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Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  616 ratings  ·  95 reviews
In 1940, five-year-old Hiroki Sugihara, the eldest son of the Japanese consul to Lithuania, saw from the consulate window hundreds of Jewish refugees from Poland. They had come to Hiroki's father with a desperate request: Could consul Sugihara write visas for them to escape the Nazi threat?

The Japanese government denied Sugihara's repeated requests to issue the visas. Unab
Paperback, 32 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Lee & Low Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you ever doubt your faith in mankind, this true story will restore it for you.

Passage to Freedom tells the amazing story of Chiune Sugihara, who single-handedly saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis. His story was told by his son Hiroki to the author, based on Hiroki's recollections. Hiroki was five in 1940 when his father, Chiune Sugihara, who was the Japanese consul in Lithuania, was begged by Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi onslaught for visas to escape. The Sugiharas were stationed in K
Sandra Bornstein
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Righteous Gentiles are recognized at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. These heroes risked their life as well as their family's during the dark days of the Holocaust. Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story, is one of the few picture books that documents this part of history. The back cover highlights both Jewish and Japanese culture by citing two prominent proverbs.

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 kil
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-bios
There are so many heros whose stories go untold! I am so glad Hiroki Sugihara told the story of his father, Chiune Sugihara. It is a unique and heart-warming tale. The Sugihara family lived in the country of Lithuania. Chiune Sugihara was a diplomat representing the country of Japan. One day, hundreds of Jews from Poland who were fleeing from Nazi soldiers, appeared outside his front door. They desperately needed Chiune Sugihara to issue them visas so they could travel east through the Soviet Un ...more
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara based in Lithuania, is asked to issue visas to let Jewish refugees travel through Russia to Japan to escape the Nazis. He asks Japan for permission but is refused. He decides that his career security is not worth the greater good of saving as many people as he can. He writes until his arm and hand ache for many days. When his government transfers him to Berlin, he is still writing visas from the hotel room and on the way to the train. It is very unfortunate t ...more
May 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Hiroki Sugihara's father was a Japanese consul to Lithuania at the beginning of World War II. Thousands of Polish Jewish refugees came to him, pleading for visas so they could escape the Nazis. Sugihara writes as many documents as possible, despite the Japanese government denying his request.

The artwork is beautiful and the story is well told. I do wonder, however, if the story is a little too advanced for the intended audience. This may work well as a read aloud in Grades 3 - 5 if students are
Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most moving books I have read in a long time. It's just a picture book that is designed for children and the story is a nonfiction simple story. But the story and the message is a wonderful one for all of us.
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
1940, a japanese diplomat in lithuania starts writing visa for jewish refugees fleeing nazis in poland. he does so at great cost to himself and his family but saves the lives of 1000s of people. amazing story about a righteous gentile i'd not heard of.
Julie Suzanne
I never knew about this hero who forced Japan to allow thousands of Jews to seek refuge there. A warm, inspiring story about a dark period in history.

Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
I learn from this book that helping others also helps you....
Shelley Holley
Jul 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A true story of kindness is the middle of horror.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book at our local library's semi-annual book sale as I needed to build up my supply of children's books for my Little Free Library. While checking over the books, I put several aside as ones I wanted to read first. If you have young children, I would definitely recommend this book for kids from 5 on up. The true story is about a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania in 1940 who hand-wrote 300 plus visas and permission slips for Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazi's and were tryi ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Summary:This book is based on a true story about a Japanese government official who aided many Jews from fleeing the Holocaust and because of this he was going against official orders. He has helped so many Jewish people in the Holocaust.

Review: I thought this book was filled with important information that I could use for the Holocaust unit. I enjoyed reading this book because this text not only talks about the Holocaust but there were also people that tried to help the Jewish people during the
Alex Wakeham
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this informational picturebook about Chiune Sugihara, who was a man who wrote a bunch of passports for Jewish people during World War II, his wife and family was encouraging of him and kept him going when he wanted to give up. It was an inspirational story that shows a different perspective of World War II.
Seok Hyeon
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: virtual-book
I could feel the atmosphere of urgent of the situation. I think it is really incredible that he accepted his own sacrifice to help Jewish refugees to escape the Nazis. The book write down the story calmly by child Sugihara's side, so it is more moved. The book can be connected to the teaching of historical incident of Nazis occupation.
Susan Morris
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Wonderful yet simple account of Japanese diplomat who saved lives of many Jewish refugees in WWII. He is only Asian to receive “Righteous Among Nations” award from Israel. Is there an adult account of his story? Would like to read. (Library)
Janine Darragh
Such an important and inspiring true story about how one person really CAN make a difference in the lives of others.
Andrea Kneeland
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Wonderfully told, and a perfect picture book/read aloud for older readers. Would be five stars but the illustrations, completely done in sepia, are not as compelling as they could have been
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very moving story. Great for encouraging empathy and realising people can make a difference. For older children (approximately KS2)
Lucy Dixon
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Would have liked a biographical follow up at the end.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, nonfiction
What an awesome story! I didn't know this happened. I am inspired and excited to share this with others.
Mrs. Ruigrok
I did not know this story and was so glad to have learned about this wonderful man and how he saved the lives of so many people. Inspirational.
Phylisha Stone
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome story. Highly recommend! There are HERO'S everywhere and they come in all shapes , sizes and colors!
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Hiroki Sugihara, the son of a Japanese diplomat posted to Lithuania in 1940, tells how his father suddenly found himself confronted with a terrible dilemma.

Hundreds of Jewish refugees, driven out of Poland by the Nazis after they had invaded and then occupied that country, began to show up at the gates of the Sugihara home, which doubled as the Japanese embassy. The Sugihara's, Hiroki, his younger brothers Chiaki and Haruki, his Auntie Setsuko, and his parents lived upstairs, and his father, Ch
Ariel S
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Genre: Informational Text-Autobiography
This book was set in the early 1900’s about refugees fleeing from Poland to Lithuania. The refugees were Jewish people fleeing from the Nazi’s. They were looking for visas in order to keep traveling through the Soviet Union and eventually Japan to escape the Nazi’s. These refugees weren’t fleeing to America but the story is still an inspiring one. The boy’s father and family had to make a tough decision in order to help or not to help. They decided to help
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This story begins explaining how a Japanese boy and his father saw a young Jewish boy who didn't have any money. The father gave the Jewish boy money, and they were then invited to a Hanukah celebration with the boy. The narrator of this story is the boy that gave the Jewish boy money. His father is a diplomat for Japan. They live in Lithuania. One day while he was playing with his toy soldiers, there were hundreds of Jewish refugees from Poland outside their windows. His father being a democra ...more
Nikki Horne
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book of historical fiction is about a Japanese diplomat and his family, whose last name was Sugihara. It is a story of how the diplomat saved many people from the Nazi's by sacrificing his safety and the safety of his family. He chose to write visas for the people in danger so that they could flee the country and he even went against his own government to do so. It took place in 1940 and is based off of the true story.

One of the things I noticed as I opened Passage to Freedom by Ken Mochiz
Danielle Rapoli
Summary/Review: The story is told from the point of view of Hiroki Sugihara as he watches the struggles his father, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat, deals with while trying to help all of the Jewish refugees who have come to escape the Nazis. The book shows the bravery the father portrays as he risks his life, and potentially his family 19s life as he strives to help as many people as possible. The book gives a whole new perspective from a family during the Holocaust that isn 19t in danger, ...more
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This nonfiction book told from the perspective of his son, is the story of Chiune Sugihara, who gave visas to thousands of Jewish refugees from Lithuania in 1940. It is a beautiful story of care where he put others’ needs above his own, eventually leading in him and his family being sent away to Berlin.
Personal Evaluation:
Sugihara’s story is one I have never heard, but it should be used when teaching children about World War II and the Holocaust. It is a balance amongst the terrible, to know tha
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Passage to Freedom is a multicultural picture book that is told from the voice of a Japense boy whose family is living in Lithuania. He talks about who tells the how his father, Chiune Sugihara, helped thousands Jews flee the country by issuing visas.

This book gave me an new insight to those unsung heroes of the Nazi Germany era. I hadn't ever thought about other families from around the world participated to help families get through that horrific time.

In addition to the great story, the illust
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