During the Second World War, Japanese-occupied Shanghai became a haven where Jews fleeing Nazi persecution stayed for quite some while. Shanghai’s Jewish Quarter, in the Tilanqiao neighbourhood of Hongkou district, was home to over 20,000 Jewish settlers. The Shanghai Jewish Refugees museum now stands in the place of the old synagogue and the whole area has been revamped to commemorate this period in history.
There have been a number of events held in Tilanqiao over the past week in a lead-up to the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. This includes the reopening of the iconic Jewish coffee house the White Horse Cafe, which was recently restored to its original state. The museum is also showing a musical-theatre performance over the next two months called “Shalom Shanghai” (苏州河北), featuring Chinese and international actors, spoken in English, Mandarin and Yiddish.
As part of the 70-year anniversary celebrations, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the Israeli Consulate in Shanghai commissioned director Ariel Margalith to make a short film expressing thanks from the Israeli people. Featuring in the video is Nobel Prize winner Robert Aumann, magician Hezi Din, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and even some of the last surviving WW2 refugees. The video, reminding us of a brighter side in the historical moment, has been shared by thousands of people on Chinese social networking.
Watch it here:
by Daniel Cunningham