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September 3, 2014 2:37 pm

Shanghai Unveils Memorial for WWII Jewish Refugees

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A historical plaque at a house in Shanghai that was formerly the residence of Jewish refugees, including W. Michael Blumenthal, who went on to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Jimmy Carter. Photo: HBarrison via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgThe Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum unveiled a memorial dedicated to the 13,732 Jewish refugees who fled to the Chinese city during World War II.

A depiction of six Jewish people, the statue symbolizes the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, said its creator, Chinese-American artist He Ning. The statue is etched into a wall with the names of all the Jews known to have taken refuge in Shanghai during the war.

“The list is particularly meaningful. All of [the refugees] survived harsh days in the war and sheltered in Shanghai,” said 75-year-old Sonja Muehlberger, German activist who was born into a Jewish family in Shanghai in 1939, Xinhua reported.

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“Shanghai was the only place in the world open to Jewish refugees. We will never forget the city,” Sonja added.

The Shanghai museum was built on the grounds of the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue in 2007. Thousands of European Jews, either by steamship or rail, fled to Shanghai during the Holocaust. The occupying Japanese authorities forced these Jews into the poorest and most densely crowded area of the city in what became known as the “Shanghai Ghetto,” where the Jews lived in terrible conditions until being liberated by Chinese nationalist forces in 1945.

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