Dr. Monto Ho
...Monto Ho, 9, was living there with his father, Chinese Consul General Feng Shan Ho, who had been assigned there the previous year.
will relate stories about his
father tonight as the keynote speaker at the Pittsburgh Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation's
Yom Hashoa program in remembrance of the Holocaust.
had a very strong sense of right and wrong," said Ho
, now 79 and living in Upper St. Clair.
..."The Jews wanted to leave, but they couldn't get visas from nations in Western Europe," said Monto Ho, a University of Pittsburgh professor emeritus who has lived in Allegheny County for 47 years. His
father, who died in 1997 at age 96, devoted less than three pages in his
400-page autobiography to his
work helping Austrian Jews escape a nightmare, Monto Ho
Feng Shan Ho and his family left Austria in 1940 when his father was reassigned to the United States, and they lived in Brooklyn for a year, Monto Ho
Japanese troops took over Hong Kong in December 1941, cutting off Monto Ho
"They didn't hear from me for three months," he
In February 1942, Monto Ho
and a small group of high school classmates embarked on a five-hour boat ride for Canton, in mainland China.Since the Japanese controlled both Canton and Hong Kong, travel between the cities was allowed.The students decided that once they got to the mainland, they'd walk along the wintery coast and look for a break in the Japanese line.
"The Japanese could not have soldiers everywhere," Monto Ho
said."We decided we would walk our way into free China."
Japanese soldiers stopped and inspected them several times -- "At the drop of a hat, they would slap you around," he
said -- but each time they were let go.
, who had completed two years of college, applied and was accepted to Harvard
, where he
wife, Carol.They married in 1952 and have two children. Monto
Ho graduated magna cum laude from Harvard
in 1949 with a degree in philosophy and government, intending to return to China to serve his
country as his
father had done.But history, again, interfered.
Mao Tse-Tung declared in October of that year that China was a communist nation, and Monto Ho
, suspicious of the new government, decided to study medicine instead.If he
couldn't serve his
would serve his
"That is the main reason I chose medicine -- to serve," he
said. Monto Ho graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1954 and eventually got a job at the University of Pittsburgh, where he became a pioneer in infectious disease research.He rose through the school's ranks to lead the department of infectious diseases and microbiology, until he retired in 1996. Ho
finally got his
chance to serve the Republic of China in 1997, when he
went to Taiwan to help the country cut down on the overuse of antibiotics that was making the medicines all but useless.Since he
left in 2002, Taiwan's antibiotic use has fallen 50 percent and evidence is beginning to show that the drugs are working as well as they should, Ho said.
"I was able, late in my life, to accomplish something that was always my ideal," he