Culture\Film and TV

Wartime drama spotlights Chinese hero of the Holocaust

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-29 07:58

Wartime drama spotlights Chinese hero of the Holocaust

The TV series The Last Visa will be broadcast on Jan 1. [Photo provided to China Daily]

When Gao Mantang visited Prague, he was stunned to see tens of thousands of graves of Jewish victims who died during the Holocaust.

The European journey to retrace World War II history gave Gao, a scriptwriter, the inspiration to pen his new TV series, The Last Visa.

The 46-episode series, inspired by the late Chinese diplomat Ho Feng-shan's heroic deeds during the war, will begin its run on Beijing Satellite TV on Jan 1.

Hailed as China's Oskar Schindler, Ho served as the consul general of the Kuomintang government's consulate in Vienna between 1938 and 1940. He saved about 4,800 Jews from the Holocaust by issuing them visas to flee to safety in defiance of his superiors.

"It's true history that has been hidden for 78 years," says Gao, who was in Beijing to promote the series last week.

"In Europe, many researchers or old people know the history, but it is not known in China. I feel sorry about that and hope the series will ensure that more youngsters know Chinese humanism and greatness during the war," says Gao.

From The Legend of Entrepreneurship to The Chinese Old Peasant, the veteran author is known for his handling of history-themed tales.

Gao is behind more than 20 hit dramas and respected as one of the most commercially successful writers in the country.

The diligent author says he has the habit of interviewing as much as possible before beginning to write.

"I heard Ho's story around 10 years ago, but there were very limited historical records about him, and the timing was not right to shoot abroad," says the 61-year-old author.

According to media reports, Ho hardly mentioned his deeds to his family or friends until the very end of his life.

His story drew worldwide attention by accident. When Ho's daughter published his obituary in 1997-mentioning the tale of him saving Jewish friends held at gunpoint by the Gestapo-it attracted the attention of a curator and pushed historians to dig out the story.

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