Jewish and Chinese community hails “Chinese Schindler”

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Jews from Nazi occupied Europe found refuge in China during the Second World War. The photograph shows a road in Hongkew which illustrated the fusion of aspects of China and Vienna. Photo Source: China Expat

Dr. Ho Feng-shan, also known as the Chinese Schinler, saved thousands of Jews just as his German counterpart during the height of the Jewish persecution in the Second World War. For his work, he was named Righteous Among the Nations by Israel in 2000.

A symposium, dubbed as “Symposium on Dr. Ho Feng-shan: The Man and his Spirit” and held at the Chinese Consulate-General this month in San Francisco, honored Dr. Ho with a collection of photographs that told of his heroism. Dr. Ho is a Chinese diplomat in Vienna. Over 200 delegates representing the Jewish and Chinese community attended the event.

The event was organized by the Chinese Consulate-General in San Francisco in close cooperation with the Hunan Association of American and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) San Francisco Bay Area Regional Office.

Consul General of China, Yuan Nansheng, gave a speech honoring the feats of Dr. Ho. He said that it took great risks and sacrifice to rescue Jews during World War II. He further noted that there are hundreds of thousands of other Chinese who, like Dr. Ho, also assisted in the protection of the Jews. After the war, many of these were never recognized. He also said that the deeds of the Chinese who went out of their way showed the selflessness and compassion characteristic to the Chinese people.

He further went on to say that the Chinese and the Jewish people both sided on justice even as they were victims of fascism during the Second World War. Yet, both peoples also took on the responsibility of safeguarding peace and justice and ensure that the horrors of the Second World War will never be repeated.

He shared his hope that the historical experience shared by both the Chinese and Jewish communities strengthen future engagements and cooperation in building a “more solid foundation for increased understanding and friendship” and a new example of relations between the U.S. and China.

California State Assembly Speaker John A. Perez honored Dr. Ho calling him a “brave soul” for what he did during the Second World War. He said that the Chinese’s story shows his spirit and tells of hope. Perez also said that Dr. Ho’s legacy inspires all to create a better world.

President of Rittenberg Associates, Inc. Sidney Rittenberg also graced the ceremony with a speech. Having lived in China for about 35 years, Rittenberg said that China is the largest civilization in the world while the Jewish community is one of  the world’s smallest ancient civilization. Rittenberg further said that historically both communities have been natural friends. The bond between two communities grew with an understanding and hope for world peace and human progress.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China reports that the collection of photographs of Dr. Ho and other historical events told the story and character of Dr. Ho. The presentation was created by his daughter, Manli Ho. 

Eight panelists were also invited to the event to share their inputs on the story of Dr. Ho Feng-shan. Among them are professors from Peking University, Tongji University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and UC Berkeley. They expressed how Dr. Ho’s deeds deepened the connection and cooperation of the Chinese and Jewish communities around the globe. The lively panel discussion was facilitated by Director of AJC San Francisco Bay Area Regional Office Mervyn Danker.

Emcee to the symposium was none other than recipient of an Emmy Award and ABC7 news anchor Cheryl Jennings.