In the course of human existence, many people are tested. Only a few soar as eagles and achieve greatness by simple acts of kindness, thoughtfulness and humanity. This is the story of a man and his wife who, when confronted with evil, obeyed the kindness of their hearts and conscience in defiance of the orders of an indifferent government. These people were Chiune and Yukiko Sugihara who, at the beginning of World War II, by an ultimate act of altruism and self-sacrifice, risked their careers, their livelihood and their future to save the lives of more than 6,000 Jews. This selfless act resulted in the second largest number of Jews rescued from the Nazis.
For 29 days, from July 31 to August 28, 1940, Mr. and Mrs. Sugihara sat for endless hours writing and signing visas by hand. Hour after hour, day after day, for these three weeks, they wrote and signed visas. They wrote over 300 visas a day, which would normally be one month’s worth of work for the consul. Yukiko also helped him register these visas. At the end of the day, she would massage his fatigued hands. He did not even stop to eat. His wife supplied him with sandwiches. Sugihara chose not to lose a minute because people were standing in line in front of his consulate day and night for these visas. When some began climbing the compound wall, he came out to calm them down and assure them that he would do is best to help them all. Hundreds of applicants became thousands as he worked to grant as many visas as possible before being forced to close the consulate and leave Lithuania. Consul Sugihara continued issuing documents from his train window until the moment the train departed Kovno for Berlin on September 1, 1940. And as the train pulled out of the station, Sugihara gave the consul visa stamp to a refugee who was able use it to save even more Jews.