A Century of Jewish Life in Shanghai

A Century of Jewish Life in Shanghai


Edited by Steve Hochstadt

Touro University Press
ISBN: 9781644691311 (hardcover)
Pages: approx. 220 pp.
Publication Date: December 2019


For a century, Jews were an unmistakable and prominent feature of Shanghai life. They built hotels and stood in bread lines, hobnobbed with the British and Chinese elites and were confined to a wartime ghetto. Jews taught at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, sold Viennese pastries, and shared the worst slum with native Shanghainese. Three waves of Jews, representing three religious and ethnic communities, landed in Shanghai, remained separate for decades, but faced the calamity of World War II and ultimate dissolution together.

In this book, we hear their own words and the words of modern scholars explaining how Baghdadi, Russian and Central European Jews found their way to Shanghai, created lives in the world’s most cosmopolitan city, and were forced to find new homes in the late 1940s.

Steve Hochstadt taught history at Illinois College 2006-2016, after teaching at Bates College in Maine for 27 years. His grandparents escaped from Vienna to Shanghai in 1939, and his research focuses on the Holocaust. His book Exodus to Shanghai: Stories of Escape from the Third Reich, based on interviews with former refugees, is being translated into Chinese.

Table of Contents

Rodger Citron

Introduction: How Many Shanghai Jews Were There?
Steve Hochstadt

Shanghai before the War

Shanghai Remembered: Recollections of Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews
Maisie Meyer

The Burak Family: The Migration of a Russian Jewish Family through the First Half of the Twentieth Century
Anne Atkinson

Russian Jews in Shanghai 1920–1950: New Life as Shanghailanders
Liliane Willens

Shanghai and the Holocaust

Desperate Hopes, Shattered Dreams: The 1937 Shanghai–Manila Voyage of the “Gneisenau” and the Fate of European Jewry
Jonathan Goldstein

Diplomatic Rescue: Shanghai as a Means of Escape and Refuge
Manli Ho

305/13 Kungping Road
Lotte Marcus

Survival in Shanghai 1939–1947
Evelyn Pike Rubin

What I Learned from Shanghai Refugees
Steve Hochstadt

Chinese Responses to the Holocaust: Chinese Attitudes toward Jewish Refugees in the Late 1930s and Early 1940s
Xu Xin

Looking Back at Shanghai

Imagined Geographies, Imagined Identities, Imagined Glocal Histories
Dan Ben-Canaan

Ephemeral Memories, Eternal Traumas and Evolving Classifications: Shanghai Jewish Refugees and Debates about Defining a Holocaust Survivor
Gabrielle Abram