Ho Feng Shan: The 'Chinese Schindler' who saved thousands of Jews. By Wayne Chang

Hong Kong (CNN): When Ho Feng Shan died at the age of 96, he took a secret to his grave. The only clue was a single sentence in his obituary in 1997. Throughout his long life, Ho never mentioned his heroic deeds during World War II – not to his wife, his children or friends. During 1938 to 1940, Ho, the consul general of the then Nationalist Chinese government’s consulate in Vienna, saved perhaps tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust with just a stroke of his pen.

When Jews desperately sought visas to escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, he issued thousands – in defiance of his superior’s orders. The exact number of entry papers Ho issued — and the number of lives saved — may never be known, as too many have already been lost to time. But based on the serial number of one visa nearing 4,000, the best estimate is that thousands of visas were issued.

Ho is often hailed as “the Chinese Schindler,” in honor of the industrialist Oskar Schindler who saved 1,200 Jews by employing them in his factory located in Poland. “Nowadays most people believe that he saved more than 5,000 lives at the time,” said Xu Xin, a professor and a leading expert on Jewish studies at Nanjing University. “More importantly, Ho was probably the first diplomat to really take action to save the Jews.”…


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