The Shanghai Jewish Community Oral History Project is directed by Prof. Steve Hochstadt, former Professor of History at Bates College and Treasurer of the Sino-Judaic Institute. The project collects oral histories of surviving Shanghai Jews, focusing especially on the German-speaking refugees. The interviews show not only how they survived, but also how they created a community of synagogues, cafes, theaters, schools, and newspapers. The first interviews were done on a trip to China in spring 1989. Currently there are over 100 interviews with over 115 Shanghai Jews. Thirty-seven of these interviews have been transcribed and transcription work continues.
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine
Established in the fall of 1996 by Professor Robert Gohstand to preserve and publicize the heritage of the many people from other countries and cultures who have resided and worked in China, the Old China Hands Archives holds a growing collection of materials donated by former Old China Hands, including correspondence, diaries, photographs, postcards, books, periodicals, newspapers, and other materials. These materials document the varied experiences of foreigners living in China during the early 20th century. Whether employees of the government of China, business persons, missionaries, maritime or military servicepersons, refugees from Nazi Germany or Communist Russia, civil administrators, or journalists, their documentation of cultural interactions, international travel, local economies, and their own personal experiences provide a fascinating window into a turbulent phase of China's history.
Within the Archives is an additional Old China Hands Oral History Project Collection, containing nearly 200 oral histories documenting a range of experiences. Interview topics include daily life in China, impressions of local culture and business, and experiences related to World War II, such as the Japanese occupation and internment of Allied country citizens residing in China. Transcripts are available for most audio interviews.
Founded by Prof. Pan Guang, the Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai is one of the most influential research organizations in China. Specializing in research on Jewish history and culture, and contemporary Israel, its major publications by scholars at the Center include: Jewish Civilization, The Road to Jewish Renaissance and Recovery, Jews in China, and Jews in Shanghai.
Videos on Jewish Shanghai and Sino-Israeli relations by Prof. Pan Guang include:
China and the Middle East (2018)
Jews in China - Part I (2014)
Jews in China - Part II (2014)
The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP) were established in Jerusalem in 1939. They hold the most extensive collection of documents, registers, and other records of Jewish history from the Middle Ages to the present day. Files from the archives of the Jewish community in Tianjin(1920-1957) and documents and photographs relating to the activity of Rabbi Aaron Moshe Kiseleff (1938-1950), the last rabbi of Harbin, were all deposited at the CAHJP by Igud Yotzei Sin in Israel. Additional documents and photographs of Jewish institutions and prominent community members in Tientsin (predominantly in Russian, with some Yiddish and Hebrew); the collection of the Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau for Emigrants (Daljewcib), covering the organization’s activity, first in Harbin and then in Shanghai (1918-1947) (in English, German and Yiddish). They also contain family trees of some Chinese families of Jewish origin, as well as interviews with some of the family members.
Photo of Jews of Cochin, India, Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem
Vintage stock footage and millions of stock photo images comprising one of the largest royalty-free archive footage collections in the world. All broadcast quality and available for immediate download in multiple HD frame rates and codecs, including full resolution screeners. Video clips are licensed royalty-free, worldwide, in perpetuity, for all media; serving the historic footage needs of news, television, and film professionals around the world, 24 hours a day.
Located in Cincinnati, Hebrew Union College maintains an impressive array of primary source material. Its Rare Book and Manuscript Collection includes archival and literary manuscripts, including a unique Chinese-Hebrew collection. It is also one of only a handful of institutions which possess an original Torah scroll from Kaifeng, dating to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
Hebrew Union College - Cincinnati
JewishGen KehilaLinks contain a vast array of photographs, documents, and searchable databases for the Jewish communities of Harbin and Shanghai. KehilaLinks is a project facilitating web pages commemorating the places where Jews have lived, providing the opportunity for anyone with an interest in a place to create web pages about that community. These web pages may contain information, pictures, databases, and links to other sources providing data about that place.
The Suskin home in Harbin circa 1927
By 1943, over 16,500 Jewish refugees were living primarily in Hongkew, Shanghai, a ghetto established by the Japanese invaders at Nazi instigation. As conditions worsened, the JDC stepped in to provide food, education, and vocational training; built hospitals; and set up an emigration office.
The JDC Archives Names Database includes more than 500,000 names of individuals who have received assistance from “the Joint.” This important resource for genealogists and those searching their family history is drawn from JDC client lists and index cards from JDC operations across the globe. The Names Index includes numerous lists from the World War II era from as far and wide as British Mandate Palestine, Spain, China, Australia, Germany, and South America, among others. The database contains primary source documents as well as an index and covers activities ranging from 1915-1973.
Joint Distribution Committee assisting Jewish refugees in Shanghai, 1938-1953
The National Archives National Declassification Center (NDC) has opened to the public Visa Investigation Records of the Shanghai Diaspora Communities, 1946-1951. Visa files of the American Consulate General in Shanghai and case files include photos and detailed information about the individuals and families who sought refuge there. Included in the files are summary reports of their personal history, photographs of the applicant(s) and family members, personal letters to the visa officers or consul, refusal letters, certificates of identity, affidavits of support, personal biographies, and notes or transcripts of officer-applicant interviews. This first digital release includes 113 of the estimated 1,300 case files, as well as an applicant name index to all the materials.
National Archives, Washington, DC
The New York Public Library contains a repository of oral histories documenting the lives of Jewish refugees living in Shanghai. This special collection is part of the The New York Public Library: American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection which contains over 156,000 pages of transcripts, 6,000 hours of taped interviews, and 2,250 informants.
New York Public Library
The Royal Ontario Museum contains an extensive collection of Sino-Judaic artifacts brought back by the Canadian Church of England's Bishop William Charles White, who lived in China for 40 years, 25 of which were spent in Kaifeng, where he got to know the community and attempted to bring together the heads of the seven Jewish clans in 1919.
The Bishop White Collection at the ROM:
Bishop William Charles White (1873-1960)
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum has registered 549 items documenting the Jewish experience so far, including tickets for the voyage from Europe to Shanghai, certificates for job applications and audio and video recordings of interviews with former refugees. The materials capture the chain of life of Jewish refugees. Documents related to Jewish refugees' lives in Shanghai during the 1930s and 1940s were listed in the municipality's legacy archives last year. The Shanghai Museum hopes that documents about Jewish refugees' life experience in Shanghai during World War II will eventually be listed in China's national legacy archives.
Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum
The Center of Jewish Studies at Heilongjiang Academy of Social Science
The Sino-Israel Research and Study Center at Heilongjiang University in Harbin collects and holds past era materials such as photos, tapes, films, personal files including letters, personal relics and remnants, mementos, official documents, newspapers and books related to Jews who lived in Harbin and in other parts of China. The center holds an extensive collection of books and documents written in Hebrew, Chinese, and English by Israeli and Jewish authors and translated to Chinese. The Center's archives preserve and hold material on the history of the Harbin Jewish community as well as other Jewish communities in China, provides research for scholars on their cultural, educational, social, and economic history, and displays materials to the general public in its exhibitions.
Isak Grigori Clurman standing on coal of Harbin lumberyard. New Synagogue in the background, 1930s
The Sino-Judaic Archives at the Hoover Institution was created with donations of primary source material gathered by the Sino-Judaic Institute in the 1990s, through the indefatigable efforts of SJI Board member Rena Krasno, the Institute's first archivist. It contains correspondence, minutes, reports, publications, writings, personal identification documents, financial reports, bylaws, printed matter, and photographs, relating to Russian, Polish and other European Jews, as well as Jewish communal organizations, in China, especially in Shanghai. It also includes memoirs and other papers of individuals, and other collected material.
The archive contains material donated to SJI concerning the Jewish communities in China. Among the items already deposited is the register of the Polish Consulate in Nanjing and later Shanghai, which lists the name, religion, and age of each Polish citizen who arrived in either Shanghai or Nanjing between January 9, 1934 and October 29, 1941. The archives also contain the original cassette tapes of oral histories gathered by Dr. Wendy Abraham in the summer of 1985, of the oldest generation of Jewish descendants who shared memories of Jewish rituals and holiday celebrations dating to the early 20th century.
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
The U.S. Holocaust Museum contains archives of the Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau Harbin-Shanghai from the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem. It also contains administrative and personal files created by the Central Information Bureau for Jewish War Sufferers in the Far East,
and correspondence from the Bureau with Jewish communities and international Jewish and non-Jewish aid and migration organizations in various parts of the world. Cables and correspondence, mostly in Yiddish and Russian, were sent during the interwar period starting in 1918 by the Bureau to facilitate the emigration of Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe.
The personal files include approximately 3,000 emigration applications received in the years between 1938-1940 by the Hilfsverein der Juden in Deutschland (Aid Society of the Jews in Germany) from Jews living in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Poland, asking for assistance with emigration to Harbin and Shanghai. These applications were forwarded to the Far Eastern Jewish Central Information Bureau (DALJEWCIB), often in response to job announcements posted abroad in Harbin or Shanghai. The personal files consist of a wide variety of personal documents, such as emigration applications, correspondence, photographs, curricula vitae, reference letters, name lists, search requests, and other documents.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
The Shanghai Collection at YIVO relates to life in the ghetto and includes materials on the founding of the ghetto, relief groups such as JDC, ORT, HIAS, and SACRA (Shanghai Ashkenazic Collaborating Relief Association), political organizations including Zionist groups and the Bund, the rabbinate, the sick and benevolent society, a kitchen fund, commercial establishments, religious and secular schools, professional associations, art, theater and music activities, the Jewish press, and emigration from Shanghai after World War II. There are also manuscript histories of the Shanghai Ghetto. A number of other YIVO archival collections have material on Jewish refugees in Shanghai. YIVO’s archival collections can be researched at Guide to the YIVO Archives.
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research