Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Washington - Heroic Chinese Diplomat That Saved Jews At WWII Honored

Washington - The heroic actions of a Chinese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by issuing visas for them to flee Austria are being honoured in an exhibition at the US Congress.

Against the orders of his superiors, Feng Shan Ho, the Chinese consul-general in Vienna from 1937 to 1940, facilitated the safe departure of the Jews in the years immediately preceding the Second World War, including those sent to Nazi concentration camps.

Ho’s extraordinary rescue efforts were not known until after his death in 1997 — thanks to his reporter daughter’s nose for news.

Ho had lived after retirement in 1973 for almost a quarter of a century in San Francisco, California, not far from some of the people he had saved but they never knew it.

“He did not seek publicity, he did not seek recognition, he did not seek compensation. It was enough for him to know that he had done the right thing,” Martin Gold, a member of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, said.

The commission launched the exhibition “On the Wings of the Phoenix: Dr Feng Shan Ho and the Rescue of Austrian Jews” at the rotunda of a Senate office building on Capitol Hill Monday.

“I think the ability and the character of a person who would undertake the humanitarian deed in the first place is then really highlighted by the fact that all he cared about was that he had saved the lives and he was not seeking praise or credit from anybody,” Gold said.

“So all this praise that came to him happened after his death.”

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