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September 29, 2016

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Trilingual site tells of Jewish hardship

HONGKOU District government yesterday released a trilingual website telling the stories about Jewish refugees and life in Shanghai during World War II.

The website in English, German and Hebrew has collected 26 stories from the time when about 16,000 German and Austrian Jews fled to Hongkou’s Tilanqiao area to escape Nazi persecution.

The political advisory body of Hongkou and Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum collected these stories — mainly involving the mutual friendship between Jewish and local people — and published a series of books, named Peace, Kindness and Tolerance, in Mandarin last year.

Shanghai International Studies University then translated some of the stories. They are available on the university website: for English, for German and for Hebrew.

Many of them tell how Chinese residents helped their Jewish neighbors.

Some stories also tell how Jewish refugees helped their Chinese neighbors after the Japanese invasion. The Jewish residents exchanged their rice and bread for the coarse foods of their Chinese neighbors to improve their diets.

Some newspapers from that period are also included on the website.

An article from the “National News Weekly” newspaper describes how many pubs, factories, shops, service firms, barber shops, clinics and dentists were run by Jewish people in Hongkou.

Jewish Refugees have a total of 108 stories covered in the book series through interviews and accounts of former refugees.

More than 500 pictures and historic photos accompany the stories. Most of the photos have also been included on the website.

The books attracted wide attention when they were exhibited at the World Expo 2015 in Milan.


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