Tomas Venclova named annual Person of Tolerance

Tomas Venclova
Tomas Venclova
  © Žilvinas Pekarskas

The Sugihara-Diplomats for Life Foundation has honoured Lithuanian scholar, poet, and translator Tomas Venclova with its Person of Tolerance of the Year award.

In its announcement, the foundation cited Venclova's vigorous opposition to antisemitic and inflammatory articles that appeared in Lithuanian cultural periodicals last year, government-funded broadcaster LRT reported on its web site.

The award is handed out by the Sugihara–Diplomats for Life Foundation to a person who takes an active position against the manifestation of xenophobia, antisemitism, violence, harassment, and radicalism in the Lithuanian public sphere.

Venclova, born in Klaipeda in 1937 and currently a literature professor at Yale University in the US, is the ninth person to receive the distinction.

The foundation is a tribute to the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara who, while posted to Lithuania in the early stages of Word War Two, saved thousands of Polish and Lithuanian Jews from certain death by issuing them transit visas to Japan.