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February 20, 2019

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Jewish refugee museum grows to meet demand

Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum will be expanded this year with new exhibitions to serve an increasing number of visitors.

Visitor numbers have surged by 10 times from 10,000 in the museum’s first year in 2007.

The museum inside the Ohel Moishe Synagogue will be expanded to over 4,000 square meters from the existing 900 square meters by 2020. 

On Changyang Road in Hongkou District, the museum has about 250 items provided by some members of the Jewish community who lived in Hongkou during World War II, along with multimedia exhibitions. The exhibits include passports, marriage certificates and personal effects like spectacles and pill boxes.

Over the years, the museum has collected items that reflect what life was like for Jewish people living in Shanghai at the time, said the curator Chen Jian.

Last month, the museum obtained oil paintings by artists such as Xia Baoyuan and Chen Yiming about the friendly relationships between Chinese and Jewish people during the war.

In 2015, the museum rebuilt an iconic cafe across the road. The Zum Weissen Ross’l cafe, or White Horse Cafe, opened in 1939 and was a popular gathering site for Jewish people. It is recreated with its original look.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Jews were under attack from the Nazis in Europe. Thousands took refuge in Shanghai to escape the atrocities back home.


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