|||

Jewish Refugees Museum

Formerly the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, the exhibitions displays stories of Shanghai Jews in words and pictures.

TravelCurious Tip

Explore the area around the museum, the Tilanqiao Historic District, where many of the living quarters used by the refugees still stand today

During the Second World War, many Jews fled Europe to escape the Holocaust, and some of them ended up in Shanghai. This museum is built on the site of the former Moishe Synagogue and commemorates the Jewish refugees who tried to rebuilt their lives here: the 20,000 Jewish residents of the Shanghai Ghetto during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.


In the 1930s, Nazi Germany strongly encouraged German and Austrian Jews to emigrate, but most countries closed their doors to them. Shanghai and the Dominican Republic were two exceptions. In receiving 20,000 Jewish refugees, Shanghai received the most of any city in the world. However, restrictions were again imposed on them under Japanese rule, and eventually China descended into the civil war that ended with victory for the Community Party. By 1956, most Shanghai Jews had emigrated once more.


This museum encompasses the old synagogue building, along with two exhibition halls and a courtyard. On show are a range of artefacts that illustrate how the Jewish refugees lived at the time, as well as many historical photographs and artworks. The story of the Jews in Shanghai is a fascinating and rather touching one from a frightening time.


When the former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin paid a visit to the museum, he left these words in the guestbook, “The Jewish People were protected by Shanghai People when they were murdered and driven out by Nazis and wandered in the world. The Israeli Government, Jewish People and I thank for their help from the bottom of our heart.”

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Shanghai
Duolun Road Cultural Street
This picturesque street was once the home of many of China's most famous writers.
Hongde Temple
This church is built in a Chinese style and features a grey-brick interior and high wooden ceilings.
Egg Pancake
Experience the joy of tasting Jianbing (egg pancake), one of China's best-kept culinary secrets.
Scallion Pancake
A cong you bing, also known as a scallion pancake, is a Chinese, savoury, unleavened flatbread folded with oil and minced scallions.
Wonton Soup
Taste these dumplings soaked in soup - bursting with tasty surprises such as pork and prawn, or shrimp filling.
Spicy Ramen
Test the strength of your tastebuds when it comes to sampling spicy flavoured noodled soup.

Related Tours

Hongkou District: Private Tour of Shanghai’s Cultural Hub with Tickets
Explore the fascinating Hongkou district, former home to leftwing writers, Jewish refugees and Anglo-American colonizers on this private full-day walking tour with tickets to the Lu Xun, Modern Art and Jewish Refugees Museums, and the Hongde Temple. On your private tour you will: 

  • Take a step back from the tourist trail and enjoy the personalised attention of your private tour guide through Hongkou.
  • Commence your tour at the Lu Xun Museum, with skip-the-line access. Dedicated to the life and work of Lu Xun – the writer considered the founder of modern Chinese literature and leader of the Chinese League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai in the turbulent 1920s and 30s. 
  • Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Lu Xun Park.
  • Walk down Duolun Road cultural street.
  • Pass by the Hongde Temple – a unique Christian church built in the Chinese temple style.
  • See the old Lilong alleys where the Chinese lived in squalid housing during the war.  
  • Wander through the Museum of Modern Art – admiring the birthplace of Shanghai’s style. 
  • Visit the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue - now the Jewish Refugees Museum and learn about the Jewish community here, who called it ‘Little Vienna’ during WW2. 
In the northeast corner of downtown Shanghai, you’ll find the captivating, off the beaten path district of Hongkou, a living, breathing museum to Shanghai’s complex political and cultural history. You’ll find relics of its colonial past, its left-wing art and culture scene, the Memorial Site of the 4th National Congress of the CPC, museums to modern art, the Jewish community and refugees of many backgrounds, through many wars, as well as the plethora of homages to Lu Xun, the author, essayist and translator. Famous for writing in the vernacular of the common Chinese man, he is considered by many to be the founder of modern Chinese literature.  Both the park and the Museum (his former home) are named for him. Your guide will also point out the many houses of renowned left-wing rebel intellectuals from the early twentieth century. 

Hongkou is situated at the confluence of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek and was part of the American and British settlement, the so-called ‘Shanghailanders’ in the mid-nineteenth century, who refused to pay taxes to the Quing government of the day. During the First World War Japanese troops and civilians moved in and it became known as ‘Little Tokyo’, and by the beginning of the Second World War, it officially fell to Japan. The remaining Brits and Americans were put into the internment camp at Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre alongside the Chinese prisoners.

The Chinese who were allowed to stay in Hongkou lived in squalor, in Lilong – narrow, claustrophobic alleys, the remnants of which your guide will show you.

With its focus on experimental contemporary art, you will get a taste of Shanghai’s modern cultural scene on Duolun Cultural road where you’ll venture inside the Museum of Modern Art and see the unique Hongde Temple – a Chinese styled Christian church.

Finally, your tour guide will take you to the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue - now the Jewish Refugees Museum. If Hongkou was Little Tokyo at the beginning of the war, by the middle years, it became the Jewish Ghetto or ‘Little Vienna’ as the Jewish Community called it, and is where your tour ends. 
x

Guides

Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.

Partners

Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.