2020 07 29 an official ceremony took place at the Sugihara House during which, financial aid from the Gifu Prefecture in Japan has been officially given to the Sugihara House in Kaunas.
The donation ceremony was remotely attended the Governor of Gifu Prefecture Mr. Hajime Furuta, the Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Gifu Prefecture Yukio Murase, the Mayor of Yaotsu Masanori Kaneko and the Ambassador of Lithuania to Japan H.E. Gediminas Varvuolis. Ramūnas Garbaravičius, Chairman of the Board of the Sugihara Foundation, Visvaldas Matiošaitis, Mayor of Kaunas, and Juozas Augutis, Rector of Vytautas Magnus University, also took part in the ceremony and gave their speeches.
2020 coronavirus pandemic has deeply struck the Sugihara House. Like many museums and other small NGOs, The Sugihara house had close the museum for 3 months. Even after opening up on June 17th only a few people visit the museum every day, making it impossible for the museum to collect enough funds to maintain itself. Thus, we are extremely thankful to the people of Gifu Prefecture for their generosity. We would also like to thank the embassy of Japan in Lithuania, for their aid in not only organizing this event, but for their time and effort in helping us get our message across to Japan.
Here is the speech that the head of Sugihara Diplomats for Life foundation Mr. Ramūnas Garbaravičius gave when accepting the financial aid:

Governor Hajime Furuta, Honorary consul of Lithuania Yukio Murase, Mayor of Yaotsu Masanori Kaneko, your excellency ambassador of Japan Shiro Yamasaki, ladies and gentlemen,

For this special occasion, I am incredibly happy to greet you all here and through you with all the other sincere Japanese people who acknowledge their fellow countryman Chiune Sugihara and his heroic deeds, who know that exactly here, in Kaunas, in this house, eight decades ago the Visas for life were issued.

Being in the face of the pandemic made us all once again realise what is solidarity and compassion. All of us faced those ordeals. As if all the doors closed before our eyes. Sugihara house, in recent years visited by many from all over the world, especially from Japan, became empty. We, the ones who, twenty years ago, established the Sugihara foundation “Diplomats for Life” are truly glad for our efforts had received such vast recognition, however the quarantine had become one more challenge on how to keep this wonderful and unique place afloat.

Gifu prefecture, the honorary consulate of Lithuania, and the town of Yaotsu, which also had commemorated the deeds of Chiune Sugihara, and which had been working closely to strengthen the connection between Kaunas and Lithuania, when the heavy situation of the museum became apparent, decided to help the museum so it could keep on working and continue on with the mission.

We are extremely thrilled and grateful for the given support, without which it would be nearly impossible for us to survive this situation.

Lithuanians have this proverb “a friend in need is a friend indeed”. This donation, and the help from other Japanese people had showed us we truly do have friends in Japan. In these times of need, we receive support from our friends and from those who we do not yet know. They support us with significant amounts and with little ones.

It is wonderful, when people donate their time, money, and strength to help preserve the memory of Sugihara. These actions change them and they change the world. Their donations are incredibly large not for the monetary value but for the heartfelt sincerity. It has been said “Verily I say unto you, This poor widow hath sacrificed most of all who have put in the ark of sacrifice. And they sacrificed all that they had unto them; and she cast from her poverty all that she had, and all her resources.”.

I clearly remember these lines from the Torah “He who saved one child saved the world”. Neither Sugihara, nor Zwartendijk were not trying to save the world, they merely saved person after person, child after a child. But how many worlds have they saved!

And they did it silently, without expecting a reward. As if illustrating the idea in which the Bible, the Torah and the Bushido, the code of samurais, all believe in – good deeds are made in silence. They both acted humanely, without believing they were enacting any feats of honour.

It is highly important to learn the lesson which Sugihara had taught us, that one person, while exacting his duties before people and before God, can save the world. However only the next generations will be able to understand and appreciate it (or maybe they won’t). But it is not of the main importance.

If there are miracles in this world, they are not connected to technology or institutions, but with the hearts of human and the secrets of humanity. Even though I am a follower of exact sciences, I believe statistics are not of most importance, but rather the human belief in his own abilities.

I realize the diplomatic mission in looking for the balance between remembrance and oblivion, between justice and acceptance. But at the same time, I tell you, inside every human the negotiations between conformism and generosity are always prevalent. In any case, I am sure that this is the material from which the bridges between nations and civilizations are being built. It is the main point which allows us all to understand each other.

Once again, I thank our friends from Japan for the helping hand, I thank them for recognizing the efforts of Sugihara foundation “Diplomats for Life” had put in actions building bridges between Lithuania and Japan, between Japan and Europe. It is not only a matter of honour – it gives us strength, encourages us to not tire out, and enhances our belief in the future that matters.

Thank you very much!