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Upcoming Special Exhibition

Hidden History: Recounting the Shanghai Jewish Story

On view August 9, 2024 - February 16, 2025

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Explore the little-known history of the diverse, resettled Jewish community in Shanghai, including Iraqi Jews who arrived in the mid-1800s, Russian Jews who fled pogroms at the turn of the century, and German and Austrian Jews who desperately escaped the Nazis. With most countries limiting or denying entry to Jews during the 1930s, the free port of Shanghai became an unexpected safe haven for Jews fleeing the antisemitic policies and violence in Nazi-controlled Europe.

Hidden History explores this multifaceted history of desperation, loss, and asylum through artifacts, survivor stories, and the photographic lens of prominent American photojournalist Arthur Rothstein, who documented the Shanghai Jewish community in 1946 for the United Nations.

Special Exhibition Programs

Special Exhibition Opening: Recounting the Shanghai Jewish Story
Thursday, August 8, 6 p.m. Reception | 7 p.m. Program

Prominent American photojournalist Arthur Rothstein was working for the United Nations at the end of World War II when he traveled through a community of Jewish refugees living in Shanghai, China. Moved by their stories of persecution and displacement in Europe, he photographed their lives. Dr. Ann Rothstein-Segan joins us to share her father’s story.

An Unlikely Refuge: The Jews of Shanghai
Wednesday, September 4 at 7 p.m.

Historian Dvir Bar-Gal joins us to discuss the arrival of Jewish refugees in the Hongkew District of Shanghai, their relationship with their Chinese and Japanese neighbors, and how the community of refugees adapted to life in China.

A Shanghai Story: Knocking on the Doors of History
Sunday, November 10 at 7 p.m.

Join us for a stage reading of the play Knocking on the Doors of History that follows the Kaufmann family from their experiences during Kristallnacht to their subsequent escape to Shanghai, China as their last hope for refuge before the outbreak of World War II.

Survival in Shanghai: Manny Gabler
Date to be Announced

Manfred “Manny” Sigmund Gabler was only one when his parents arrived in Shanghai, China on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. Manny joins us to recount his experience of the war as a young child, and his family’s journey to the United States.

Made Possible By

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is grateful to the following generous sponsors and community partners for their support of Hidden History. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Elizabeth Adams, Director of Corporate Partnerships, at eadams@dhhrm.org.

From early 1942 direct communication between Shanghai and Europe was almost impossible. After the war ended in August of 1945, rumors of the mass extermination of Jews in Europe began reaching China, and by early 1946 the scale of the Holocaust was becoming clear. Relief agencies such as AJDC and UNRRA sought to reunite survivors and displaced people. Lists of European concentration camp survivors were posted in Shanghai, but successful reunions were the rare exception. In this poignant photograph, refugees search the lists for relatives and friends who may have survived the Holocaust.
Hongkew, Shanghai, China. April 1946 Photo by Arthur Rothstein From early 1942 direct communication between Shanghai and Europe was almost impossible. After the war ended in August of 1945, rumors of the mass extermination of Jews in Europe began reaching China, and by early 1946 the scale of the Holocaust was becoming clear. Relief agencies such as AJDC and UNRRA sought to reunite survivors and displaced people. Lists of European concentration camp survivors were posted in Shanghai, but successful reunions were the rare exception. In this poignant photograph, refugees search the lists for relatives and friends who may have survived the Holocaust.
Resident Certificate for Grete Sinai, Shanghai, 1940

Courtesy of the Millett Family.
Resident Certificate for Grete Sinai, Shanghai, 1940 Courtesy of the Millett Family.
The player on the left is Charles Jordan, a staff member of the American Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC) relief agency. Beginning in 1945 he served as the agency’s Director of Far Eastern Activities, and later was appointed Executive Vice Chairman of the AJDC. He was murdered in Prague in August 1967. The case remains unsolved.
Hongkew, Shanghai, China. April 1946 Photo by Arthur Rothstein The player on the left is Charles Jordan, a staff member of the American Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC) relief agency. Beginning in 1945 he served as the agency’s Director of Far Eastern Activities, and later was appointed Executive Vice Chairman of the AJDC. He was murdered in Prague in August 1967. The case remains unsolved.
This is the entrance gate to the former Shanghai Ghetto, close to the UNRRA relief distribution center. The wall displays typical postwar images suggesting the prevailing atmosphere in the former ghetto: the “V for Victory” symbol is surrounded by the flags of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the Republic of China.
Shanghai, China. April 1946 Photo by Arthur Rothstein This is the entrance gate to the former Shanghai Ghetto, close to the UNRRA relief distribution center. The wall displays typical postwar images suggesting the prevailing atmosphere in the former ghetto: the “V for Victory” symbol is surrounded by the flags of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the Republic of China.
Photo Album
Photo album of the Millet family’s journey to Shanghai in 1938, documenting life aboard the ship with other refugees. Courtesy of the Millett family
Blue Kippah
Kaifeng, c. 1930s Kippah of blue satin from Kaifeng, China. Collection of Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. Gift of Nancy Berman and Alan Block

An Immersive, Interactive Journey Unlike Any Other

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