Israeli and Chinese officials came together to open a new Jewish Memorial Park at the Fushouyuan Cemetery in Shanghai’s Qingpu district on Sunday. The memorial is dedicated to some 20,000 Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai to escape Nazi persecution, and opens just on the heels of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
When speaking at the opening ceremony, Israeli Consul-General Arnon Perlman called for remembrance in future Chinese generations.
“[..] this is something that is very, very important to remember for all of us – whether it’s Jews, Israeli or Chinese – to remember the friendship between China and Israel and between Shanghai and Israel. This is what’s important,” Perlman said.
A memorial stone is in place to commemorate the efforts of Ho Fengshan, a Chinese diplomat in Vienna (Austria, the homeland of Adolf Hitler), who granted over 3,000 visas to Jewish refugees at the risk of being persecuted by fascists himself. In addition, the Israeli consulate is searching for the records of deceased Jewish refugees in Shanghai so that memorial tablets can also be erected in their names. This will all be paid for by the planned Jewish Memorial Cultural Fund, which supports further research as well as maintenance at the memorial park.
The Jewish presence in Shanghai has been growing throughout the World War II commemorations because of performances organised by the Israeli Consulate, “Jews in Shanghai” and the Nadine Animato Dance Company show “American Cinema”, along with the rebuilding of The Zum Weissag Rossi’l Cafe in Hongkou district.
by Daniel Cunningham