An art and history exhibition commemorating the lives of Jewish people who fled the Nazi atrocities during World War II and settled in Shanghai has opened in New York. The exhibit includes photographs and mementos of these European Jews displaced during the war, as well as films and lectures about their time in China and eventual emigration to the United States.
Jointly organized by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, the exhibition documents the nearly 30,000 refugees’ arrival in Shanghai and their lives in the city from 1933 to 1941. It will run through the end of May.
Visitors are given a sense of how the Europeans adapted to living in an unfamiliar environment. The exhibit is also a story of resilience, cross-cultural acceptance, and renewed hope in the face of adversity. “They escaped the Nazi atrocities and forged deep friendships with the Chinese people,” Chen Jian, curator of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, told state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Most of the refugees to Shanghai settled in the area north of Suzhou Creek. After Japan’s surrender in 1945, some emigrated to Brooklyn in New York.
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, located at the site of the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue, is currently undergoing a major expansion from 900 square meters to over 4,000, with the planned larger exhibition space aiming to tell the refugees’ stories more fully.