Their Name Honored on a Postage Stamp
They Built the Schools in Shanghai and in the Holyland


On the 27th of August, the Israel Postal Authority released a stamp commemorating the Kadoorie Agricultural School in Israel, founded in 1933 by Sir Ellis Kadoorie, philanthropist and member of the wealthy Baghdadian Family that had large business interests in the Far East.

The 4.6-shekel adhesive illustrated in figure one, was designed by Zina Roitman, and shows the Kadoorie buildings and historical stables located at the northern foot of Mt. Tabor in Lower Galilee. The name, Kadoorie, appears on the tab of the stamp.

Horace Kadoorie, one of Ellis‘s two sons, followed his father‘s footsteps. Also known like his father for establishing educational centers in Palestine, Horace Kadoorie took an active and personal interest in building a school for the refugee children in Shanghai.

When Jewish refugees began immigrating to Shanghai in the late 30‘s, they had to seriously think about providing a proper education for their children, while at the same time learning to adjust to the strange customs in a war-torn and distant place from their native country. Through the influence of Kadoorie, the Shanghai Municipal Council leased the Kingchow Road building, originally a Chinese college in the mid-1939, to the refugees. Thus, the SJYA School (Shanghai Jewish Youth Association), later called Kadoorie School, became established with enough room to accommodate all the refugee children. It followed that the name “Kadoorie” became associated with the 3R‘s, and a household word with students and parents that were among the 18,000 Jewish refugees that fled from the Nazi horrors to Shanghai. 

In 1941, the school building on Kingchow Road had to be returned to the Chinese, and the school had to find a new facility.

Horace Kadoorie came to the rescue again by raising the necessary funds required for a new place to house all the young students. A “U” shaped, one story building with modern facilities was built at 627 East Yuhang Road, conveniently located in the heart of the Jewish ghetto, also called “Designated Area “. 

The school with a student-body of approximately 600, and 17 teachers under the able direction of Ms. Lucie Hartwich, which included two kindergarten classes, shown in figure two, opened on January 2, 1942.  A wide array of the basic subjects, secular in orientation, as for example art and creativity, illustrated in figure three, were offered to the students. Many of the other subjects taught are shown on a report card in figure four. Religious festivals, however, were also observed, as for example Purim, shown in figure five, when students dressed in costumes portraying biblical characters in the school auditorium. There were also Friday evening Shabbat services at the school, with students doing the early part followed by a regular adult service. 

Another popular and highly respected member of the community and of the Kadoorie School faculty was Leo Meyer, a well- known soccer player and teacher who encouraged sports activities among the young, and much needed moral guidance to children who were in need of it.

In 1980, a former student of Kadoorie School sent a letter to Horace Kadoorie, inviting him to address the Shanghailanders at their first major reunion in Oakland, California. Kadoorie‘s response is shown in figure six. It was there, at the reunion, where Sir Horace Kadoorie met Ms. Lucie Hartwich again, shown in figure seven, and many of her students. Yours truly was lucky to meet after so many years his teachers and mentors, Lucie Hartwich in 1964 at Lake Tahoe, and Leo Meyer in the mid-70‘s in Los Angeles, shown in figure eight and nine respectively. 

In the meantime, Sir Horace Kadoorie, leaving behind a great legacy passed away in Hong Kong in 1995. Ms. Lucie Hariwich, a true legend, who today after fifty plus years is still often remembered by her former students, passed away in August of 1984 in San Francisco. 

Kranzler: “Japanese, Nazis, and Jews”, Yeshiva University.
Ralph Harpuder‘s personal archives.
Photos: courtesy Andreas Heinsius and Irene Hyman.

The Kadoorie stamp may be obtained by sending a donation to Temple Knesset Israel, 1260 No. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, California 90029.

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