Inspired by the incredible true story of the Japanese diplomat who defied his government to save thousands from the Nazis.
THE STAR ON THE GRAVE
by Linda Margolin Royal
Affirm Press (Australia), February 2024
(via DeFiore and Company)
In 1940, as the Nazis sweep toward Lithuania, Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara defies his own government and secretly issues thousands of visas to Jewish refugees desperate to flee. After the war, Sugihara is dismissed and disappears into obscurity.
In 1968 Australia, Rachael Margol, her father and her grandmother live disconnected from one another and haunted by unspoken tragedies. When Rachel announces her engagement to a Greek Orthodox man, it detonates a long-held secret. The Margols are actually the Margolins: they are Jewish, and her family has concealed their identity from her and the world. But why?
As Rachel struggles to understand this deception, an opportunity arrives to travel to Japan with her beloved grandmother to meet Sugihara, Rachel is determined to go but will a journey to Japan, and the secrets it uncovers, heal the Margolins or fracture them for good?
An extraordinary novel inspired by the true story of Sugihara, and the thousands of people – including the author – who owe him their lives. Chiune Sugihara has been called the « Japanese Schindler » and it’s estimated that 100,000 people are alive today because of him.
Linda Margolin Royal was born in Sydney, forever thankful her father and grandparents received life-saving transit visas from Chiune Sugihara in 1940, which enabled them to enter Japan and escape the Holocaust; and ultimately meant they could find a permanent, safe home in Australia in 1941. The remainder of her family were murdered in concentration camps. This work is a labor of love to which she is now devoting her life. She trained as a graphic designer and then copywriter, and spent 30 years in the advertising industry both in Australia and the US, writing TV, radio and press for major multinationals. THE STAR ON THE GRAVE is her first novel.