Faraway: Get Out of Your World
Dr. Ho Feng-Shan, the Chinese Counsel General in Vienna during World War II saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by providing visas to Shanghai. His story is not well known.
On March 30, 2014, a symposium was held at the Consulate General of China in San Francisco to honor this humble man who has become known as, China’s "Schindler”. His daughter attended the event and related how she had not known much about her father’s work during the war. True heroes never think of themselves as doing anything out of the ordinary, hence they feel no need to bring attention to their deeds. The following excerpt from the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum website tells Ho Feng-Shan’s extraordinary story:
From 1933 to 1941, Shanghai became a modern-day “Noah’s Ark” accepting around 30,000 Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust in Europe. In the “Designated Area for Stateless Refugees” in Tilanqiao area of Shanghai, about 20,000 Jewish refugees lived harmoniously with local citizens, overcoming numerous difficulties together. By the time the Second World War ended in 1945, most of the Jewish refugees had survived.
On June 11, 2008, the Pictures Exhibition “Dr. Feng Shan Ho and Jewish Refugees – From Vienna to Shanghai” debuted at the Museum. Dr. Feng Shan Ho was born on Sept. 10, 1901 in Yiyang, Hunan Province. He was Consul General in Vienna during 1938 and 1940, and was known as China’s “Schindler”. After Kristallnacht in 1938, the Nazi persecution of Jews escalated. In consequence, thousands of Jews ran from embassy to embassy in order to obtain foreign visas so that they could leave Europe. Any visa at that time was a “Visa for Life”, because it could save a life. While, the 32 attending countries at the international conference on refugees in Evian, France, on July 6, 1938, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, refused to accept Jewish immigrants, Dr. Feng Shan Ho issued “Visas for Life” to thousands of Jews, despite his superior's opposition. Jakob Rosenfeld had come to Shanghai with a visa given by Feng Shan Ho. During the two years from 1938 to May 1940 when Dr. Ho was transferred back to China, he gave an unknown number of “Visas for Life”. Research has revealed that during the five months from May to October 1938, Feng Shan Ho gave out over nineteen hundred Chinese visas to Jews in Austria.
On Sept. 28, 1997, Dr. Ho passed away in San Francisco at the age of 96. On Jan. 23, 2001, the Government of Israel held a ceremony to unveil the “Monument of Dr. Feng Shan Ho -- Righteous Among the Nations” at Yad Vashham in Jerusalem, and officially honored him as “Righteous Among the Nations”.
On June 6, 2008, the US Senate passed a resolution honoring Dr. Feng Shan Ho to: 1) reward and honor him for his great courage and love by giving visas to Jews, in spite of personal risks, in Vienna during 1938 and 1940; 2) advocate his heroic deed of saving thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. It is reported that the bill was the first that commended China of all China-related resolutions by the US Congress in 2008.
Here is the link to the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum website:
China Daily USA ran an article about the event in San Francisco.
Here is the link: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/us/2014-04/01/content_17396146.htm