Sunday, May 8, 2016

The signature of Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Righteous Among the Nations, found in ISA's files

Last Thursday, Israel commemorated Holocaust Memorial day. The occasion gives us the opportunity to present to the public an interesting document from the ISA connected to the story of Jews' escape and survival during World War II.

In the Archives' passport and travel documents collection, we found a passport with the signature of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who was the Vice-Consul in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania in 1940 and distributed visas to Japan to 6,000 Jews. These visas helped save the lives of their recipients. Sugihara received the title of "Righteous Among the Nations" from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Institute in 1984 and passed away in 1986.
Chiune Sugihara/Wikipedia

Chiune Sugihara signature (in the middle of the page)

You can read a more detailed description of Sugihara's noble actions in the Yad Vashem entry about him or on the Jewish Virtual Library site here.

The ISA's collection of travel documents and identity cards from all over the world apparently comes from the Immigration Department of the British mandatory government. People receiving Palestinian citizenship were required to give up their former citizenship and passport. The same procedure was followed in the early years of the State until 1951. A sample of the documents was kept by the Ministry of the Interior, which handed them over to the Archives in the 1980s.

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