of US Black Travel
& Tourism Association, President of Greater Harlem
Housing Development Corporation, Vice Chairman of
Harlem Visitors & Convention Association, etc.
has been an enlightening and historic program. Following
Abraham Cooper, I guess it is quite appropriate for
me, not Japanese, not Jewish, to share with our friends
the opportunity and time to recognize others from
around the world who played a very significant role
in dealing with humanitarian issues during World War
II and beyond. I am here because of strong relationships
with Mr. Ueda. And I want to take a moment to recognize
Mr. Ueda. I have traveled many thousands of miles
over a couple of days and we will be going back shortly
to speak for a few moments. It is something I would
do at the request of Mr. Ueda and his distinguished
associates from Tigre because of what they mean to
As a student of history and teacher of history, the
name, Mr. Sugihara, has been in my mind and lived
for many, many years. I spent much time studying World
War II and the related ethnic and international divisions.
I am very pleased that I have been here today. Here
a number of continents are represented in this room.
They are Asians, Europeans and of course that which
I represent the African and Caribbean portions of
the world. I bring to you great greetings from a good
friend of Tigre, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, a
unifying force in our country pulling together the
issues that are important to Japanese interest, to
Jewish interest and obviously to the interest of the
Caribbean-American and African-American communities.
I spent a few years not only dealing with my associates
in Japan, but also I want to recognize another one
of my associates we spent many, many days early in
the morning, talking about African-American, Caribbean-American
and Jewish interest with Mr. Michael Miller from the
Jewish Community Relations Council. We have an African-American
and Jewish leadership group that meets to talk about
multiple issues around the world and in particular
around our region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Out of that exchange, we've been able to share and
introduce a person who has been quite important to
us, Mr. Katsuya Abe. Mr. Abe representing the culture
and education and business sectors of Japan has reached
out to make sure that there is a collective relationship
between our communities and I am very pleased to be
To the survivors, I had an opportunity on yesterday
evening of briefly talking with Mr. Manski and his
wife. I am not sure if they can ever understand what
that brief exchange meant to me. Just to hear Mr.
Manski speak about his family, the experience and
what Mr. Sugihara meant to them, and their experience
living in Japan for short period of time, and then
coming over to the United States, and their treatment
there, and to see him here today with his wife. If
you can just imagine how many, many, many hundreds
of, thousands of miles he has traveled from 1941 to
this period of time to be here. To the other survivor,
Nathan Lewin, I just would like to let you know how
meaningful your remarks were. The organizer of this
Celebration, you are to be congratulated because not
only you did it but the quality and the manner you
put behind it. It's really important that we have
Sugihara essay winners. I had an opportunity to meet
with those three extraordinary essay winners. I ask
them to stand again. If you would, please do stand
up. They have come from different sections, from the
east coast of America to the west coast. People do
essays and they win but what sometimes they write
do not reflect the quality of the individual. In a
very brief period of time I have been with all three,
there is a consistency of the quality of their essay
to the decency of three young persons. And I'm very
proud of that.
I want also to say to my distinguished associates,
Carl and Fay Rodney who will be part of the next program.
They have a distinguished publication called, CaribNews.
Mr. Ueda and Mr. Abe and his associates have joined
with us for the last couple of years and went to the
Caribbeans for the international business conferences
that the Rodneys hosted so that we could bring the
Asians, the persons from Latin America, Europe and
the United States to talk about how we do international
business. I am very honored that they are here. Karl
is a member of the Board of our Chamber. This is my
second time of being with the Rodneys in Japan. I
know how difficult their schedule is. And the fact
they are here speaks volumes for the respect they
have for the interest of the partnership with Japanese
friends, but more importantly for what the Sugihara
legacy is. Thank you very much for your coming out.
It is hundredth year and we are going into another
millennium and it is quite interesting not only because
it's not the centennial celebration of Mr. Sugihara
but also because it is as important as ever in the
next few centuries because the real issue in front
of us is going to be to remember what he stood for,
what he did, and to remember the time that some of
us right now are forgetting, what happened to this
world just short sixty years ago.
In closing, I have really come because as an African-American,
my family is really from the Caribbeans, but as an
African-American, I understand the connection. The
connection between that which happened to the Jews
in Europe, that which happened to the Japanese in
America during World War II, and that which happened
to my people in America, past and today. And there
is a connection. The only way that we take advantage
of that connection is to communicate. By communicating,
we will find a way to create a better life for those
who follow us.
I close by simply saying that, if you really want
to understand Mr. Sugihara, I would like you to take
a look at his wife. If you just look at her, and if
you just listen to what she said in her speech and
how she said it, and if you look at her family, you
will understand Mr. Sugihara. The brief words that
Mrs. Sugihara said spoke volumes. She could not have
said more than what she had actually said in a short
period of time. And I looked at her face and saw the
quality of Mr. Sugihara. And I just say to Mrs. Sugihara
and the family that we are so honored to be in your
presence and we so much appreciate your sacrifice
and the sacrifice of your husband and your family.
Thank you very much for your time.
Jewish Community Relations Council Of New York
Mr. Miller began his career in Jewish communal service
in 1976 as a United States Army Chaplain in Fort Knox,
Kentucky. Later, he was appointed spiritual leader
of a congregation in Springfield, Massachusetts. He
currently serves on many boards and frequently acts
as a consultant on a wide range of local, national
and international issues.
to Jewish tradition, it is proper to begin remarks
by offering honor and respect to one's hosts. Thus,
on behalf of the organization I represent - The Jewish
Community Relations Council of New York, the central
resource and coordinating body for over 60 different
Jewish organizations in the New York area, and the
one and a half million Jews who reside there, I offer
profound gratitude to Chairman Akashi, Vice Chairman
Ueda, and the organizers of this historic event. Further,
I am deeply appreciative of the warmth and embrace
my wife, Phyllis, and I have received here in Osaka.
We are honored to be here. Thank you.
Two thousand years ago, our sage Rabbis, our great
teachers wrote that: gHe who saves one life
it is as if he saved the entire world.h
We are here tonight to pay tribute to one man, Chiune
Sugihara, who, according to our Rabbis, saved not
only one life, one entire world, but 6,000 worlds.
6,000 individuals whom he did not know, whom he never
met, whose personal lives were oblivious to him, who
were of a different race, who practiced a unique religion,
who spoke multiple languages, who were strong, who
were weak, who were tall, who were short, who were
scholars, who were laborers, who were saints, who
Chiune Sugihara saved 6,000 worlds, extending the
hopes and dreams of men, women and children, who by
fate, were Jewish by birth and who, through the cruelty
of the rulers of the period nobel laureate Ellie Wiesel
referred to as the gKingdom of Nighth
were doomed to certain, if not excruciating death.
In an environment that reeked of pain and extermination,
Chiune Sugihara, this diplomat from Japan, brought
more than a glimmer of solace and renewal, dignity,
humanity, and justice.
I am not a Holocaust survivor. I was born in New York,
in the United States in 1949 after the war. My parents
were born in America. My mother's parents were born
in New York. My father's parents came to America around
1900. I know of no family members who were murdered
during the Holocaust. Not one.
But as a Jew, I feel the loss of every fellow Jew.
The six million Jews killed by the Nazis were my brothers
and sisters, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins. The
million and a half children so callously cut down,
who never had a chance to grow, are very much a part
I never met Chiune Sugihara. But I have encountered
several of the worlds he saved. Until a month ago,
little did I know that my friend from high school
and college, the man with whom for the past 16 years
every Saturday, every Jewish Sabbath, I study Jewish
law, this fellow Ira Jaskoll, is the son of the late
Szaps Jaskulka. Szaps, in 1940 as a 20 year old yeshiva
student made his way from Poland to Kaunus, to Kovno,
Lithuania. In Kovno he received the gift of life from
Sugihara - a visa, a copy of which I brought with
me. Szaps made his way to Kobe and then to the United
States. He married, had several children, one of whom
is Ira, my friend, who married the daughter of Holocaust
survivors, and they have four children and one grandson,
born in Israel.
And yet another world. Our oldest daughter is dating
Benjamin Kohn, a fine young man from a wonderful Jewish
family. This past week I was informed that Ben's grandfather
Chaskiel Meir Kohn, a Polish Jew, was the recipient
of a Sugihara visa in Kovno, Lithuania. Grandfathers,
to fathers, to sons, to grandsons. These are but two
of the 6,000 worlds saved by Chiune Sugihara. Two
worlds that touch me, my wife, my family very personally.
What can I say to the Sugihara family? To offer my
thanks? Yes, of course, and from all the Jews in New
York and around the world! But does that really suffice?
Indeed, there is a more profound expression of our
everlasting indebtedness to Chiune Sugihara.
I was invited to propose a toast. And in the Jewish
tradition when one raises the glass we offer the penultimate
message today, in the presence of Mrs. Sugihara, to
the memory of the honorable principle for which Chiune
Sugihara stood. L'Chaim! To life!
New York Carib News
Carib News 18 years ago in order to serve as a bridge
between Caribbean-American community and the larger
community. Currently serves as Chairman/CEO of Accent
Travel & Tours, publisher of Easy Magazine, a
board member of the New York United Way, a member
of Advisory Board of the Caribbean Cultural Center
and Gentlemen, I've been asked to do a very simple
task and that is to extend congratulations to the
essay winners. And we've heard a lot about the past
which we should respect, but these essay winners are
the ones that we must ask to lead the charge. And
so my task is going to be rather simple. It is not
only to congratulate the winners but also charge them
with grasping what all his efforts mean to today and
what they can mean to them in the future.
I'd like to say thanks to the organizers of this event
because it is so significant for us as we talk about
globalization, and as we talk about humanity. If we
can't live together, much in the same way as Sugihara
had saved lives driven by humanism, then all of what
he has accomplished mean nothing. So we must say thanks
to the Tigre group, we must say thanks to the experience
shared by the survivors. And for all the talk by the
leaders in the Jewish community and certainly in the
Japanese community. So I want to say thanks for that
experience and thanks for the courage that brought
about today's happening.
As we move forward, that gratitude was expressed in
such a way as we can feel a deep sense of belonging
to the process. And while we move on, we know that
effort and sacrifice went into making today possible.
So thanks to Mrs. Sugihara for the sacrifice you've
made through all the years of sticking with your husband.
We really need to say thanks to you in a profound
To the scholarship winners, I would like to say congratulations.
Congratulations because you've put into words what
is being attempted here in honor of Consul Sugihara.
The task is to do the right thing.
The Essay competition was founded in 1995 with the
sponsorship of the Holocaust Oral History. This project
enjoys cooperation from the New York City Board of
Education. The contest targets 10th to 12th grade
public school students and invite them to examine
the moral dilemma of Sugihara. In the word of Sugihara,
humanity must come in the first place more than anything
else. And out of this shared conviction we are congratulating
the winners of the essay. It is also here that we
challenge them. We must challenge them not just to
look at the essay in terms of writing, but how you
can now live your lives and not only that impact your
colleagues because the future belongs to you and how
you can through your experience here continue to make
the world a better world and certainly for all of
us, a better place.
We have three winners. Allison Vuona, 18, a resident
of Massachusetts, now a premed student at University
of Rhode Island. Emile Brock, 18, currently attending
a college in his own state, California. Nicholas Sher,
17, a senior high school student in New York City.
When I was told that I would be extending congratulations,
I thought whether or not I should have private conversation
with each one and then I decided, against that.
But then I had an opportunity to sit with them at
lunch. And I can tell you all three are not only bright
individuals but also you can get a sense of comfortableness
in talking with them. They are no hang-ups, they are
very given-taken in the conversation, have no hardlines,
but three young people who saw within themselves a
way of moving and living, and I was just happy to
watch and observe them much in a way Lloyd Williams
did. You can see there three individuals who will
contribute something of significance to this world.
So I say congratulations to all three and to charge
them with coming out of today's meeting to move forward,
work to make this world a better world much in a way
Sugihara did in this time.
(In order of appearance at the
Copyright (C) The Chiune Sugihara
Centennial Celebration Committee 2000, all rights reserved.