Chinese 'Schindler' remembered
reference: Jerusalem Post
China remembered today a diplomat who
ushered more than 1,000 Jews out of Austria during the Second World
Justice for `Taiwan's Schindler'DIASPORA: A WW II hero who helped Jews escape persecution was falsely accused of embezzlement, says his son who has been trying to clear his father's name
Reference: Taipai Times
By Irene Lin
Oskar Schindler, a German-Catholic industrialist, saved more Jews from the gas chamber than any other single person during World War II. As his legend grew, particularly after the release of Steven Spielberg's movie, Schindler's List, more stories of such courageous individuals were discovered around the world.
Ho Feng-shan Consul General of China in Vienna between 1938 and 1941, was also one of the "Schindlers," who took enormous risks to rescue Jews and others facing persecution and peril during the Nazi Holocaust.
His heroic past, along with those of other international diplomats, was told in a New York exhibition in April, "Visas for Life: The Righteous Diplomats," sponsored by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Risking his career and even his life, Ho issued visas that allowed Jews to escape the Nazis. As the exhibition proved about the diplomat who died in 1997, Taiwan people take pride in his courage and honor him as "Taiwan's Schindler."
Sadly, the name of the human rights hero was tainted with an impeachment for embezzlement in 1985, where he was charged by a former subordinate of embezzling US$300 and other minor counts.
Ho Feng-shan's son, Ho Mon-to director of clinical research at the National Health Research Institute, has sought to have his father's name cleared since 1978, when he was elected as a member of the Academia Sinica.
Having collated records from evidence given by his father and written documents, Ho Mon-to and his younger sister became even more convinced their father was falsely accused and determined to put the record straight.
"When my father was appointed ambassador to Colombia, from Bolivia in 1970, he refused to recommend his subordinate to a consular position. This led to the subordinate's accusations two year later," said Ho.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs once sent its staff to investigate the accusations against my father and they found the story had been fabricated," Ho said. "But strangely enough, the ministry never released the results of the investigation nor told my father of them personally.
"It was only from media reports that my father came to know that his subordinate had filed complaints against him to the Control Yuan." The Control Yuan, the watchdog body for public officials, later referred the case to the Judicial Yuan's Committee on the Discipline of Public Functionaries, which then impeached Ho Feng-shan and suspended him from official posts for three years in 1985.
Ho Feng-shan, who had already retired at the time of the impeachment, never returned to Taiwan to contradict the charges and spent the last years of his life in the US with his family.
Having tried in vain to exonerate his father's name, 73-year old Ho Mon-to said now is the best time to clear the accusations.
"Despite the results of its investigation, the foreign ministry has failed to restore my father's reputation. So it was with a feeling of irony that in April I saw the ministry honor my father as an outstanding diplomat who had made a great contribution to the country," Ho said.
"The disciplinary action actually had little effect on my father who had by then retired from official posts. But from our point of view as the son and daughter, we cannot allow his name to continue to be tainted by groundless charges."
Ho said few people can distinguish an accusation from a conviction and believes his father's reputation cannot be fully restored until the foreign ministry or judiciary formally quash the charges against him.
Israel's government, which has been dedicated to looking for "Schindlers" from different countries, is considering awarding a medal of grand-honor to the "Taiwan Schindler."
"For Taiwan, Ho's home country, the only way his honorable acts can be properly recognized is to clear his name," his son said. "Before then, it's impossible to talk about honor at all."
Honour for envoy who saved Jews
Saturday, December 30, 2000
SCMP - MARK O'NEILL in Beijing
Ho Feng-shan was consul-general of the Republic of China in Vienna between 1938 and 1940 and issued visas to hundreds, possibly thousands of Jews, in defiance of explicit instructions from his superior, the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, and pressure from the Nazi government.
He issued visas to Shanghai to those who wished to go there and to others who wanted to go elsewhere but needed a visa to leave Nazi-occupied territory.
Israel awards the honour of righteous among the nations to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II.
The Yad Vashem museum of the Holocaust in Jerusalem will present the award on January 23 to Mr Ho's son and daughter, both US citizens, at a ceremony to be attended by families of those to whom he gave visas and officials of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and from the Chinese Embassy in Israel.
But no one will be there representing Taiwan, the Republic of China that Mr Ho served through a long and distinguished diplomatic career, because his family objects to their presence.
After 1945, Mr Ho was ambassador to several countries in South America, including Colombia, his last post before he retired in 1970. One of his colleagues accused him of misappropriating US$300 (HK$2,334) while he was ambassador in Bogota, a charge angrily rejected by him and his family, who say that it was trumped up by a subordinate bitter that Mr Ho did not recommend him for a promotion.
After his retirement, he did not return to Taiwan and moved to California, where he died in 1997. The Taiwan Government never paid him a pension or cleared his name. In 1985 he was impeached and barred from any official post.
His family is so bitter about his treatment by the Taiwan Government that they asked that no representative be invited to next month's ceremony.
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