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Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story (Rise and Shine) Paperback – September 1, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-"If you save the life of one person, it is as if you saved the world entire." This was the exact sentiment of the Japanese diplomat, Sugihara, and his family in Lithuania in 1941. Contrary to government orders, he issued thousands of visas to Polish Jews who became Sugihara survivors and kept their worn pieces of freedom papers as family treasures. For his selfless acts of kindness, Sugihara received the "Righteous Among Nations" Award and in Yaotsu, Japan, the Hill of Humanity is named in his honor. The Sugihara story is brief and concise, but strong and emotional. It is a story of strong belief in doing what is compassionate and right regardless of the consequences. The strong emotions emerge from the dramatic reading and interpretation by Ken Mochizuki. Children will relate to the feelings of Hiroki, the eldest son, from whose eyes the story is narrated. Respect for family, sensitivity of others, and honor toward parents emanate from the narration. Language differences when the Polish children arrive never make a barrier in play or in empathy. Listening to the story is even more dramatic than reading it. The "Afterword" adds authenticity to the story and brings the entire episode to closure. After listening, teachers can lead discussions about World War II, life-altering decisions, selflessness, compassion, and racial prejudice. This story of honor, love, and compassion presents a view of history that is seldom found in history book. It should be purchased by every public and school library.
Patricia Mahoney Brown, Franklin Elementary School, Kenmore, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.