University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Gifts From God

Dr. Feng Shan Ho with the calligraphy of the famous  Chinese calligrapher Yu Youren on how to be a just individual. Dr. Feng Shan Ho and his daughter, Manli Ho, in 1976.

I believe Feng Shan Ho was a man of principle and compassion.  His actions were all the more noble because he acted against the instructions of his superiors.  For this I wish to express to him and to his family my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

- Ady-Lagstein Bluds, Ho survivor

"He had received many gifts from God."

Feng Shan Ho joined the Chinese Nationalist government and its foreign service in 1935. After his posting in Vienna, Ho spent the remainder of World War II involved in China's war effort against Japan.

In 1947, he began a nine-year tenure as ambassador to Egypt and seven other Middle Eastern countries. In 1949, when the civil war in China ended with a Communist victory on the mainland, Dr. Ho chose to remain loyal to the Chinese Nationalists, who had fled to Taiwan. He subsequently served as ambassador to Mexico, Bolivia and then Colombia.

In 1973, after four decades in the diplomatic service, Feng Shan Ho retired to San Francisco.

Once he had retired, the Chinese Nationalists in Taiwan launched a political vendetta to discredit Ho publicly with false allegations of a petty misappropriation of funds at his last posting. Ho presented evidence of his innocence, but it was futile. The real reasons behind this political vendetta were never revealed. Ho was denied a pension for his 40 years of service to China, and more than two decades later, his name has not been cleared.

Dr. Feng Shan Ho lived modestly in his retirement. He devoted himself to writing, to his Church and community. He was a founding member of the Chinese Lutheran Church in San Francisco and a trustee of the Yale-China Association. He wrote his memoirs,  "Forty Years of My Diplomatic Life," published in 1990. He was a well-known and respected member of the Chinese community with a wide-ranging circle of friends.

On September 28, 1997, Feng Shan Ho died at his home, attended by his wife and daughter. He was 96years old. His spirit remained undiminished to the end. The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, representing the Communist government, sent a wreath to his memorial service. The Nationalists, whom he had served honorably for a lifetime, made no mention of his passing.

Why was Feng Shan Ho willing to help the Jews of Austria when most others would not? His reason was simple: "I thought it only natural to feel compassion and to want to help. From the standpoint of humanity, that is the way it should be."