"Jewish Refugees in Shanghai and the 60th anniversary of the end of the anti-Fascist war."


                Shanghai snapshots -
       A city full of energy and light.


A solemn celebration and seminar in Shanghai
held on Nov. 10 -14, 2005




The dignitaries stood shoulder to shoulder in the still warm sun on a stage set up in the courtyard of the Ohel Rachel synagogue.  It was a festive occasion, this morning on November 10 in Shanghai. The stage with a blue backdrop declared "Jewish Refugees in Shanghai and Exhibition of Noah's Ark on Fire and Sword" It was the opening ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversity of the end of World War II.


Professor Pan Guang, the eminent dean of the center of Jewish Studies introduced the keynote speaker, the hon. Michael W. Blumenthal and the other guests, the representatives from the Shanghai Municipal Government, German, American and Israeli consulate personnel, Chinese educators, a Rabbi and others. Later we visit an exhibition of refugee artifacts.


We were invited to take part in these commemorations. Michael W. Blumenthal, Sonja Muehlberger from Berlin, Manli Ho, the daughter of the Chinese Ambassador to Vienna, Dr. Ho Fen Shan. Who gave out visas to hundreds of fleeing Austrian Jews. The other participants were Dr. Bernard Wasserstein, Dr. Karl Bettelheim of Melbourne, Ruth Shany a well-known Israeli artist, Sara Imas, and René Willdorff, your webmaster.


Thus began the four day celebration, an introduction, a book launching and the seminar, and sightseeing tours. We had a sumptuous reception lunch, on golden service, at the Hengshan-Moller Villa, which was hosted by the Shanghai Municipality. Speeches and toasts concluded the meal.


After a short rest, we set out for the Ohel Moshe Synagogue on Changyang Road (Ward Road) in the Hongkou District for the book launch. The second edition of "The Jews in China”. Which is a picture album with text. The book spans the history of Jews in ancient China to the present day.  The 2005 edition was compiled and edited by Prof. Pan Guang and is published by the Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS). It will become available in other parts of the world.


High officials from the Hongkou district greeted us warmly and invited us to meet with a few former Chinese neighbors of ours of the ghetto. We sat around a table with these friendly folks and discussed our lives, mutual admiration and major concerns during the Japanese occupation long ago.


The second day heralded the seminar on the “Jewish Refugees in Shanghai”. The Deputy Director of the Information Office of Shanghai opened the session. The Keynote speaker was W. Michael Blumenthal, whose topic “Refuge Shanghai, looking back and looking forward” a well reasoned narration of our stay.


The seminar sessions the rest of that day covered the subjects:

1) Why did Shanghai become a haven for Jewish Refugees from Europe.

2) The Jewish Community in Shanghai. and 3) The relationship between Jewish Refugees and Chinese in Adversity.

Opinions and observations were exchanged, and our speeches were well received.


Many Chinese scholars, students and members of the Shanghai Municipal government attended the seminars which were held in a major meeting room at the Equatorial Hotel.


For the remaining two days we were treated to outstanding restaurants, we visited the stunning sights and sounds of this amazing city and  were taken care of with the utmost courtesy and kindness.




Speeches by seminar participants:

Manli Ho:

A Report ( in German ).
Sonja Muehlberger:

Our Group


From right to left: Dr. K. Bettelheim, Manli Ho, Prof. Pan Guang, Ruth Shany, R. Willdorff, S. Muehlberger, Stephanie Wang ( The General Office of Shanghi Municipal Commitee of CPC ), Pengfei Li Ph.D., Chen Jian, Mr. Bao.



Our group

Ruth Shany with René Willdorff

Dining out


The second edition of the book 'Jews in China'


Professor Pan Guang, Dean of the Center for Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS) and book editor.


At a Metro Station

The waterfront promenade at the Bund

Oriental Pearl on Putung

Nanking Road pedestrian mall

The Oriental Pearl at night

View from the Pearl Tower observation platform

Shopping bazaar

Canal at the ancient town - Zhu Jia Jiao

Refugee memorial in Hongkou

Hongkou lane

View of the Hangshan Hotel

View of the Hotel from the park across the street

A few of Shanghai's 4000 skyscrapers

Street Scene

A traditional pharmacist

View from the former Roof Garden Restaurant