Chronology of Honoring Dr. Feng Shan Ho

 

Dr. Feng Shan Ho was the Chinese Consul General stationed in Vienna, Austria, 1938-1940.  After the German annexation of Austria (the Anschluss) in March 1938, thousands of Austrian Jews wished to emigrate from the country.  In order to do so, they needed destination visas.  Dr. Ho willingly, and on his own authority, issued thousands of visas to desperate Austrian Jews.  Issuing visas was against the wishes of his supervisor and the official policy of the Chinese government.  Dr. Ho was eventually reprimanded by his superiors for aiding Jews.

For decades, Dr. Ho’s activities were unrecognized, except by the Jews whom he had saved.  The Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats program read of Dr. Ho’s activities in an obituary published in the Sacramento Bee after his death in 1997.  The Visas for Life Project contacted Dr. Ho’s daughter and son and, with them, conducted several years of research to determine the specifics of Dr. Ho’s actions aiding Jews in Austria.

Neither of Dr. Ho’s grown children had any idea of the extent of their father’s rescue of Jews in Austria.  Dr. Ho did not discuss his activities in Vienna with them.

The Project found a number of Jewish survivors who had received Ho visas in Vienna.  They provided testimony of his activities on their behalf.  This extensive research and the testimonies were submitted to Yad Vashem for consideration for Dr. Ho being recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.  Dr. Ho’s actions were deemed to be worthy of recognition and he was honored by Yad Vashem in July 2000.  Dr. Ho was finally recognized 62 years after his courageous actions.

The Visas for Life Project curated three major exhibitions on Dr. Ho, which circulated worldwide.



September 28, 1997
Dr. Feng Shan Ho dies in San Francisco at the age of 96.

October 1997
Dr. Ho’s rescue activities in Vienna are discovered by Eric Saul, director of the Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats Project through an obituary written by Dr. Ho’s daughter, Manli Ho.

Visas for Life Project discovers in Kranzler’s book that Ho issued visas to Recha Sternbuch in support of her rescue activities out of Bern, Switzerland.  This is the first written record, outside of Ho’s memoires, that verifies his rescue activities.

Genya Markon, of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, refers the Visas for Life Project to the Goldstaub brothers, who received multiple visas from Dr. Ho in Vienna.

Visas for Life Project interviews the Goldstaub brothers and receives copies of their Ho visas.

Visas for Life Project institutes large scale research project on Dr. Feng Shan Ho.  There is a large scale search of literature on the Holocaust in Austria.

April 1998
Dr. Feng Shan Ho honored in Visas for Life: Diplomats Who Saved Jews exhibit at Yad Vashem Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Memorial Museum, Jerusalem, Israel.  Manli Ho, daughter of Dr. Feng Shan Ho, is sponsored by the Visas for Life Project.

While in Israel, the Visas for Life Project discovers additional Ho survivors.

November 1998
The Visas for Life Project curates a separate version of the Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats exhibit that will specifically tour throughout Europe.  The exhibit opens in Bern, Switzerland.  In attendance is the President of Switzerland.  Manli Ho is sponsored to attend this exhibit by the Visas for Life Project.

The Visas for Life exhibit is translated into German.

1998
The Visas for Life Project does extensive research on the rescue of Jews in Marseilles, France, 1940-1941.  During this research, Visas for Life Project discovers a Chinese diplomat who was very active in supplying visas to the Emergency Rescue Committee, the Nimes Committee, the AFL-CIO, the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), and the various Yishuv and Mossad rescue operations working out of Marseilles.

October 17, 1999
Dr. Ho honored in an exhibit at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, the first time that Dr. Ho is honored exclusively.  The Centre produces an important catalog on Dr. Ho’s rescue activities.  This catalog is distributed widely throughout the United States, including at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

The Visas for Life Project discovers the Seeman sisters, who received Dr. Ho visas, in Vancouver.

1999
The Israeli Foreign Ministry circulates the Yad Vashem version of the Visas for Life exhibit that opened in April 1998.  This exhibit tours throughout the world.  Dr. Ho is featured in this exhibit.

Dr. Ho is featured in an extensive catalog produced by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Dr. Ho is featured in an exhibit at the Holocaust Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan.  This exhibit is arranged by the Visas for Life Project, and Manli Ho is hosted by the Center and attends the opening of the exhibit along with members of the family of Sugihara, who was also honored in the exhibition.

January 2000
Dr. Ho honored in Visas for Life exhibit at the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust in Stockholm, Sweden.  Manli Ho is sponsored by the Visas for Life Project.

This exhibit is attended by the King and Queen of Sweden and by Per Anger, the Swedish diplomat who worked with Raoul Wallenberg.

Visas for Life presents the Ho story to two Chinese journalists who widely disseminate a news story throughout the Chinese-speaking world.  This is one of the first major news stories on Dr. Ho.

April 4, 2000
Dr. Ho honored in Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats exhibit opening at the United Nations headquarters, New York City.  Dr. Ho’s exhibit is expanded for showing in the United Nations.

May 2000
Visas for Life exhibit opens at the national convention of the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C.  Dinner attended by U.S. Secretary of State, the Prime Minister of Sweden and the President of Germany.  Manli Ho’s accommodations are sponsored by Visas for Life and the American Jewish Committee.

July 2000
Dr. Ho honored in Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats exhibit opening at the United Nations European headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.

July 7, 2000
Dr. Ho is designated “Righteous Among the Nations,” Israel’s highest award.

August 2000
Visas for Life exhibit opens at the National Museum in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  In attendance is the President of Slovenia.  Dr. Ho is honored in this exhibit.

2000
Visas for Life Project arranges for Dr. Feng Shan Ho to be honored at a special dinner by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.  Manli Ho is sponsored to this program.  The Simon Wiesenthal Center produces a 5-minutes film on Dr. Ho’s life.

Dr. Ho is honored in a special feature article in the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest.  The article is written by Claudia Cornwall, whose family was helped by a Chinese diplomat in Hamburg, Germany.  This article documents in detail how the Visas for Life Project discovered Dr. Ho, publicized his story and made Dr. Ho an international hero.

The Visas for Life exhibit opens at the Denver Public Library.  Dr. Ho is prominently featured in the exhibition.  During this exhibition, the Visas for Life Project discovers a Chinese visa issued in Milan, Italy.  The visa was issued to the Weiss family.

January 2001
Family members of Dr. Ho, along with members of the Visas for Life Project, travel to Israel to attend Dr. Ho's ceremony honoring him as a Righteous Person.  His name is inscribed on the commemorative Wall of the Righteous.  He is the third person of Chinese ancestry to be so honored.

September 2001
Visas for Life exhibit is translated into French and opens at the Memorial du Martyr Juif Inconnu at the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris, France.  Exhibit opening ceremony takes place at the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) of Paris.  Opening is attended by the Mayor of Paris and members of the Rothschild family.  Dr. Ho is honored in the exhibit.

September 10, 2001
Dr. Ho is honored on the centennial of his birth in Yiyang, in Hunan Province, China.  His family attends ceremonies and brings with them an exhibit on Dr. Ho's life, which was curated by the Visas for Life Project.

Dr. Ho is also honored at the former Yale-in-China campus in Yali, China.

Dr. Ho is honored in a special ceremony at the national library in Beijing, China.  The Visas for Life: Dr. Ho exhibit is opened by the Ho family.  This exhibit is co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy in Beijing.

Visas for Life Project builds these special exhibits for display in China.  Visas for Life helps to underwrite expenses for these exhibits.

2001
Dr. Ho is honored in a Visas for Life exhibit at the Presidio of San Francisco.

January 2002
Wing Luke Museum in Seattle, Washington, opens exhibit honoring Dr. Ho.  This exhibit was proposed by the Visas for Life Project.  Manli Ho was sponsored to attend the opening by the Wing Luke Museum.

April 2002
Visas for Life exhibit is hosted by the London Jewish Community and Cultural Centre at King's College, London.  In attendance is the Mayor of London and numerous Ambassadors.  Dr. Ho is honored in this exhibit.

October 2002
Visas for Life exhibit shown at Boston University, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee.  Dr. Ho is honored in this exhibit.  Later, an article appears in the Boston Globe as an Op-Ed piece.

Visas for Life exhibit shown at Rider College, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, New Jersey.  Dr. Ho is honored in this exhibit.

November 2002
Visas for Life exhibit opens at St. Mary's College in San Antonio, Texas.  Dr. Ho is honored in this exhibit.

Dr. Ho is honored in a special program in New York City sponsored by Boys Town of Jerusalem.  Manli Ho attends the program and receives the prestigious Jan Zwartendijk award on behalf of her father.

December 2002
Visas for Life exhibit opens at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, and then tours to Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa.  Dr. Ho is honored in this exhibit.

May 2003
Visas for Life exhibit opens at the Marshfield Public Library, Marshfield, Wisconsin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sponsored by the Milwaukee Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.  The exhibit is also shown in Milwaukee.  Dr. Ho is honored in these exhibitions.

September 2003
Visas for Life exhibit opens at the City Hall in Vienna, Austria.  Dr. Ho is the featured diplomat in the exhibition.  Many families of the diplomats travel to the opening of the exhibition.  The exhibit is widely covered in the press.  Manli Ho is invited to represent her father and is sponsored by Visas for Life and the Jewish Committee in Vienna.  Numerous articles appear in the local press.

Manli Ho is able to interview Joni Moser, who received a Ho visa as a young man in Vienna.

October 2003
Visas for Life exhibit shows in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, sponsored by Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Charles Schumer.  Dr. Ho is featured in the exhibition.

December 11, 2003
Visas for Life exhibit opens at the Arts and Cultural Center sponsored by the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in North Miami, Florida.  Guests of honor were the Mayor of Hollywood, Florida, and former US Attorney General Janet Reno.  Visas for Life arranges to have Manli Ho invited to this program to represent her father. 

February 2004
Dr. Ho is honored in an exhibit at the Binyaneh Ha’ooma Convention Center in Jerusalem, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee.

Dr. Ho is honored in a special program at Boys Town in Jerusalem.  Manli Ho is hosted by Boys Town.

2017
As of 2017, 2 Chinese individuals have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.  They are Dr. Feng Shan Ho and Pan-Jun-Shun.

 

Updated October 29, 2017