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As WWII Survivors Dwindle, Their Stories Live On: Exhibition on Jewish Refugees in Shanghai to Open in NYC

This Week

SHANGHAI, CHINA – Media OutReach – 24 July 2023 – As part of a wave of new cultural projects that honor the legacy of the 20,000 Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi persecution during World War II and found a rare safe haven in Shanghai, the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum will hold a two-week exhibition in New York, starting from August 1st.

Poster of the exhibition “Shanghai, Homeland Once Upon a Time – Jewish Refugees and Shanghai” in NYC.
Poster of the exhibition “Shanghai, Homeland Once Upon a Time – Jewish Refugees and Shanghai” in NYC.

Titled “Shanghai, Homeland Once Upon a Time – Jewish Refugees and Shanghai”, the exhibit will represent the Museum’s first overseas exhibition since its significant expansion in 2020. Jewish and Chinese leaders, descendants of refugees, and special performances will be invited to celebrate the exhibit’s opening on August 1st.

Showcasing more than 200 photographs and approximately 30 pieces of replica memorabilia from the museum’s expanded collection, as well as personal stories from Jewish refugees and their descendants, the exhibit will be open to the public for free from August 1-14, 2023, 9am-8pm, at Fosun Plaza (28 Liberty Street) in downtown Manhattan.

From left to right: School report of the SJYA (Shanghai Jewish Youth Association)School.
First-class passage ticket of the Kohn family from Naples to Shanghai.
Card of Identification of Antmann Erna issued by International Committee for Granting Relief to European Refugees.

The content of the traveling exhibition is drawn from the Museum’s newly expanded collection and is divided into six sections: Fleeing to Shanghai, Starting a New Life, Bittersweet Memories, After the War, Special Feelings for China, and A New Look of the Homeland. Each part will provide a historical background, narrates the experiences and stories of the Jewish refugees, and depicts the details of their lives and their enduring partnership with the Chinese people.

Marriage certificate of Claire Hecht issued in the 1940s of Shanghai.
Marriage certificate of Claire Hecht issued in the 1940s of Shanghai.

Chen Jian, director of the museum, said that their focus has been particularly on hosting exhibitions in the United States because of the large Jewish population there. New York City is home to over two million Jewish people, many of whom are descendants of Jewish refugees who found shelter in Shanghai. Therefore, they felt obliged to bring these stories to New York and share it with the local Jewish community, as well as the Jewish refugees once lived in Shanghai and their descendants.

The exhibit will be one of several cultural programs and collaborative initiatives in the coming months that seek to keep alive the unique stories of the Jewish refugees.

For example, documentary “Jewish Melodies left in Shanghai” will have its premiere at Harmony Gold Preview House in Los Angeles on the evening of July 29, 2023. The documentary recalls the stories of Jewish performers and composers active in Shanghai from the 1920s to the 1940s.

*If you want to download more video materials of this exhibit, you can go to the following link: https://apvideohub.ap.org/detail/AsWWIISurvivorsDwindleTheirStoriesLiveOnExhibitiononJewish/69cb42b837e140dd825ad27f56648df3/video?Query=filings.products:(47139)%20AND%20*&mediaType=video&sortBy=arrivaldatetime:desc&dateRange=Anytime&totalCount=45&currentItemNo=0

Hashtag: #SMGShanghaiEye

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