As Celebrated in Shanghai
in 1945 and 1947


hanukah, the annual eight day festival of lights commemorating victory of Judah Maccabee who defeated the Syrians and purified the Temple, will be observed this year on December 7. 

Shanghailanders may recall 59 years ago when in our make-shift dwelling we lit the Menorah symbolizing the one day oil supply in the Temple which lasted eight days.

Nineteen-forty-five was a bitter-sweet year when Jewish refugees learned about the toll of the Holocaust, but not having to fear anymore the bombardments over Hongkew.

The joy of seeing Americans in their uniforms of liberation was tantamount to the many children in the ghetto that were showered with fruit and candy by GI’s and sailors. In figure one, we see an American soldier distributing “Chanukah Gelt” to refugee kids in Shanghai Hongkew (courtesy, Jewish War Veterans of the USA).

As mentioned in previous articles, Chanukah was always celebrated big in the Shanghai Ghetto. A program of a Chanukah event that took place in Hongkew in 1947 was illustrated on the Website last December.

In this article, we show an announcement of this happening and a critique of the performance which appeared in a Hongkew newspaper in March of 1947. Both are shown in figure two and figure three respectively. The article tells about the audience that filled the Eastern Theater to capacity, standing and enthusiastically listening to the orchestra commencing with the Hatikwah. Charles H Jordan, Representative of the American Joint Distribution Committee, stated in his opening remarks that miracles happen even today. “Like we celebrate the miracle of the oil which burned eight days in the Temple that was rededicated after the victory, it is a miracle that Shanghai immigration survived eight years and more.” He continued by saying that “Chanukah is a symbol which stands for resistance to suppression of freedom; that reminds us to stand fast to our existence, and that the flame of Inspiration may never vanish.


Fig. 1

Fig. 2 & 3



Fig. 3a

Happy Chanukah