You wouldn’t know it from walking the streets of Hongkou today, but this Shanghai neighborhood once was home to more than 20,000 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Shanghai before and during World War II was a safe harbor for European Jews, although by 1943, with the city under Japanese control, most were forced to live in what was called the Restricted Sector for Stateless Refugees, aka the Shanghai Ghetto. The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum is on the site of the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue, built in 1927 and one of two remaining synagogues in Shanghai (the other is Ohel Rachel in Jing’an). The museum’s exhibits showcase historical artifacts, among them a number of photographs, refugee passports, and copies of the newspaper Shanghai Jewish Chronicle.
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum
The Jewish refugees who went to Shanghai during World War II had a complex relationship with the city, which is illustrated with photos and personal stories and artifacts (alongside their rebuilt temple) at the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. It’s a small space, but nicely organized (and air conditioned!) and also worth noting is the surrounding area of alleyways and apartments which comprised the Jewish ghetto.