An Interesting Item


Relating to the Kadoorie Family

Ralph Harpuder   

     Many of us that fled to Shanghai in the late 30‘s, were at the time unaware that there was already a well established Jewish community in existence in various parts of the city. The Sephardim came to Shanghai as early as 1850 from British-ruled areas including Baghdad and India, whereas the Russian Jews, escaping the pogroms, immigrated to China during the turn of the century.
    A small percentage of Jews within the Sephardic community became known for their trading capabilities, not only in Shanghai but also in Hong Kong and some other parts of Asia. Among them was the Kadoorie family who made their fortune in Hong Kong and Shanghai real estate and utilities. Shanghailanders may remember the Palace Hotel on Nanking Road at the Bund (
Figure one), and the Astor Hotel at the Garden Bridge (Figure two), that were owned by the Kadoories in those days through its Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, HSH. The Palace Hotel leased during its heydays several suites to up­scale clothing manufacturers (Figure three).
    After the war broke out, some of the Kadoorie family investments and stock holdings were at risk.
    A rare document, acquired by yours truly at a stamp auction, refers to the stock holdings registered in the name of Sir Ellis Kadoorie during the time of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai
(Figure four). The letter, written by the Custodian of Enemy Property in Palestine, and addressed to The Palestine Corporation Ltd. in Jerusalem, states that all dividends declared on 10,000 shares must be paid to the Custodian according to the provisions of the trading with the enemy order. Those dividends were overdue and not yet paid on account of the war.

   The Kadoorie family was a major force in Shanghai Jewish life. One member of the family, perhaps best remembered by Shanghailanders, was Horace Kadoorie
(Figure five), who not only established educational centers in the Holy land, but also helped raise funds for a new school complex for refugee children living in the Hongkew Ghetto. Located at 627 East Yuhang Road, the school under the name SJYA (Shanghai Jewish Youth Association) was often referred to as “The Kadoorie School”
    In conclusion, the letter written by the Custodian of Enemy Property, the main feature in this report, may be of particular interest to Shanghailanders because it dealt with the Kadoorie family while the Shanghai Ghetto was in existence, and when the name, “Kadoorie” was a household word for many of us.




Fig. 1 and 2




Fig. 4a



Fig. 3


Fig. 5


Fig. 4