Speech Delivered by Mr. Yu Beihua, District Mayor of Hongkou
Dear Dr. Heyden, Dear guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good afternoon!
First of all, on behalf of the Government and all the people of Hongkou District, I would like to extend the warmest welcome and the sincerest thanks to all of you for coming to the opening ceremony of the series of events on Jewish refugees and Shanghai. I would express our most heartfelt congratulations to Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum and Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai, the organizers of this series of events who have worked together for a whole year, for the success of the events. I would also give the best wishes to all people who have given their kindest help and support for the events and who have participated in the events.
In the 1930s and 1940s, thousands of Jews fled to Shanghai to escape the crazy anti-semitism and Holocaust in Europe. The Jewish refugees have gone through the tough years together with the local Chinese people. They have helped and supported each other and in this course developed deep friendship and a lasting emotional tie. Those years have left an indelible memory in their mind. During those years, this Ohel Moshe Synagogue where we are now used to be a spiritual center of the refugees, and has now become a witness and remembrance of this history.
Since it finished renovation in 2007 and reopened to visitors, the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum has received over 30 thousand visitors from over 70 countries and regions. During this period, it has also hosted various activities and events with the cooperation of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, the Consulates General of Israel, Germany and Austria and the Hamburg Liaison Office Shanghai. All these activities and events signify exactly the longing of the Chinese people and the whole world together for peace. They have also drawn people of various nationalities closer together.
Shanghai will host the 2010 World EXPO this year. In order to give the Expo visitors from various countries and regions a chance to better understand this history, Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai have planned and organized this series of events which shall start today and last until the end of October. On the agenda of remembering the past and creating a new future, this series of events will present rich content in various forms such as exhibition, lectures, book readings, and panel discussion. We hope that, through these events, people will value peace more and create a future world of harmony. At the same time, we would also expect the museum to be a bridge between the people of Hongkou District and people from other parts of the world so that they may develop better mutual understanding and friendship and promote world peace hand in hand.
Lastly, I shall wish the series of events on Jewish refugees and Shanghai a great success. Thank you!