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2021-11-16 08:32:42

SHANGHAI — A musical commemorating the lives of Jewish refugees in Shanghai during World War II was held at Shanghai Concert Hall on Saturday.

The show featured a medley of songs, piano recitals of Jewish ballads, and reenactments from Chinese-Canadian writer Bei La’s novel titled “Song of Survivors.” The book is based on the true love story of a young Jewish couple — whose son, Mike Medavoy, would become an award-winning American film producer — after they fled the Holocaust during World War II and landed in Shanghai.

Bei La has been writing and researching about the Jewish community in China over the years and wished to use literature to reflect the history of her hometown, Shanghai.

“Song of Survivors” was translated into English from Chinese by Howard Goldblatt, a renowned Jewish sinologist, and published in 2020. A film adaptation is scheduled for release next spring in China and the United States.

“Shanghai has been a city of tolerance and love for Jewish refugees nearly a hundred years ago,” Bei La said during the pre-show interview. “It shows the humanity of the city.”

Tens of thousands of Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai from Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, with many settling in the city’s shikumen neighborhoods. Many also fought for China’s quest for national independence, and their contributions memorialized at the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.

Edward Shapira, Israeli Consul General in Shanghai, who attended Saturday’s event, encouraged the audience to visit the museum and praised Saturday’s show.

“It’s a very important show to bring to the young generation, to teach them the lesson of tolerance and acceptance that is so important these days,” he said.

(Header image: CNS)