Ho Feng Shan honored by Houston Jewish community
Updated: 2015-05-02 04:13
By MAY ZHOU in Houston(China Daily USA)
Chinese Consul General Li Qiangmin presents Ho Manli with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award at Holocaust Museum Houston's annual dinner on Thursday. Ho accepted the award on behalf of her late father,Ho Feng Shan. He was Chinese Consul General in Vienna from 1938 to 1940, and he issued thousands of visas to Jews for them to escape the fate of the Nazi concentration camps. [MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY]
Ho Feng Shan, Chinese Consul General in Vienna from 1938 to 1940, was honored with Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award at Holocaust Museum Houston's (HMH) annual dinner on the night of April 30.
Ho issued thousands of visas to Jews for them to escape the fate of concentration camps. As a result, some 18,000 Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai in 1938 to 1940, according to Ho's daughter Ho Manli, who accepted the award on behalf of her late father.
The event, attended by close to a thousand people including many from the Asian community, raised $1.26 million for the museum.
Chinese Consul General Li Qiangmin was invited to present the award to Ho Manli. Li, who is from the same province Hunan as Ho, is no stranger to Ho's humanitarian deed:
"14 years ago, when I was working at the Chinese Embassy in Israel, I started the efforts to spread Ho's story together with my Jewish Friends."
Li said many nations are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in China. "The purpose is to express our love of peace, desire of a better future," said Li.
"My father would of course have been most honored by this award, but he also would have been quite astonished by it. During his lifetime, he neither sought nor received recognition for his deeds. In fact, he rarely spoke about his tenure as the Chinese Consul General in Vienna from 1938 to 1940," said Ho Manli in her acceptance speech.
Because of that, "After my father's death in 1997, it was by chance that I embarked on an 18-year odyssey to find a history that had been buried for six decades. After years of painstaking research and documentation, I have finally been able to piece together this puzzle, but doing so more than seven decades later means that we'll never know the full extent of my father's humanitarian efforts," said Ho Manli.
According to Ho Manli, on April 21a commemorative plaque was placed on the former Chinese Consulate building in Vienna, which is now a Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Lotte Marcus, a Jewish refuge whose family obtained visas from the Chinese Consulate, told her story by video. Her family escaped to Shanghai and she spent more than seven years there before heading to the US. "14 people of our family who did not leave, were all killed," said Marcus, who called Ho "the bright light in the darkness of holocaust".
Along with Ho, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese vice consul in Lithuania, Poland during WWII, was also honored for issuing visas to Jews to save them from the Nazi.
Mark Mucasey, chair of HMH, said that "both men, even though serving on different sides of the battlefields, displayed the ultimate moral courage by using their consular positions to issue visas to save tens of thousands of European Jews."