University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
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CHGS

Timeline

1901

September 10 Feng Shan Ho is born in rural Yiyang in Hunan Province, China. His name Feng Shan means "Phoenix on the Mountain."

1908

Feng Shan Ho's father dies. Ho's family is helped by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission. Ho is educated in their schools.

1926

Ho graduates from College of Yale-in-China.

1932

Ho earns a PhD in Political Economics at the University of Munich, graduating Magna Cum Laude.  He returns to Hunan, China.

May  The Christian Socialist Party forms a government with Englebert Dollfuss as Chancellor of Austria.  Dollfuss takes steps to curtail anti-Semitism by outlawing discrimination against Jews in housing and jobs.

January 30  Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany.

March 22  Dachau concentration camp opens.

April 1  German boycott of Jewish shops and businesses begins.

1934

August 2  Hitler proclaims himself F ührer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Reich Chancellor).  Armed forces must now swear allegiance to him.

1935

Dr. Feng Shan Ho enters the diplomatic service for the Republic of China and is posted in Turkey.

September 15  "Nuremberg Laws": anti-Jewish racial laws enacted; Jews no longer considered German citizens.

1937

Spring Dr. Feng Shan Ho is posted as First Secretary to Chinese Legation in Vienna; Japan invades China.

July 15 Buchenwald concentration camp opens.

1938 

March 12 German troops cross into Austria.

March 13 Anschluss (annexation of Austria by Germany); all anti-Semitic decrees from Germany immediately applied in Austria. More than 185,000 Jew live in Austria, of whom 170,000 reside in Vienna. This is the third largest Jewish community in Europe.

March 14 Cheering crowds greet Hitler as he parades triumphantly through Vienna.

March 18 All Jewish organizations and congregations are forbidden. One hundred and ten prominent Jewish leaders are arrested and deported to Dachau.  Jews are banned from any public activity.

May  The German Nuremberg Laws, which forcibly segregate Jews in Germany and deprive them of citizenship and livelihoods, are officially enforced in Austria.  More than 200,000 Austrian Jews are persecuted under these laws.  These activities would serve as a model for expropriation of Jewish property and expulsion of Jews in future Nazi-conquered territories.

Ho is appointed Chinese Consul General in Vienna, reporting to the embassy is Berlin. Ho issues Chinese visas to Austrian Jews who are being coerced to emigrate; visas are issued on his authority; thousands of Austrian Jews are able to escape to Shanghai, China and elsewhere.

July 6-15  Representatives from 32 countries meet at Evian, France, to discuss refugee policies; most of the countries refuse to let more Jewish refugees into their countries.

July   By end of month, Chinese Consulate has issued more than 1,200 visas to Shanghai.

August 1  SS Lieutenant Adolf Eichmann establishes the Office of Jewish Emigration in Vienna to increase the pace of forced emigration.  Jews emigrating from Austria are automatically divested of all if their proplerty and assets.  The emigrants are required to pay a tax based on the assets they declare.

August - December Police captain Paul Grüninger allows 3,600 Austrian Jewish refugees entry into Switzerland, against orders of the Swiss government. Many of these refugees have Chinese visas issued by Ho.

October 5 Following a request from the Swiss authorities, Germany marks all Jewish passports with a large letter "J" in order to restrict Jews from immigrating to Switzerland.

November 9-10 Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass): anti-Jewish pogrom in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland) 200 synagogues are destroyed, numerous cemeteries are desecrated, 7,500 Jewish shops are looted and nearly 100 Jews are murdered. 30,000 German, Austrian and Sudeten Jews are sent to concentration camps. sent to concentration camps.

November 10 Consul General Feng Shan Ho protects the Rosenburg family from arrest during a Gestapo search of their home.  He issues them visas to Shanghai and escorts them safely to a train station.

June 1938-1939

Many Austrian Jews are released from Dachau and Buchenwald on the strength of the Ho visa.  Jews form long lines in front of the Chinese Consulate in order to obtain visas.  Ho maintains a "liberal" visa policy.  Ho is challenged by the Chinese ambassador in Berlin for issuing so many visas.  Undaunted, Ho continues to issus thousands of visas.

A German decree of November 12th forces all Austrian and German Jews to transfer businesses to non-Jewish ownership.

1938

Ironically, Jews in Austria are fined more than $28,000,000 for the destruction of their property during the Nazi rampage on Kristallnacht.

A curfew is imposed and Jews are denied access to public schools and most public places.  Virtually all remaining Jewish businesses and properties are confiscated by the Nazis.

1938-39

December 6 Japanese government ministers decide that Jews residing in Japanese controlled territories will not be discriminated against or molested they freely emigrate to these territories if they wish.

December 1938 - January 1939  7,000 Austrian Jews cross the border to Switzerland or Italy.  Many of them have Chinese visas.

1938-39

1938 - 1939 18,000 German, Austrian and Polish Jews flood into Japanese- occupied Shanghai, China, some of them bearing Ho visas. Others are Berlin Jews with visas from Frank Foley, British Consular Officer and intelligence agent. In Shanghai, China, Paul Komor forms a relief agency the International Committee for Granting Relief to European Refugees (IC) that helps immigrants with food, housing, clothing and funds and issues passports that allow many Shanghai refugees to leave China.

April 1939 Under a special law, almost all Austrian Jews are evicted from their homes and are gathered into designated streets and selected districts of Vienna.

1939

May 17 British government issues a Palestine White Paper that establishes a limit of 75,000 Jews to be admitted to Palestine over the next five years.  Of these, only 25,000 could be refugees.

July The Soviet Union curtails transit to Shanghai via Poland and Russia.

September 1 Germany invades Poland, beginning of World War II.

September Nearly 70% of the 185,246 Jews in Austria have emigrated.

October 12 Germany begins mass deportations of Austrian and Czech Jews to Poland.

October Hitler implements a euthanasia program, allowing doctors to kill mentally and physically disabled person.

1940

May 20 Concentration camp established at Auschwitz.

May Consul General Ho leaves Vienna.

1941

China breaks relations with Germany and the Chinese Consulate in Vienna is closed.

October 15 Nazi authorities pass a law imposing the death penalty on Jews who leave the ghettos without permission and for "persons who knowingly provide hiding places for Jews."

November 10 The emigration of Jews out of Austria is now officially prohibited.  126,445 Jews had previously been able to emigrate from Austria, thousands with Ho visa.

1942

January 20 Wannsee Conference in Berlin, Heydrich outlines the "Final Solution," the plan to murder Europe's Jews.

November  The Viennese Jewish community is officially dissolved.  Only 70,000 Jews remain in Austria.

1944

June 6 D-Day: Allied invasion at Normandy.

1945

Soviet troops enter Auschwitz concentration camp.  US and British troop liberate the concentration camps at Buchenwald, Dachau, Nordhausen, Bergen-Belsen and other camps.  V-E Day: German surrenders; end of Third Reich.

Of the 185,000 Jews who once lived in Austria, only 1,747 return to Austria from the ghettos and concentration camps. More than 65,000 Austrian Jews died in the ghettos and concentration camps of Eastern Europe.

1945-48 

Thousands of survivors of Hitler's concentration camps emigrate to the United States, Canada and Israel.

1947

Dr. Feng Shan Ho begins a nine year tenure as ambassador to Egypt and several other Middle Eastern countries. During this period, he becomes Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

1948

May 14 The state of Israel is established.

1949

Chinese Civil War ends in a Communist victory on the mainland. Dr. Ho chooses to remain loyal to the Chinese Nationalists who have fled to Taiwan.

1953       

The state of Israel passes a law to honour those who rescued Jews during the Holocaust a commission is established to recognize the Righteous Among the Nations.

1956

Egyptian leader Nassar recognizes & People's Republic of China. Ambassador Ho, as the representative of the Nationalists, has to leave Egypt.

1958-73

Ho serves as  to Mexico, Bolivia and Colombia. In 197 3 Ambassador Ho retires to San Francisco.

after four decades of diplomatic service. The nationalist authorities discredit him and denied him his pension.

1990

Ho publishes his memoirs, Forty Years of my Diplomatic Life.

1997

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

2000

April 1 Dr. Ho is honored in Visas for Life: The Righteous Diplomat exhibit at the United Nations, New York City.