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To mark its 50th anniversary, Israel has issued stamps bearing the likeness of five diplomats who were instrumental in helping Jews escape the Holocaust, including the late Japanese consul of Lithuania, who issued exit visas to refugees, it was learned May 1.

Chiune Sugihara, consul to Lithuania, issued visas to Jewish refugees in July and August 1940, after the consulate had been forced to shut down by the Soviet government. His act, against the orders of the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, is credited with saving approximately 6,000 Jews.

The stamps, titled “Diplomats: Foreigners with Justice,” were issued to honor and commemorate the courageous acts of the diplomats on the 50th anniversary of Israel’s founding on May 14, according to sources.

The roughly 5 cm by 9 cm stamps bear photographs of Jews thronging to the Japanese Consulate in Lithuania, the “life-saving visa” and portraits of the five diplomats.

The other four diplomats honored are Giorgio Perlasca of Italy, Charles Lutz of Switzerland and Aristides de Sousa Mendes of Portugal, who each saved between 1,000 and 10,000 Jews by issuing visas, and Selahattin Ulkumen of Turkey, who managed to convince German troops to release 50 Jews.

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