A new documentary movie “Visas for Life. The Chain of Courage“, created by a Lithuanian team, will be released this Sunday, May 30 during the international online premiere.
During the Second World War, thousands of Jewish refugees from Poland and other European countries could escape the Holocaust through Japan. The visas issued by Chiune Sugihara, Japanese vice-consul in Kaunas (Lithuania), are known as Visas for Life.
The documentary traces the story through the eyes of survivors, inviting to join a tremendous travel, which starts in Poland, crosses different continents and ends in Israel, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, and other new homelands.
“The story of Visas for Life is amazing because of its power to connect peoples, – one of the creators of the movie Dr Aurelijus Zykas states, – Actually, our movie is not just a story about Sugihara. Such diplomats as Jan Zwartendijk, Thomas Preston, Antanas Trimakas, Saburo Nei, Tadeusz Romer, as well as common people in Poland, Lithuania, and Japan, contributed much for the success of Visas for Life. The movie is about their courage and goodwill.”
By following the authentic stories of survivors, the documentary shows that every single link in this long chain of courage was essential.
One of the protagonists is Mr. Berl Schor, who was born in Cracow in 1927, and being 13-year-old boy left his home and escaped the Second World War through Vilnius, Kaunas, Moscow and Vladivostok before reaching Japan. After life in Shanghai and New Zealand he finally settled in Israel.
“Very few things in history altogether are done by one man on one spot at one time. There are generally traces of different ways in life where things connect in totally unexpected ways.” – says Mr. Berl Schor in the opening phrase of the documentary.
Another survivor, Ms. Nomi Kaplan, born in 1933 in Memel (now Klaipėda, Lithuania) and presently residing in Vancouver (Canada) tells: “We have 11 grandchildren, all of whom are wonderful. –We’re very proud of our family. None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for Chiune Sugihara.”
The documentary was created by Aurelijus Zykas, Kristijonas Jakubsonas, and Linas Didvalis with support by the Toshiba International Foundation. It also contains interviews of survivors and their families living in Vancouver (Canada) done by a journalist Ms. Aya Takahashi.
Contact person: Aurelijus Zykas (+370-686-98836)
Date of online premiere: May 30 (Sun). Time: 00:00 (Pacific Standard Time: Canada, US), 8:00 (UK), 9:00 (Central European Time: Poland, France, Netherlands, etc.), 10:00 (Lithuania, Israel, Greece), 16:00 (Japan), 17:00 (Eastern Standard Time: Australia)