מכל מלמדײ השכלתי (duchifat) wrote,
מכל מלמדײ השכלתי
duchifat

The Russian link in the Curacao Visas affair

"...In late July, a scheme started to take shape that eventually saved some 2,200 lives. Somehow the idea was born of using Curacao as a destination. Curacao, an island in the Caribbean, was then a colony of the Netherlands. Holland itself had already been overrun by the Nazis, but its colonies remained free.

Jan Zwartendijk, the Dutch Consul in Kaunas (Kovno), the Lithuanian capital at the time, provided a notation to the Jewish refugees that declared that entry into Curacao required no visa (this was meant to be a ruse: only Curacao's governor was authorized to admit aliens). This notation became known as a "Curacao visa", because it appeared to legitimise Curacao as a destination.

The only potential way to reach Curacao from Lithuania at that time was by train across Siberia to Vladivostok, then by ship to Japan, and on from there across the Pacific. Therefore, a transit visa was required from Japan, allowing travel through that country and a limited time to stay there to arrange passage to Curacao.

Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Consul in Kaunas, was cooperative and issued Japanese transit visas to all holders of Curacao visas, even though he no doubt soon found out that these were not legitimate...
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