History is written by the winners, so it’s hardly surprising that the Allied forces don’t brag about the fact that they turned away Jewish refugees seeking to flee Nazi Germany before WWII. At that time there was only one city that was willing to take in around 30,000 Jews, and it was Shanghai. For an excellent memoir about life for the Shanghai Jews check out Shanghai Diary by Ursula Bacon.
Today I set off the find the old Jewish ghetto in Hongkou where they were forced to live by the Japanese during the war. So much of Shanghai is being bulldozed for new construction that I was skeptical whether anything would be left. There is still a synagogue on the tourist map, so I was going to find it.
Luckily, the whole neighborhood is being preserved as a historical heritage district but the Ohel Moishe synagogue is currently under renovation. Good for Shanghai but bad for me. I walked through the the area, passing by the brick facades of these weathered, but still attractive 3 storied apartments.