TOKYO -- A passport containing a transit visa issued by Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), a Japanese diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Jews persecuted by Nazi Germany by offering visas to them during World War II, may go on display at a museum set to open here on March 23.
The passport, which originally belonged to Nathan Bluman (1914-1986) of Poland and has been kept by his family after his death, will be entrusted to the Sugihara Chiune Sempo museum in Tokyo's Yaesu district for a year. Bluman fled to Canada by way of Japan in 1941.
Bluman's sons George, 75, and Bob, 66, brought the passport from Canada to Japan. The passport will be unveiled before guests at the museum's opening ceremony on March 19, becoming the second document of its kind to be publicly released in this country.
To avoid any possible damage to the original copy, a replica of the passport will be displayed at the museum. However, the operators are considering a special showcase of the master copy down the road.
The museum will be run by the nonprofit organization "NPO Chiune Sugihara. Visas For Life," headed by Sugihara's grandson Chihiro Sugihara, and other entities.
Another visa issued by Sugihara has been retained by the Yaotsu Municipal Government in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, since 1993.
(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Tanaka, Cultural News Department)