A Chinese Schindler!
He saved Jews in Vienna....but, some new details emerge about Taiwan..
Old documents uncovered by accident showed that the Republic of China was one of very few countries to help Jewish people escape from the Holocaust during World War II, with tens of thousands fleeing to China, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.
Those documents, however, were not enough to clear the name of one of the main architects of this life-saving policy.
Ali Yang (楊心怡), deputy director-general of the Department of West Asian Affairs, said the ministry was motivated to study the history of the government’s treatment of Jews fleeing the Nazi regime after the story of late diplomat Ho Feng-shan (何鳳山) drew attention several years ago.
Historical documents showed that the decision to grant visas to Jews living in areas occupied by German troops was initiated by Sun Ke (孫科), then legislative speaker, approved by the Executive Yuan and signed by former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), he said.
However, Yang stopped short of elaborating on the material uncovered by the ministry, saying he did not want to leave the impression that the ministry was taking advantage of Ho to bolster its reputation.
Asked by reporters about details of visas issued to Jewish refugees at the time, Yang said that many files were not accessible as they were left in China after the government fled to Taiwan in 1949.
Ho, who served as the Chinese consul-general in Vienna from 1938 to 1940, issued visas to Shanghai to all Jews requesting to leave Austria after the country was annexed by Nazi Germany in March 1938.
Those facts, not known until after his death in 1997, led Jewish organization Yad Vashem to confer upon him the title “Righteous Among the Nations.” He was also known as the “Chinese Schindler” after Oskar Schindler, the subject of a blockbuster movie by US filmmaker Steven Spielberg.