Menu JTA Search

Sempo Sugihara Dead at 86

The passing of Sempo Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who aided in the rescue of thousands of Jews facing annihilation by the Nazis in Lithuania during World War Il, was reported here by the World Jewish Congress.

Sugihara, who was 86, was the Consul in the Lithuanian city of Kovno in 1940. Acting against Japanese government orders, he issued transit visas to nearly 6,000 Jews, the majority of whom were thereby able to escape the Nazis after their invasion the following year.

Sugihara was dismissed from the foreign service as Japan was allied with Nazi Germany during the war. He was cited by Israel’s Yad Vashem for his humanitarian efforts, the first Japanese to be so honored.

Sugihara’s memoirs are contained in two books, and a special television program about him was broadcast in 1984.