Related News

Home » Metro

Chinese, Jewish neighbors reunite

Zhou Huizhen, 70, leaned towards a laptop screen to see the smiling face of her childhood playmate, Vera Sasson, now a 73-year-old Jewish American, this morning and greeted her for the first time in 65 years.

"Nonghao (hello) Sister Vera, it's been such a long time," Zhou said in Shanghai dialect which she taught Sasson to speak when they were kids.

"It is, my little sister, but I promise we won't wait another 60 years before we meet again," said Sasson in Florida, USA.

It's a dream come true for both women after they saw and heard each other 65 years after they parted. Sasson promised Zhou that she would come back to Shanghai in the near future to meet the family face to face.

For the past few decades, Sasson has been looking for Mr Chu, her "Shanghai Uncle" as she called, and his relatives to show her gratitude for the help they gave to her family after they came to Shanghai as refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe.

Now seeing the face of Mr Chu's daughter on the computer screen, Sasson's search had a happy ending.

Despite their advanced age, the two ladies recalled their happy childhood of living and playing together in an old Shanghai lane.

"I still remember the unique hairstyle the Jewish family created for me, but after they left my parents could not do my hair that way and I cried loudly," said Zhou.

During their online chat, both Sasson and Zhou said they wrote letters to each other for a few years until both families moved to new addresses and they lost the contact.

Sasson told Zhou that she visited her childhood residency at 423 Kunming Road in 1989 but failed to find her Chinese neighbor. Zhou said they just moved to a house in the next lane in the same year.

"We were once so close but are now so far away," Sasson said.

With her memory and a black-and-white photo of Mr Chou, Sasson finally found her Shanghai neighbor through the help of the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum and the local media.

Mr Chu, whose real name was Zhou Zhiji, died 10 years ago at the age of 88. Zhou used to be a director working for a local tobacco family and he could speak very fluent English which helped him to make good friends with the Jewish family.

In the 1940s, the two families have established a close relationship, inviting each other to taste special dessert. Zhou even ordered rickshaws every day to send the little Jewish girl to school and back home.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend