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The Friendship Between the
Chinese and the Jewish People

 

An exhibit of the Center for Jewish Studies Shanghai where Professor Pan Guang is the Dean of that organization began on July fifteenth at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

The exhibit (Figure one, also see footnote,) which ran through September second, 2008 celebrated the friendship between the Chinese and Jews that came to light in only relatively recent years. It featured a large array of large photographs of the Shanghai Jewish Ghetto with scenes and personalities familiar to most Shanghailanders (Jewish refugees from Shanghai that refer to each other by that name.)

A commemorative postage stamp, already mentioned in a previous report, produced by the Shanghai Philatelic Corporation (Scott 3290) and attached to a label shows the Ohel Moshe Synagogue in the heart of the former Jewish Ghetto in Shanghai. The issue of the stamp by China helps illustrate the fidelity between the Chinese and the Jewish people before and after the war when Chinese and Jews were living in harmony under extremely difficult times. Built in 1827 by Russian orthodox Jews after they fled the pogroms and settled in Shanghai, the synagogue became the host for Hilary Clinton and several Israeli prime ministers. The stamp with the label is shown in Figure two.

A display of the "Historical Pages of Traditional Friendship between Chinese and Jews" during WW-2 is illustrated in Figure three.

In one of the sections in the exhibit is illustrated in figure four we see yours truly standing in front of a picture of Lucie Harwich, former headmistress of the SJYA school. Second photo of Mrs. Harwich is shown in figure five.

Another Shanghailander, Michael Rogson who also spent his youth in the Shanghai Jewish Ghetto is seen in Figure six, looking at a picture of the Russian rabbi, Meir Ashkenazi, spiritual leader of the former Russian Jewish Community in Shanghai. Also shown in Figure six is a photograph of Judith Ben-Eliezr, then an active leader of the Zionist movement.

A photograph of one of several Heime (shelters) that were home for many indigent refugees was also on display, and a picture of Ghoya, the self-proclaimed "King of the Jews" are both shown in Figures seven and eight respectively.

A number of talented chefs who emigrated from Vienna and had the money opened their own restaurants. One such restaurant was the Delikat located in a popular street called Chusan Road in the center of the ghetto. The restaurant is illustrated in Figure nine.

A hospital operated by Jewish refugees on another popular street called Ward Road where patients were treated for all the endemic and enteric diseases including malaria was also among the many photographs in the exhibit. That photograph of the hospital can be seen in Figure ten

The last two pictures in this report depict Goodbye Shanghai! It shows in Figure eleven refugees leaving Shanghai in 1947 for new settlements in different parts of the world. And on a more recent photograph in the middle of another frame, illustrated in Figure twelve, is Professor Pan Guang, Dean of Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai together with Simon Wiesenthal.

In retrospect with our past experience as Jews living together with the Chinese in the Hongkew Ghetto, we learned that both of us share many similarities with our cultural traditions. We both take serious the bonds of family and the importance of education. Also, China never produced any religious prejudice or racial discrimination that led to anti-Semitism.

The girl on the flier shown in Figure one is Gerda Schwerin. The photo was taken by Horst Eisfelder in a street market in East Yuhang Road. She left Shanghai with her parents and went to Melbourne, Australia. After she got married, Gerda lived in Brisbane, then in Canberra, Australia. She passed away in October, 1988. (Courtesy, Horst Eisfelder)