Jewish Refugees' Shanghai Affection

Former Ohel Moshe Synagogue
Former Israeli President Chaim Herzog
visited the museum
Today, the Shanghai Jewish Community no long exists. The once Jewish refugees are  widely spread around the world. Though being different in profession, character and preference, they have one thing in common, the Shanghai Affection. They always take Shanghai as their hometown, and call themselves "Shanghainese". They set up social organizations, organize different kinds of activities and issue a variety of publications. The long-term relationship is well kept among themselves.

Since China introduced the reform and opening-up policies, many Shanghai Jews returned to visit friends, seek roots and reunite with their former neighbor. Stroll in Hongkou, the Bund and Nanjing Lu, they are so excited to see the transformation of the city. More and more Jewish visitors would like to visit Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, including the brick houses once the Jews lived in. At sight of the familiar place, many Jewish seniors were on the verge of tears. To the kind help the local people offered several decades ago, they always remain thankful.

Sarah, a Russian Jew who lived in Shanghai for ten years during the Second World War, heartily admired the kindness and tolerance of Chinese people. Early in 1916, due to the serious Anti-Semitism in Siberia, her family had to move to Harbin for shelter. During Japan's aggression to China, because of the economic depression, she had to seek fortune to Shanghai with her husband. After a ten-year life in this city, they returned to Israel in 1949.
Visitors enter the museum
Tourists visit 
Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum
The life in Shanghai has greatly influenced the Sarah's life later in Israel. The decoration in her house is much like a traditional Chinese family in 1930s to 1940s. In the living room, the wooden square table with Chinese carved designs is orderly laid out. Several Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling. In the middle of the wall, there is a picture depicting red-crowned cranes. Many kinds of Chinese traditional handcrafts are displayed in the cabinet against the corner. A picture of old Shanghai Bund was hanging on the wall in the porch. All the carefully arranged details reflect the master's deep Shanghai affection, though it is already 60 years after the farewell to the city.

"I bear bright emotion to China, for my husband and my son were born there, and my parents-in-law were buried there. I have spent my finest hours in China. Chinese people, being educated or not, always remain polite and helpful. They treat everybody alike. From the bottom of my heart, I take China as my second hometown." Sarah said with tears stand in her eyes.

Today, the fast city construction in Shanghai almost made the old city districts lay flat at one night. But one piece of land has survived, that is Tilanqiao, the "Small Vienna" where the Jews once lived in. Considering the value of protecting the cultural relics, the local government keeps it away from the destruction of modern construction. Currently, more and more Jews of new generation continuously pay visits to the places where their forefathers once lived in. They are very grateful to see the old buildings are well kept. Many of them will invest in the city, and some advice to build a shopping and entertainment zone in typical Jewish style in the area. Shanghai, is still the bridge to connect the development of friendship between Chinese people and the Jews.

 Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum:
 Jewish Refugees' Life in Shanghai      Jewish Refugees' Shanghai Affection
- Last modified on Apr. 10, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Jewish Refugees\ Shanghai Affection
Asked by Mr.Roy Biondi from USA | Dec. 25, 2010 13:48Reply
Were the jews free to wander from the camps? wre jewish refugees those the escaped from german holocost. Is the refugee camp similar to the japanese refugee camp in the USA?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ms.Cindy | Dec. 26, 2010 03:47

This is not a camp, actually. This museum is only one of the site. During World War 2, there were over 30 thousand jews came to Shanghai. They lives in Tilanqiao, Zhoushan Road area, Hongkou district. They gradually live like local people.
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