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Chinese Righteous Among the Nations

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As of 1 January 2018, 2 Chinese people have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for rescuing Jews during the Holocaust.[1][2] Below is a list of the Chinese Righteous Among the Nations.

Feng-Shan Ho[edit]

Feng-Shan Ho (simplified Chinese: 何凤山; traditional Chinese: 何鳳山; pinyin: Hé Fèngshān), sometimes translated as He Fengshan[3] (born in Yiyang, Hunan on 10 September 1901 – died in San Francisco, California on 28 September 1995), was a Chinese diplomat who saved hundreds, probably thousands of Jews during the early years of World War II. He is known as “China’s Schindler”.


Ho Feng Shan came from a poor family, and his father died when Ho was 7 years old. A diligent and hard-working student, he managed to enter the Yiyang middle school in the provincial capital of Changsha, and later Yale-China Association. In 1926 he entered Munich University, where he in 1932 earned a PhD in political economics and graduated Magna cum laude.

In 1935, Ho started his diplomatic career within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China. His first posting was in Turkey. He was appointed First Secretary at the Chinese legation in Vienna in 1937. When Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938, and the legation was turned into a consulate, Ho was assigned the post of Consul-General.[4]

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 Évian Conference 31 countries (out of a total of 32, which included 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.[5] Acting against the orders of his superior Chen Jie (陳介), the Chinese ambassador to Berlin, Ho started to issue visas to Shanghai, part of which during this time was still under the control of the Republic of China, for humanitarian reasons. 1,200 visas were issued by Ho in the first three months of holding office as Consul-General.[6]

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 China 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.[7]

Later, Ho Feng Shan served as the Republic of China's ambassador to other countries, including Egypt, Mexico, Bolivia, and Colombia. After retirement in 1973, Ho settled in San Francisco in the United States, where he wrote his memoirs, 40 Years of my Diplomatic Life (外交生涯四十年) published in 1990. After his retirement in 1973, Taiwan denied Ho his pension on the grounds that he had "not properly accounted for" the equivalent of $US300 in embassy expenses. These charges are widely believed to have been politically motivated. Despite repeated appeals, the Taiwanese government has not exonerated him. In the 1980s, he returned several times to Mainland China and also visited his alma mater in Changsha during its 80th anniversary in 1986. He was, some think wrongly, impeached for embezzlement (said to have taken place in 1970) in 1985 by the Taiwanese government.

Ho Feng Shan died in San Francisco at the age of 96. Ho's actions in Vienna went unnoticed during his life (save for a black mark in his act for disobeying orders), but were recognized posthumously when he was awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli governmental organization Yad Vashem in 2001. He is the second of only two Chinese to be given this honor; the first was Pan Junshun.

Pan Jun-Shun[edit]

Pan Jun-Shun (1889 – 1974), was the first Chinese national to be awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations for hiding and sheltering a Ukrainian Jewish girl during the occupation of part of the Soviet Union during World War II.


Pan Jun-Shun moved to Russia in 1916 looking for work. He settled in Moscow where he found work as a laborer. He was unable to return to China due to events surrounding the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent civil war. He married and had two sons while living in Moscow, after which he moved to Kharkov, Ukraine in 1936. His wife died before the outbreak of World War II. This loss was further compounded when his two sons were drafted into the Soviet Army at the beginning of the war, they never returned home and were presumed to have been killed during the war.

During the war, Pan Jun-Shun provided shelter and hiding for Ludmilla Genrichovna, a Ukrainian Jewish girl who had escaped from a detention area set up by the occupying German Army.[8] She escaped through the efforts of her mother who realized that her children were likely to be killed as they were being transferred to another town.[9]

He survived the war and continued to live in the Soviet Union until his death in 1974.

See also[edit]

  • History of the Jews in China
  • Shanghai ghetto
  • Fugu Plan
  • Chiune Sugihara


  1. "Righteous Among the Nations Honored by Yad Vashem (China)" (PDF). 1 January 2018.
  2. "Names of Righteous by Country | www.yadvashem.org". www.yadvashem.org. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  3. english@peopledaily.com.cn. "People's Daily Online -- Feature: Former Jewish refugees revisit Shanghai Ark". english.people.com.cn. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  4. "Daughter of late ROC Ambassador Ho Feng-shan to receive posthumous tribute for her father". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan). Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  5. Crassweller RD. Trujillo. The Life and Times of a Caribbean Dictator. The MacMillan Co., New York (1966). pp. 199–200. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Baruch Tenembaum "Feng-Shan Ho, Chinese Savior", International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
  7. Brief profile of Ho Feng-shan during World War II
  8. "Teaching the Chinese About the Holocaust", Rafael Medoff, Jewish Ledger, November 5, 2010
  9. "Holocaust memorial honours individuals from all countries who risked their lives". Retrieved 2018-09-29.

Further reading[edit]

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