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Published on Nov 16, 2016
(7 Jun 2016) A street in Israel was named after Chiune Sugihara on Tuesday, a Japanese diplomat who granted transit visas to several thousand Jews in the early days of the Second World War from his posting in Lithuania. Sugihara's son, Nobuki, attended the street-naming ceremony in Netanya, accompanied by town mayor, Miriam Feuerberg. Known to many as the "Japanese Schindler," Sugihara issued thousands of visas in the months before Russia annexed Lithuania in August 1940 and he was forced to leave the country. He continued to slip blank visas out the window of his train as it pulled away, according to accounts of his departure. Visas issued by Sugihara, who died in 1986 at the age of 86, are estimated to have given around 6,000 Jewish refugees a lifeline out of Europe, though records are incomplete. Their visas enabled them to travel through Russia on the Trans-Siberian railroad, a harrowing journey over thousands of miles that could take weeks, into Japanese-controlled territory in Manchuria. Sugihara was honoured in 1985 with the Yad Vashem medal, one of Israel's highest honours, and a film about him, "Visas and Virtue," won an Academy Award in 1997. Museums at his home town and in Lithuania are dedicated to his memory.