2014/01/31

In Memory of Dr. Ho Feng-shan and Chiune Sugihara, Two men of Righteous Among the Nations ( Edited )



何凤山 Ho Feng-Shan  

Dr Ho Feng-shan with his OLIVETTI typewriter. I have one too. 



Born September 10, 1901 in YiyangHunan; died September 28, 1997 in San Francisco, Dr. Ho Feng-shan was a Chinese diplomat in Vienna who risked his own life and career during World War II to save more than one thousand Jews. Ho's actions were recognized posthumously when he was awarded the title "Righteous among the Nations" by the Israeli organization Yad Vashem in 2000. He is known as "China’s Schindler." Dr. Ho never mentioned a word about it until his daughter Ms. Manli Ho discovered her father's heroic action. 


After the Kristallnacht in 1938, the situation became rapidly more difficult for the almost 200,000 Austrian Jews. The only way for Jews to escape from Nazism was to leave Europe. In order to leave, they had to provide proof of emigration, usually a visa from a foreign nation, or a valid boat ticket. This was difficult, however, because at the 1938 Evian Conference 31 countries (out of a total of 32, which included the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) refused to accept Jewish immigrants. The only country willing to accept Jews was the Dominican Republic, which offered to accept up to 100,000 refugees. Acting against the orders of his superior Chen Jie (陳介), the ROC ambassador to Berlin, Ho started to issue visas to Shanghai for humanitarian reasons. 1,200 visas were issued by Ho in the first three months of holding office as Consul-General.
At the time it was not necessary to have a visa to enter Shanghai, but the visas allowed the Jews to leave Austria. Many Jewish families left for Shanghai, whence most of them would later leave for Hong Kong and Australia. Ho continued to issue these visas until he was ordered to return to the ROC in May 1940. The exact number of visas given by Ho to Jewish refugees is unknown. It is known that Ho issued the 200th visa in June 1938, and signed 1906th on October 27, 1938. How many Jews were saved through his actions is unknown, but given that Ho issued nearly 2,000 visas only during his first half year at his post, the number may be in the thousands.

Chiune Sugihara 杉原 千畝 





































Despite  the appalling atrocities that Japanese militarists inflicted upon many nations in Asia, in particular, China during WWII, there were some righteous Japanese with a heart of gold.  Mr. Chiune Sugihara, born January 1900 , died 31 July 1986, was a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania. During World War II, he helped several thousand Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Poland and residents of Lithuania. Sugihara wrote travel visas that facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. Sugihara had told the refugees to call him "Sempo", the Sino-Japanese reading of the characters in his first name, discovering it was much easier for Western people to pronounce.[1] In 1985, Israel honored him as Righteous Among the Nations for his actions.


6 comments:

  1. Great post Gerard. That opening photo says a lot about the quality of the man. It's interesting to note that there was also a "Japanese Schindler" - Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese consul general to Lithuania who also saved the lives of thousands of Jews.

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    1. There are Man of Conscious in every nationality. I posted this article about Dr. Ho mainly not only because he has a quality machine but also his courage to challenge his superiors, which most Chinese aren't capable of. Sometimes you are the only one who knows you are right.

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  2. What a good man!

    It is really shameful and incomprehensible that hardly any countries were willing to accept these people who had swords hanging over their heads. My father's family managed to get from Czechoslovakia to Switzerland to Cuba, and eventually to the US.

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    1. Probably these governments didn't know the Nazis were so cruel

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  3. One of my aunts (by marriage) was a Shanghai Jew. Her family fled Germany, headed to America, and then turned toward Shanghai. She spent her childhood in the ghetto there, and in safety. The Germans, if I recall correctly, requested that the Jews be deported, but that never happened. The family had much gratitude for those who helped them escape Nazi Germany.

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    1. Jewish people always remember and forever thankful to Shanghai. They visit the city from time to time. The purpose of this post is to show the cosmopolitan side of Shanghai.

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