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S.Res. 588 (110th): A resolution honoring Dr. Feng Shan Ho, a man of great courage and humanity, who saved the lives of thousands of Austrian Jews between 1938 and 1940.

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 6, 2008 (Resolution Agreed to by Senate).


III

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. RES. 588

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 6, 2008

(for himself, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Barrasso, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Levin, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Kyl, Ms. Collins, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Specter, and Mr. Voinovich) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to

RESOLUTION

Honoring Dr. Feng Shan Ho, a man of great courage and humanity, who saved the lives of thousands of Austrian Jews between 1938 and 1940.

Whereas, at great personal risk and sacrifice, Dr. Feng Shan Ho authorized the issuance of Chinese visas to Jewish persons so they could emigrate from Austria and escape the horrors of the Holocaust;

Whereas it is necessary to honor Dr. Ho posthumously because, in the ultimate demonstration of selfless humanitarianism, Dr. Ho never sought recognition for his courageous actions;

Whereas 70 years ago, Adolf Hitler’s troops crossed into Austria and announced the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria to Germany), thereby applying all anti-Semitic decrees to Austrian Jews;

Whereas the Nazis brutally persecuted more than 200,000 Austrian Jews, by forcibly segregating them, depriving them of their citizenship and livelihoods, and interning them in concentration camps;

Whereas the fierceness of the persecution in Austria became the model for the future persecution of Jews in other Nazi-conquered territories;

Whereas the Nazis initially assumed a policy of coerced expulsion, with the goal of eventually removing all Jewish persons from Europe;

Whereas most other foreign consulates, although besieged by desperate Jews, offered no help;

Whereas a young Chinese diplomat in Vienna, Dr. Feng Shan Ho, refused to stand by and witness the destruction of innocent human beings, and authorized the issuance of visas for all Jews who asked;

Whereas word spread quickly and Jewish persons formed long lines in front of the Chinese Consulate to obtain the lifesaving visas;

Whereas the Chinese ambassador in Berlin ordered Dr. Ho to stop authorizing visas for Jews, but Dr. Ho nevertheless continued, at risk to his career, to prepare the visas;

Whereas in 1939, the Nazis confiscated the Chinese Consulate building, on the grounds that it was a Jewish-owned building;

Whereas, when the Chinese government refused funds to relocate the Consulate, Dr. Ho reopened the Consulate in another building and personally paid all the expenses;

Whereas in May 1940, Dr. Ho left Vienna, having authorized visas for thousands of Austrian Jews;

Whereas after 4 decades in diplomatic service to China, in 1973, Dr. Ho moved to the United States to join his children;

Whereas Dr. Ho became a United States citizen and lived in San Francisco until September 28, 1997, when he passed away at the age of 96;

Whereas the world only knows of Dr. Ho's courageous actions because of a chance discovery among his diplomatic papers after his death, and the full extent of Dr. Ho’s heroism is still being uncovered; and

Whereas in 2000, the State of Israel posthumously made Dr. Ho an honorary citizen of Israel and granted him one of Israel’s highest honors, the title of Righteous Among the Nations, “for his humanitarian courage in issuing Chinese visas to Jews in Vienna in spite of orders from his superior to the contrary”: Now, therefore, be it

That the Senate—

(1)

honors and salutes the great courage and humanity of Dr. Feng Shan Ho for acting at great personal risk to issue Chinese visas to Jews in Vienna between 1938 and 1940; and

(2)

recognizes his heroic deeds in saving the lives of thousands of Jewish persons by allowing them to escape the Holocaust.