Much of Shanghai’s Jewish Quarter has disappeared, but visitors still can see some of the buildings, like this one, where thousands of refugees lived alongside the city’s residents. 

Jewish Life in Shanghai’s Ghetto (The New York Times)

Published: June 19, 2012

SHANGHAI - While much of the city’s Jewish Quarter has disappeared in the years since the end of World War II, the Ohel Moshe Synagogue is a constant reminder of how this Chinese city saved tens of thousands of Jews fleeing the Holocaust.

Built by Russian Jews in 1927 in the Hongkou district in northern Shanghai, the synagogue was the primary religious destination for the Jewish refugees who flooded into the city.

And while its facade has not changed, the building now is the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. It is the first stop for many visitors seeking information about what the Holocaust scholar David Kranzler called the “Miracle of Shanghai.”

About 20,000 refugees settled around the synagogue, in an area called the Restricted Sector for Stateless Refugees but more commonly known as the Jewish Ghetto. The 2.68 square kilometers, or about a square mile, which was cordoned off by the Japanese who controlled the city, also was home to 100,000 Shanghaiese, who were welcoming to their new neighbors, according to Jian Chen, the museum’s director.

“After the end of the Pacific War in 1945, the European Jewish refugees slowly left Shanghai,” Mr. Chen said. “However, they always looked upon Shanghai as their second home, calling the city their ‘Noah’s Ark’.”

(via Soviet Samovar)

  August 11, 2012 at 12:36pm via The New York Times
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