Over fifty years ago when the Nazis crazily persecuted Jews, many people with strong sense of justice stepped forward courageously to help Jewish refugees. Shanghai has wide opened its door to help every Jew who faced the point of death.
The Sephardi Jews showed their good head for business soon after coming. The big families including Sasson, Kadoorie and Hardoon grew at a high speed. They actively supported the Jewish community to extensively carry out political and cultural activities, and kindly offered help to the Jewish refugees.
Jewish Wedding in Shanghai
Between 1939 and 1941, about 20,000 Jews came to Shanghai for shelter. Upon landing, they were transferred by Japanese army trucks to Hongkou District and settled down in Huade Lu and Tangshan Lu (present Tilanqiao Area). Though got new home, the life was hard for them.
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From almost nothing, Peter's father started a removal business. Having a good market potential in the city at that time, the business was quickly thrived. Like Peter's father, other industrious Jewish refugees also earned their living by hard work or started their own business. In Huade Lu (today's Changyang Lu), a lot of cafes in typical western styles were opened, giving the street a nickname "Small Vienna". In 1949 when the war ended, Peter, with his family, moved to Sydney and settled down since then. But the refugee life in Shanghai always remains vivid in his memory.
It is calculated that the 25,000 Jewish refugees who came to Shanghai all miraculously survived except those who died of illness. Besides, 408 babies were born. After 1945, under the help of the Repatriation of the International Jewish Committee, they returned to Europe.
Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum:
Jewish Refugees' Life in Shanghai Jewish Refugees' Shanghai Affection