Profiles in Courage

Must a hero also be a saint? If a man performs valorous acts in one context, does ambiguity in other areas of his life negate those achievements? Such questions are at the heart of a seething controversy and court case over competing versions of the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who risked his job, his family and his life to save an estimated 10,000 Jews during World War II.

As the Nazi war machine steamrolled across Europe in 1940, thousands of Jews sought refuge in the Lithuanian capital of Kaunas, where Sugihara was Japan's vice-consul. Defying...

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