Here’s today’s heartwarmer: A Jew who took refuge in Shanghai during WWII is searching for the nanny who lived with her family when she was a child, Shanghai Daily reports.
The 80-year-old woman, Chaya Small, arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday with a Jewish delegation who came to give thanks to the city for sheltering refugees during World War II.
Small gave a picture of her childhood nanny to the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum yesterday in hopes that someone might be able to track the woman down.
“Anyone who can recognize her or know her children, please let us know,” said Small, who teared up when speaking about her former nanny.
Small, originally from Poland, was six years old when she came to Shanghai in 1942 to escape persecution by Nazis and was among the 23,000 Jews who fled to the city around that time.
“Life has not changed here,” the woman had said during her visit. “Children are still running around me just like in the years when I lived here.”
Small said she really wanted to find the Chinese ama (mother in Shanghai dialect) who was like a family member to her. Whenever she was sad, the ama comforted her even though they spoke different languages.
Small said the nanny lived with them in one room. She knew a lot about the Jewish traditions and took good care of her, her sister and brother. Her mother also taught her some English.
Mickey Abraham, another member of the delegation, also spoke fondly of the nanny who raised him and his siblings during their refuge in the city, specifically recalling the woman’s lovely singing voice.
“Shanghai’s people were very nice to us, and they respected Jewish customs very much,” Abraham told the Global Times.
The delegation of 25 people visited the museum yesterday and exchanged stories in the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue located on 62 Changyang Road in Hongkou district, according to the Daily.
“We want to show our appreciation to the city for giving us life,” said Small. “I’m committed to tell the story of Shanghai. The world has to know — its tolerance and reception.
“Though the place has changed and become crowded, something hasn’t changed. Life doesn’t change and human beings don’t change.
“The memories will come back.”
Previously on Shanghaiist: Why are Jews so smart, ponders retired Chinese official
[Image via Global Times]