Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986) was a Japanese diplomat posted to Kaunas in Lithuania during the Second World War, credited for saving the lives of an estimated 6,000 Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust. Against directions from his superiors in Tokyo, Sugihara provided transit visas to refugees that allowed travel through the Soviet Union to the international settlement in Shanghai (to Soviet authorities, they were heading to the Dutch island of Curacao in the Carribean, which did not have any visa requirements. He and his wife worked around the clock issuing thousands of visas written in his own hand, until Soviet forces expelled all foreign missions from Lithuania. His actions led to his forced resignation when he returned to Japan in 1947 after a spell in a Soviet prison, but in 1984 Yad Vashem awarded him the title of 'Righteous Among the Nations'.

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