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Jewish Tour in Shanghai ---- History Study Tour

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Old January 4th, 2006, 07:48 AM posted to rec.travel.asia
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Default Jewish Tour in Shanghai ---- History Study Tour

Jews in Shanghai ----- Part One

While the Nazis were frenziedly persecuting and slaughtering Jews in
Europe over fifty years ago, some people upholding justice stood up
boldly to rescue the Jewish victims of Nazi terror. Raoul Wallenherg, a
prominent Swedish diplomat, saved thousands of Hungarian Jews by
distributing Swedish passports. Chinue Sugihara, Japan's consul in
Kaunas, Lithuania, granted transit visas for more than 2,000 Polish
Jews, enabling them to escape from the Holocaust. The true story told
by the film Schindler`s List is now known to all. However, at the same
time, the governments of many countries imposed strict restrictions on
the entrance of Jewish refugees. Especially after 1938, almost all
countries closed their doors to the desperate Jews. Their refusal to
accept those people struggling for survival on the verge of death was
tantamount to choking living beings.

Viewing what the non-Jewish world had been doing to Jews. In
retrospect, we, the people of Shanghai, are proud of the fact that when
all the civilized world closed its doors to Jewish refugees, Shanghai
provided a vital haven and every possible relief for them. The
authentic and vivid pictures of this Photo Gallery will tell readers
the unforgettable story about the Holocaust survivors in Shanghai and
also remind them of the unique history of the Jewish community of
Shanghai. From the middle of the 19th Century, Shanghai served as a
focus of Jewish immigration to China. By the end of the 1930s,
Sephardic Jews, Russian Jews and Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe in
Shanghai amounted to over thirty thousand, forming the largest Jewish
community in the Far East. The community had its own communal
association, synagogues, schools, hospitals, clubs, cemeteries, chamber
of commerce, publications, active political groups (especially Zionist

Sephardic Jews immigrated to the city from British-ruled areas like
Baghdad, Bombay and Hong Kong as early as the second half of last
century. After entering Shanghai, they soon demonstrated their trading
capability and did very successful business. Among them, several
notable families like the Sassoons, the Hardoons and the Kadoories
became economically strong in Shanghai and even across China. Close
ties with international corporations and the financial centers of New
York and London enabled the Shanghai Jewish community to support a wide
range of political and cultural activities. In the period when the
European Jewish refugees swarmed into Shanghai, financial support to
them from both Shanghai Jewish business circles and American Jewish
organizations like JDC was abundant and vital.

Russian Jews came to make a living in Shanghai via Siberia and Harbin
after the pogroms and revolutions in Russia at the beginning of this
century. Most of them arrived in Shanghai with hardly any money and
struggled to open some small business. As time went by, through their
own endeavor, a number of Russian Jews became middle class, and with
their ever increasing number, far more than the Sephardic Jews, very
soon they were beginning to play an active role in the social life of

There were many outstanding intellectuals and professionals among Jews
coming to Shanghai. Their influx infused the Shanghai Jewish community
with a singular level of creativity and variety. Enriched by their
contributions, the community organized active and vigorous educational,
recreational and sports activities. All the teachers and students of
Mir Yeshiva, a famous Yeshiva in Europe, some 400 in number,
miraculously survived the Holocaust and continued their studies in
Shanghai throughout the war. Particularly. Shanghai Jews had
extraordinary success in the print media. From 1903 to 1949, more than
fifty Jewish newspapers and magazines came out in Shanghai in English,
Russian, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Hebrew and Yiddish.
From 1939 to 1946, more than thirty German, Yiddish and Polish

newspapers and magazines were published by Jewish refugees in Shanghai.
This intellectual experience would not have even been contemplated by
them in their authoritarian countries of origin.

What is especially worth mentioning is the mutual respect, sympathy and
support between Shanghai Jews and Chinese people. In history, both the
Chinese and Jewish nations contributed so much to the civilization of
the world. And Chinese people experienced untold sufferings as Jewish
people did. Over 35 million Chinese were killed and wounded by Japanese
fascists during wartime. This same experience gave Chinese people deep
respect and sympathy for Jewish people. As early as April 24, 1920, in
his letter to Mr.N.E.B.Ezra, one of the leaders of Shanghai's Jewish
community, Dr.Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China, wrote:
"All lovers of Democracy cannot help but support the movement to
restore your wonderful and historic nation, which has contributed so
much to the civilization of the world and which rightfully deserves an
honorable place in the family of nations. "Soon after Hitler's
anti-Semitic campaign started, Madame Sun Yat-sen (Ms.Song Qingling)
headed a delegation to meet with the German Consul in Shanghai, and
lodged a strong protest against Nazi atrocities. Her delegation
included all the important leaders of The China League for Civil
Rights: Dr.Cai Yuan-pei, Mr.Lo Shun, Dr.Lin Yu-tang and so on. After
the middle of the 1930s, Shanghai witnessed more and more denunciations
and protests against anti-Jewish outrages in Europe. The indignation
they expressed at German fascists was undoubtedly meant as an
inspiration to Chinese people who were strenuously resisting Japanese

Likewise, Shanghai Jews also gave firm support to the Chinese
national-democratic movement and resistance against Japanese aggression
Besides the well-known Morris "Two-Gun "Cohen, who was a faithful
friend of the Chinese national-democratic cause, there are some more
examples. Mr.Hans Shippe, a writer and reporter from Germany, was the
first Jewish volunteer to fall in battle on China's soil during her war
against Japanese aggression. He left Shanghai and joined the New Fourth
Army in 1939. On November 30, 1941, several days before Pearl Harbor,
he died with a gun in his hand in an engagement with Japanese troops in
Yinan county, Shandong province. Chinese people erected a monument for
him near the battlefield. I should also mention DrJacob Rosenfeld with
deep respect. He came to Shanghai from Austria as a Jewish refugee in
1939 and left Shanghai to join the anti-Japanese war in 1941. He served
in the ranks of the Communist-led army for ten years, obtaining the
highest rank as a foreigner of Commander of the Medical Corps. Chinese
people will never forget his great contribution in helping resist
Japanese aggression and establish the People's Republic.

Half a century has passed. "Shanghai Jews" and their descendants are
now living in all parts of the world. But they still regard Shanghai as
their "homecity". Their energy, creativity and influence have gone far
beyond their number. Especially, they have become an important force in
promoting the development of the traditional friendship between Chinese
and Jewish people, between China and Israel, and between two of the
oldest civilizations in the world.

For more info, please contact Lawrence Ling in our office.

Shanghai Ctrip Charming Int'l Travel Service
1230 Si Ping Road, Shanghai, China, ZIP 200092
Tel.86-21-65039765 Fax:86-21-55572033 Mobile:13301854858


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