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CHGS

Kristallnacht

Dr. Feng Shan Ho, Chineses ambassador to Egypt and the Mideast in his Cairo office in 1947.

On November 9 and 10, 1938, the Nazis orchestrated an antiJewish pogrom known as Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in Germany and Austria. The Nazi governor of Austria ordered the houses of all Jews searched. Thousands of Jews were arrested. Four thousand, six hundred Viennese Jews were sent to Dachau.

In Vienna, dozens of synagogues were destroyed, and 12,000 Jewish workshops and 5,000 Jewish shops were ransacked and closed. "Vienna presented an extraordinary spectacle with fires raging all over the city and Jews being hustled along the streets, cursed at and assaulted by crowds of hooligans," the British Consul General in Vienna reported.

Dr. Feng Shan Ho and his wife, Shauyun Hwang Ho, in Cairo, Eygpt, in 1947.

 

In Linz, Hitler's hometown, all Jewish inhabitants were arrested and ordered to move to Vienna within three days.

Kristallnacht in Austria began on the morning of November 10. That day, Consul General Feng Shan Ho had an encounter with the Gestapo, who appeared at the home of his Jewish friends, the Rosenburgs. They came to arrest the residents and "search" the house. Ho had provided the Rosenburgs with visas to Shanghai and had come to their home that morning to escort them to the train station. Although the Gestapo agents pulled a gun on him, Ho was able to thwart them, so that his friends could leave safely.

Other families did not have such help on Kristallnacht. One such family was the Grossfelds. The father, Morris, a bank officer in Vienna, was arrested and sent to Dachau after the SS kicked down the door and ransacked the family's apartment.  The elder Grossfeld was released only after his wife, Stella, obtained and presented Chinese visas to Nazi authorities as proof of emigration. She obtained steamship tickets for the family and the Grossfelds took a train to Genoa. They sailed to Shanghai in July 1939

To accommodate so many new prisoners, the Nazis expanded the concentration camps of Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen. Thirty thousand Jews were deported after KristalInacht, more than 10 percent of the Jewish communities of Germany and Austria. One thousand were murdered in the camps in 1938 and 1939.

After KristalInacht, it became even more evident that Jews could no longer survive in Austria. After November 15, Jewish children were barred from public schools. By the end of that month, a curfew was imposed and Jews were denied access to most public places. Virtually all remaining Jewish businesses and properties had been confiscated by the Nazis.

Feng
Dr. Feng Shan Ho and his wife, Shauyun Hwang Ho, in Cairo, Eygpt, in 1947.

Due to Dr. Ho's act of compassion that my parents, Oskar and Berta and eighteen of my father's relatives were able to leave Vienna to start a new life in Shangshai, China.  Had they not received this visa, they would have perished in the Nazi concentration camp as did many friends and relatives who remained behind.

- Harry Fiedler, son of Ho survivors.