Book worm magazine (BWM) interview with Feng Shan Ho
4th June, 1990
BWM: This week’s interview is with Feng Shan Ho on his new book “My Forty Years as a Diplomat”, that was released earlier this year. Hi Feng, first of all, tell me a bit about your early life. Feng: I was born in Yiyang, Hunan Province, in China, in 1901. I struggled to get an education as a child, but I was helped by the Norweigan Lutheran mission. To this day I feel a strong gratitude towards them. In 1926 I entered Munich University and gained a P.h.D in Political economics.
BWM: You have recently released you memoir, “My Forty Years as a Diplomat”, about you career. What inspired you to write this book? Feng: After my retirement in 1973 from my career in the Foreign Ministry in China, I reflected upon what I had achieved in my life. Forty years is a long time, and I wanted to write about the historical events that occurred during my career, as well as my personal struggles.
BWM: What do you think the biggest personal struggle was during your career? Feng: I was the Chinese counsul-general in Vienna from 1938-1940, because I was fluent in German. This was during the Holocaust, and many Jews wanted to immigrate to a safe country. No one would grant them visas to escape. Chen Jie, the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, told me not to give the Jews visas because he wished to be friendly to Germany. I struggled to choose between listening to my senior and doing what I believed to be right and risking my career. In the end, I listened to my heart. I defied Chen Jie’s orders and gave Visas for Shanghai, China to any Jew who asked. I called it a “liberal” visa policy.
BWM: You put your whole career and life at stake in order to save as many Jews as you could. Why did you do this? Feng: Because the Jews had no other way to escape. You did not need a visa to get into China, but a visa was the only way for a Jew to get out of Germany and escape concentration camps and the Holocaust. As I said before, no other country would give visas. I felt a natural compassion and want to help these people by giving them a way to escape. I was in a position where I could aid people, and I chose to do so. God didn’t bless me with such a high ranking position for no reason. He gifted me so I could benefit and help others, which in this case was the Jews. It is estimated that I saved two thousand Jews. This makes me proud, that I helped people.
BWM: Tell me about what the Chinese Government accused you of. Feng: I have been denied a pension because the Government has accused me of spending about USD 300 of embassy money. This is not true, and I believe that the motive for this lie is because I received a “demerit” in my file for issuing visas to Jews. The Government wished to discredit me, and has done so.
BWM: Well, thank you for your time Feng. No wonder you are described as having a “compassionate heart”. Feng: Thank you.
“Resistance does not necessarily involve violence but it always involves choice.” With reference to the above statement, explain the methods used by Jews to resist Nazi policies and practices during the Holocaust (1939 – 1945)
The Holocaust was the systematic genocide of Jews and other undesirables by the Nazis in German-occupied areas of Europe. Some Nazi practices were forcing Jews to live in concentration camps or ghettos, as well as murdering them in numerous ways. Policies included the Nuremburg Laws, which stripped the rights of Jews. Resistance against these activities did not necessarily involve violence; there were both violent and passive ways in which the Jews chose to resist Nazi policies and practices.
Many Jewish people chose to use violent opposition as resistance to the actions of the Germans. This was undertaken in both ghettos and concentration camps. In a number of ghettos, Jewish communities used violence resistance against Nazi activities. Source A is an account of...
Bibliography: Ho, F. (1990). My forty years as a diplomat. Pittsburgh, Pa.: Dorrance Pub. Co.
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Holocaust Resistance: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Jewish Uprisings in Ghettos and Camps, (2013, June 10). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved March 2, 2014, from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005407
Rappaport, D. (2012). Beyond courage: the untold story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press.
Resistance. (1993). Washington, DC (100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington 20024): U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (1999). Resistance [Documentary]. United States of America: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Suhl, Y. (1967). They fought back; the story of the Jewish resistance in Nazi Europe.. New York: Crown Publishers.
The Warsaw Ghetto: Smuggling Food into the Warsaw Ghetto. (n.d.). Smuggling Food into the Warsaw Ghetto. Retrieved March 13, 2014, from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Smuggling.html
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