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An Escape from the Heat
A Place to meet Friends

By
Ralph Harpuder

Most Shanghailanders may recall the sweltering and unbearable heat waves experienced in the Shanghai Ghetto during the summer months. It happened when the hygrometer (humidity sensor) reading, even in the evening, equaled the numerical output on the thermometer, that refugees escaped from their flats to a cooler place.
 
For those with some extra Yuans, there were several open-air cafes (figure one), operated by refugees, where one could spend a comfortable evening consuming a glass of Natovic’s “Obi” (figure two), or a bottle of fruit “Kwass” (figure three). There was also the Corso Garten, not illustrated, that was located in the lane at 24 Ward Road, right in back of the police station on Muirhead Road.

A more popular open-air café was the Mascot Roof Garden (figure four, photo, (courtesy H. Eisfelder) located on the roof of the Broadway Cinema at 57 Wayside Road (figure five, photo R. Harpuder, 1999). During my return trip with my wife to Shanghai in 1999, our personal tour guide took us to the top of the Broadway Cinema where the view, as we can see from figure four and figure six, almost remained the same.

Since my last report about a photo taken sixty-three years ago, yours truly was again fortunate to find two additional vintage photographs (figure seven) never before published, of refugees relaxing in two of the above-mentioned garden cafes.

Again, I wish to solicit the help from anyone to help identify the persons shown in the photographs.

There were, of course, other restaurants and nightclubs owned by refugees that operated the year around. They too provided that certain Gemütlichkeit (coziness) and Abwechslung (change in atmosphere), so much needed during those harsh and difficult days in the ghetto.