“Even a hunter cannot kill a bird that flies to him for refuge.”
This Samurai maxim inspired one gifted and courageous man to save thousands of people in defiance of his government and at the cost of his career. On Friday I came to Nagoya at the invitation of the Japanese government to speak in honor of his memory.
The astonishing Chiune Sugihara raises again the questions: What shapes a moral hero? And how does someone choose to save people that others turn away?
Most of the world saw throngs of desperate foreigners. Sugihara saw human beings and he knew he could save them through prosaic but essential action: “A lot of it was handwriting work,” he said.
Day and night he wrote visas. He issued as many visas in a day as would normally be issued in a month.
His wife, Yukiko, massaged his hands at night, aching from…
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