About the Documentary "Memories of Shanghai"
In Shanghai, this modern metropolis with its high rise buildings, there is also the history of bygone days, preserved in the low dwellings of old alleys. What did people actually leave behind here? The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum restored in 2007 opens a window for us to seek the truth.
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum cooperated with Tianying Media to produce a documentary "Memories of Shanghai" as a part of the series of events on "Jewish Refugees and Shanghai". Some of its contents were specially collected from US. The documentary collected the memories of over 30 former refugees and descendants. They look back to the unforgettable experience more than 60 years ago, to a time when they escaped from Nazi persecution in Europe and lived a harmonious life with local residents in Shanghai. The documentary consists of 6 parts and lasts approximately 40 minutes.
During the so-called "Crystal Night" on 9 November 1938 Synagogues were destroyed and set alight and the windows of Jewish shops were smashed. The Jews could do nothing but to escape. Where to go? Shanghai was the only place in the world where Jews from Germany and Austria could go without visa, landing permit or affidavit.
When they fled to Shanghai, the European Jewish refugees had no jobs, no income, no bathrooms and not sufficient food, but they felt safe and free here. After all, they were finally far away from the persecution of the Nazis. Here, they gathered the strength to endure their hard life and to try to make things better.
With the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941, Japanese troops seized Shanghai. Their newly-built lives were destroyed and the refugees sank again into the abyss of war. Japanese troops forced them to move into the "Designated Area for Stateless Refugees", a small and already densely populated area in Hongkou.
After WWII, the Jewish refugees began to leave Shanghai for a permanent residence, where they could create a new life without the war and fear. However, with the passage of time, their special experience in Shanghai is not forgotten. Multitudes of former Jewish refugees return to visit old friends and old places. Their shared destiny and experience draws the two peoples close to each other.