Shanghai Escape (Holocaust Remembrance Series)
Shanghai, China, seems an unlikely destination for Jewish refugees trying to escape the cruel anti-Semitic laws of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party before the Second World War. But while most countries were unwilling to give refuge to Jews, China was one place that did. More than twenty thousand European Jews found refuge in Shanghai between 1937 and 1939.
Lily Toufar and her family arrive in Shanghai in 1938, having fled from Vienna on the eve of Kristallnacht. Shanghai is a strange place for this bright young girl. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and under pressure from Hitler, the Japanese government in Shanghai has ordered Jewish refugees to move into a ghetto in an area of Shanghai called Hongkew. There is little food to eat and poor sanitation, and disease is rampant. For Lily, life becomes grueling after her family is forced into the ghetto. Lily endures the difficult conditions, always hopeful for an end to the war and a return to normal life.
the possibility of punishment, was instantly forgotten as Lily rushed to her grandmother’s side and helped her up and into a chair. It wasn’t clear who was moaning louder, Oma, who was obviously in pain from her fall, or Lily, who was in anguish and crying over the entire incident. After that day, everything seemed to go downhill for Oma – at least, that’s what Lily believed. Oma became weaker. She stopped playing the piano in Stella and Walter’s coffee house. She had difficulty climbing the
organization that Pop had said managed the former school building and that was trying to help Jews in the new ghetto. SACRA – it was as good a name as any for her new home – and made it sound nicer than it really was. “My name’s Lily,” she finally replied. “Have you lived here a long time?” Harry shook his head. “Only about a month. We moved in right after the notice came out about the designated area. Most of the people in the building are new as well. I can show you around, if you want.”
piece of meat, and was about to run back out the window and disappear into the streets, their dinner firmly clenched between its teeth. But not if her mother had anything to say about it. “You wicked, wicked animal!” screamed Mom. “Get back here before I slice you in half and boil you as well.” Mom lunged for the cat, which quickly disappeared out the window. She turned and flew out the door, down the stairs, in hot pursuit of the cat. For a moment, no one moved. Then the entire family ran out
shivering once more. The only thing she was looking forward to was the outing with Mom, and she rushed home after school so that they could set out together. In spite of the fact that there was so little food in the ghetto, somehow the Jews of Hongkew were managing to open shops and restaurants. The restaurants were not nearly as grand as the ones that had been established in the French Concession, and there was not always very much on the menu. Owners improvised with scarce ingredients to
says their army is getting weaker, but I don’t know if I believe him.” The two girls were winding their way down the street toward the Kadoorie School. The rain, which had begun a couple of days earlier, had turned into a torrential downpour causing the streets to flood. People were calling it a typhoon. The rainwater had mostly receded from East Yuhang Road, but the runoff had brought additional problems. Drains and gutters were backed up and were overflowing with sewage. Lily and Susie jumped