In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria (the Anschluss). As a result, about 180,000 Jews in Austria were faced with imminent Nazi persecution, and the only way to survive was to leave the country. It was very difficult for a Jew to get a visa from any of the consulates in Vienna. Dr. Ho Feng Shan rejected this anti-Semitism and decided to issue numerous visas to the Jews seeking to escape Austria after the Anschluss. With his help, thousands of Jewish refugees managed to flee Austria for safe haven in Shanghai.