A cafe that had been a popular gathering spot for Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII has been rebuilt and recently opened in the city’s Hongkou district.
The Zum Weissag Rossi’l Cafe, better known as the White Horse Cafe, was originally opened on Changyang Road in 1939, and was a popular hangout venue for the city’s many Jewish refugees.
It’s estimated that over 23,000 Jews fled to Shanghai while escaping Nazi persecution, as entry visas weren’t required at the time. Many of them lived in Hongkou district’s Tilanqiao neighborhood.
Ron Klinger, the grandson of the cafe’s joint founder, was present at the reopening ceremony on Wednesday along with his wife Suzie.
“A lot of people visited, Jewish people and non-Jewish people. It was like cafe, bar and nightclub. It was very popular,” said 74-year-old Klinger, who said he’d grown up in the cafe.
The three-story building was reconstructed using the original blueprint and stands 100 meters away from its original location, near the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.
Klinger’s grandparents, who came to Shanghai from Vienna in 1938, ran the cafe until 1949. Afterwards, they relocated to Sydney, Australia. According to previous reports, the building was demolished in 2009 to make room for subway expansion.
“World War II was a terrible time. It was terrible for the Chinese people and for the Jewish people,” Klinger was quoted as saying in a Xinhua report.
“My parents often told me that while in Shanghai, they never encountered any hostility, any anti-Semitism, or any unfriendliness from the Chinese people,” he added.
Previously on Shanghaiist: Shanghai seeks UNESCO recognition for Jewish neighborhood
[Image via Xinhua]