- Age Range: 6 and up
- Grade Level: 1 - 3
- Lexile Measure: AD670L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Lee & Low Books; 1st ed edition (May 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1880000490
- ISBN-13: 978-1880000496
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story Hardcover – May 1, 1997
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-6?The story of a Japanese diplomat who saved thousands of Jewish refugees in defiance of official government orders. This little-known Schindler-like account is effectively narrated in first-person style, ostensibly by young Hiroki Sugihara, son of the man who was Japanese consul in Lithuania in 1940. As Nazi soldiers invaded Poland, many Jews crossed the border to Lithuania and hundreds besieged the Japanese consulate for travel visas. Three times, Hiroki's father requested permission from his government to issue visas and was refused. He decided to follow his conscience and obey the dictates of God, rather than his government. For the next month, until he was reassigned to Berlin, he issued and personally signed visas, from dawn to dark, while hundreds stood in line for their passage to freedom. An afterword by Hiroki Sugihara tells of the subsequent history of his family. For children, this story will be a lesson in courage and conscience and a valuable addition to Holocaust materials. For those who have some knowledge of the Japanese/German Axis pact, the remarkable actions of Consul Chiune Sugihara carry an added dimension of heroism and brotherhood above and beyond political pressures. Lee's dramatic full-page, sepia-colored illustrations focus on the faces of the Japanese consul and his family, the Jewish men and women appealing for help, and the children, whose fate lay in the hands of the adults, men and women of different races and cultures caught in a fearful time.?Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-5. Add this to the stories of the Righteous Gentiles. In 1940 Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania, saved the lives of hundreds of Polish Jewish refugees. He personally wrote out visas that enabled the Jews to escape the Nazis. To do that, he risked the lives of his own family and disobeyed the instructions of the Japanese government. The story is told in the first person by the consul's son, Hiroki, who remembers himself at the age of five when desperate refugees were crowding at his father's door. He remembers how his father consulted his family and how they all discussed their choice: if they helped those people, the family could be in danger; if they did nothing, all the refugees could die. Lee's stirring mixed-media illustrations in sepia shades are humane and beautiful; they capture the intensity of those days--when the crowds were at the gate and one man wrote and wrote the visas by hand--from the child's viewpoint. The immediacy of the narrative will grab kids' interest and make them think. And yet, this story cries out for fuller historical treatment than a picture book can give it. So many questions are left unanswered: What happened to the refugees? What happened to the consul's family? A brief afterword just hints at the astonishing drama. Hazel Rochman
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The Jewish proverb- "If you save the life of one person, it is as if you saved the world entire." Japanese Proverb- "Even a Hunter cannot kill a bird that comet so him for refuge."
The book includes an afterward by the son of the hero. Reading about the positive efforts of Righteous Gentiles provides a different perspective to the Holocaust. Sugihara had to decide whether he would follow his heart or follow his government's wishes. Few Holocaust era diplomats and leaders were willing to risk their job and their family's security. This book speaks directly to the choices that all people make. Standing up for what one believes is a character trait that should not be dismissed. This story raises many important questions that can be addressed at various age levels. I recommend that Sugihara's story be included in introductory discussions of the Holocaust.