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.”
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