Nu? Jews in Shanghai? Who knew?
Sonia was the consummate guide of interesting places to go. When I arrived in Shanghai, she gave me several brochures and told me we could go to any of these if I was so inclined. One got my interest immediately - Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. We went to the Hongkou District to check it out.
I pride myself on knowing much of Jewish history, but the story told in this museum was new to me. It seems that from the early 1900's through the end of second World War, Shanghai took in over 18,000 refugees fleeing anti-Semitism and the Third Reich. Much of this was due to Dr. Fenghshan Ho, the Consul General of ROC in Vienna, who issued visas for Jew. In 1943, Japanese occupation authorities established a "Designated Area for Stateless Refugees", and forcibly relocated all Jews who arrived darter 1937 to an area in Tilanqiao, Honkou, where they lived harmoniously with the Chinese residents already living there.
The area of the Museum was small, but we were taken on a short tour through the building that was the former Ohel Moshe Synogogue. We walked through a few exhibits showing pictures of people lives, interviews with some of the Jews who had lived there, and into the prayer area, with torahs still in the Arc.
Then off to a disappointing gift shop. I am not quite sure what I had hoped to find - perhaps a yarmulke with Chinese characters, or a Chai with Chinese symbols - so all I bought was a refrigerator magnet that would prove to my relatives that such a place does exist.
But it does, and I was, as always, moved when I experiences the traces of the journey of the Jewish people, and moved, as always, by the kindness of the people who took them in and protected them in their hour of great need.
Here's Sonia and our friend from the Costa Coffee Shop buying our tickets to the museum.
This would have been a fun book to own! Sadly, no copies were for sale.
Another interesting book that had been turned into a cartoon.
(so, what did Sonia write about in her blog, writtenselfie.blogspot.com ?