Finding aid for the Shanghai Jewish Community Oral History Collection | SJOH

Summary Information

Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library
Hochstadt, Steven Lawrence, 1948-
Shanghai Jewish Community Oral History Project
99.0 interviews
Language of Materials
Most of the interviews are in English but a number of them are in German.

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Biographical or Historical Note

Shanghai has functioned as an important haven for Jewish refugees from anti-semitism throughout the twentieth century. After British victories over a weak Chinese government in the 1840's, Shanghai became an open city, governed by Western imperialists. Persian Jews with British allegiance, like the Sassoon family, settled there by the end of the nineteenth century. The ease of entry into Shanghai and the existence of a Jewish community there made Shanghai into a possible haven for Jews fleeing persecution. Sephardic Jews in the Turkish Empire, worried about being drafted into the Turkish army during World War I, fled eastward along the shores of the Indian Ocean; many ended up in Shanghai. Russian Jews fled both the socialist revolution in 1917 and the anti-semitic policies of Joseph Stalin in the 1920's. They poured into northern China and many reached as far south as Shanghai.

The largest group of refugees fled from the Nazis in the late 1930's, when other potential places of refuge were closed off. The Shanghai Jews were among the last to leave Germany and Austria, having experienced the full brunt of Nazi persecution for six years. After Kristallnacht the only possibility of escape for most German Jews was Shanghai, with no visa requirements. From German concentration camps to Fascist Italian ships sailing through the Suez Canal to cosmopolitan and lawless Shanghai, these refugees escaped Europe just before war broke out. Arriving in Shanghai penniless, they were greeted by two already thriving Jewish communities, one Russian Ashkenasi and the other Persian Sephardic. By the time that World War II broke out, Shanghai housed about 1,000 Jews of Baghdadi origin, 7,000 Russian Jews, and 16,000 to 18,000 Jews from Germany, Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. After 1943 the refugees who had arrived after 1937 were confined in a bombed-out slum by Japanese occupation forces, the only ghetto outside of Europe. This community rapidly dispersed after 1945 to Israel and the United States, with small contingents emigrating to Canada, Australia, and back to Europe. By the 1950's very few European Jews were left in Shanghai.

Scope and Contents note

The Shanghai Jewish Community Oral History Project is directed by Steve Hochstadt, former Professor of History at Bates College. 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. The rest were taped in Florida, California, Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Chicago, and other places.

The collection consists of 99 audiotaped interviews with over 115 Shanghai Jews. Currently 64 of the interviews have been transcribed and transcription work continues.

Organization and arrangement note

Organized into two series: I. Interviews and II. Administrative files; arranged alphabetically by last name

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston, Maine, 04240

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the administrative files is restricted and also to some of the interviews. Contact staff for further information.

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Collection Inventory


Arrangement note

Arranged alphabetically by last name.

Scope and contents note

Series is comprised of audiotapes and printed transcripts of the interviews.

Existence and Location of Copies note

Digital copies of some of the interviews can be viewed online.

Max Ackerman interview June 7, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Max Ackerman was born on October 21, 1900, in Ujpest in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When he was 4 years old, his family moved to Vienna, where he learned to be a tailor. In 1928 Ackerman played with the Austrian national team in field hockey in the Amsterdam Olympic Games. After "Kristallnacht" he had to flee to Shanghai with his wife and children. There he opened a tailoring business. He often played an important role in sporting events in Shanghai, especially as a boxing referee. After the war he emigrated to Bolivia and later to the USA. Ackerman lived in Los Angeles until his death.

Kurt Benger interview June 8, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Kurt Benger was born in Grimmen, Germany, in November 1908. He worked in the clothing business, but was fired from Karstadt in Hamburg in April 1933 because he was Jewish. He later moved to Berlin, where he got married on November 15, 1938, just before they left for Shanghai on November 23. In Shanghai he held many jobs, and had to take care of his wife, Friedel, who was very sick. They had a son, Daniel Benger, in September 1939. In 1947 the family sailed to the United States on the “General Meiggs” and settled temporarily in St. Paul, moving to Long Beach in 1948. After Friedel died, Benger married again. Kurt Benger died in 1992.

Helga Beutler interview March 3, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Helga (Calm) Beutler was born in Berlin on August 8, 1925. Her family moved to Chemnitz when her father, Carl Calm, changed jobs. There she experienced anti-semitic persecution in school. Carl Calm was arrested after "Kristallnacht." In May 1939 the family Calm traveled to Shanghai, where Helga learned nursing. Due to poor health, she spent much time in the hospital. In 1947 she returned to East Berlin with her parents. In 1948 she married Gustav Beutler, who also had been in Shanghai with his son Martin (see interview with Martin Beutler), and moved with him to Leuna, where she lives.

Martin Beutler interview June 29, 1995   3.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Martin Beutler was born in Merseburg in 1934, where his father, Gustav Beutler, had a tobacco business. Gustav Beutler was arrested on November 10, 1938, and sent to Buchenwald. The family traveled to Shanghai on the German ship "Usaramo" out of Hamburg in April 1939. In Shanghai Martin Beutler attended the Kadoorie School and lived in Chusan Road in Hongkew with his father. They both returned to Germany on the "Marine Lynx" in 1947 and lived in Leuna. Martin Beutler lives now in Berlin.

Gerald Bigus interview June 9, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Gerard Bigus was born in Berlin. His family owned a gentlemen's outfitting store, which was destroyed in the night of November 9-10, 1938. He was fourteen years old when his family left Berlin in April 1939, and took passage on the "Conte Rosso" to Shanghai. There Bigus became an apprentice in the radio trade, passed his journeyman's exam, and worked in radio repair. His father died just before the war ended. After the war, Bigus worked for the U.S. Army as a warehouseman and for a hospital as a stock clerk. In December 1948 he and his mother sailed for Israel on the "Wooster Victory." There he served in the army. In 1958 they moved to the United States. Gerard Bigus lives in California with his wife, also a Shanghailander.

Mia Blocker interview June 28, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Mia Blocker was born in Vienna in 1927. In 1938, following the Austrian Anschluss, she was sent to Norwich, Norfolk, England, where she lived in safety for two years. In 1940, she left England to join her family in Shanghai. She and her family, the Hochstadts, were wealthier than many of the other Jewish families who had come to Shanghai to escape Nazi persecution (Ms. Blocker's father was a doctor) and so they were able to live in the International Settlement in Shanghai, which was controlled by the British, French, and Americans (until 1941). Ms. Blocker attended the Public School for Girls, the Internatoinal Settlement school, from which she graduated in 1944. That same year she enrolled at St. John's University in Shanghai, but after the war ended, transferred to the University of California at Berkeley.

W. Michael Blumenthal interview February 3, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Michael Blumenthal was born in Oranienburg in 1926, where his family owned a bank. In the wake of the Depression, the family moved to Berlin about 1930, and his mother opened a store for ladies’ accessories. He attended a public school until 1936 and the private Waldschule Kaliski until 1939. His father was arrested during Kristallnacht. In April 1939 the family sailed to Shanghai on the “Haruna Maru”. There Blumenthal joined the Boy Scouts and attended the Shanghai Jewish School. After leaving school in 1942, he worked for the Swiss company Lieberman Wälchli and for Mutual Chemical Industry. After the end of the war he worked for the American armed forces.

After coming to the United States, Blumenthal earned a Ph.D. in economics at Princeton University. He became CEO of Bendix Corporation and UNISYS, and served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Jimmy Carter. Blumenthal serves on the board of the International Rescue Committee. In 1997, he became Director of the Jüdisches Museum Berlin.

Fanny and George Borenstein interview February 22, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

George Borenstein was born in Warsaw and was a Polish soldier when the Germans invaded in 1939. He fled to Vilna in Lithuania and was able to get a transit visa through the Soviet Union from Sugihara, the Japanese Consul in Kovno, along with more than one thousand other Jewish refugees. After a brief stay in Japan, Borenstein and the others were sent to Shanghai.

Fanny Burstyn fled Vienna at age 17 with her boyfriend to Switzerland, where they were married. In late 1939 they took a French ship to Shanghai. Her husband was killed in the American bombing of Shanghai on July 17, 1945. Later she married George Borenstein and they went to France, Israel, and eventually the United States. George Borenstein died on September 15, 2003 and Fanny died on October 23, 2007.

Melitta Colland interview September 30, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Melitta Colland (neé Sommerfreund) was born in November 24, 1917. One of her brothers left Vienna for Panama, another went to Shanghai in December 1938, and she sailed with her mother Sarah on the "Conte Verde" to Shanghai in the summer of 1939. She immediately started her own dress shop. After the war broke out, Colland lost the business and had to move to Hongkew. In 1944 she married Dr. Bruno Meyerowitz, a refugee from Germany. They had a daughter, Asherah, in Spetember 1945. The family left for Panama in 1947, and soon afterwards for the U.S. Mrs. Colland lives in Connecticut.

Ernest E. Culman interview October 18, 1997   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ernest Culman (formerly Ernst Culmann) was born in Liegnitz on 2 December 1929. His father, a doctor, was arrested on Kristallnacht. Culman, his brother Hans, and their parents sailed on a Dutch ship to Shanghai in June 1939. His father had difficulty establishing himself as a doctor, so his family and some friends started a luncheon business. Later his mother baked cakes and took in sewing. Culman attended the Shanghai Jewish School, then after 1942 the Kadoorie School. He made his Bar Mitzvah in Shanghai. The Culman family lived in the SACRA building, which was bombed by the Americans on 17 July 1945, but none of them were hurt.

After the war, Culman apprenticed in camera repair. The family left Shanghai in January 1947 for San Francisco, and settled in Baltimore. Culman continued in camera repair, was drafted during the Korean War, and later became a manager with Industrial Photo and Pen Camera. He and his wife Anya Hoffman live near Washington, D.C.

Walter Dawid interview May 4, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Walter Dawid was born in Vienna. His father was employed by the shipping agency Caro and Jellinek. In March 1939, the Dawid family, parents and two children, fled to Shanghai. In Shanghai, Dawid’s mother Sarolta worked as a secretary for the Hungarian Association from 1941 to 1946. After the creation of the Designated Area by the Japanese in 1943, the family moved to Hongkou, where they lived in the SACRA building. Dawid attended the Kadoorie School until the family left for Vienna in January 1947 on the “Marine Falcon”. At the time of the interview, he worked for the Bank Gebrüder Gutmann Nachfolger.

Hanns Eisenstaedt interview August 12-13, 1991   4.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Hanns Eisenstaedt wurde am 5. Juni 1913 in Berlin geboren. Er hat 1936 bei einer Maschinengewehrkompanie der Deutschen Wehrmacht gedient. Nach seiner Entlassung wurde er wegen Rassenschande dreimal verhaftet. Er bekam 8 Monate Gefängnis, währenddessen sein Vater in Buchenwald gestorben ist. Eisenstaedt fuhr am 23. November 1938 mit dem “Conte Biancamano” aus Genoa nach Shanghai.

In Shanghai hat er im Shanghai Volunteer Corps gedient. Er hat als Taxifahrer und Kellner gearbeitet, und hat Wasser verkauft. Nach dem Ende des Krieges hat er als Busfahrer für die amerikanische Militär gearbeitet. In 1949 ist Eisenstaedt nach Los Angeles gefahren, wo er | | Jahre gelebt hat. Jetzt wohnt er mit seiner Frau, Tina, in Berlin.

Fred Erdman interview February 21, 1990   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Fred Erdman was born in 1899 in Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1904 his family moved to Vienna. In March 1938 he lost his savings and his rubber factory, and in November his family was arrested. He sent his daughter to England with a children's transport. In July 1939 Erdman left Vienna with his wife on their way to Shanghai, but was able to get off in Singapore and was hired to work in a rubber factory. In 1940 his American quota number came up, and they sailed to the United States, stopping for three weeks in Shanghai. Erdman was reunited with his daughter in the United States.

Martin and Susie Friedlander February 21, 1990   3.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Martin Friedlander was born in 1913. He left Berlin for Shanghai in April 1939, on a German ship. He worked supplying food to the Jewish camp kitchens in Hongkew, as a parachute rigger for the American Army, and as an interior decorator. Susie Friedlander left Berlin with her parents in March 1939, at the age of 14, and sailed to Shanghai from Genoa on the Conte Biancomano. She worked as a nanny and in an American PX. They met in Shanghai after the war and were married after coming to the United States in 1949. Martin Friedlander died on December 10, 2009.

Arnold Fuchs interview April 18, 1997   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Arnold Fuchs was born in Breslau in 1928, where he went to school. His father was Jewish, his mother was not. After his uncle was sent to Sachsenhausen in the wake of "Kristallnacht," his family took passage on the "Conte Rosso" to Shanghai in April 1939. Soon after arrival, his parents divorced, and he moved with his mother into a Chatholic compound. He attended St. Francis Xavier School. He later worked as an apprentice to a dental technician, and after the war for the UNRRA.

Fuchs and his mother sailed as part of a transport of 106 refugees from Tientsin to San Francisco, then across the U.S. in a sealed train, and sailed further to Bremen in 1950. They were able to come back to the U.S. in 1951. He became a practicing psychologist in Maine.

Elisabeth Gangleberger and Heinrich Krausz interview May 30, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Elisabeth Ganglberger was born in Shanghai in 1940. Her father, Dr. Hans Ludwig Modern was a doctor and arrived in Shanghai on May 7, 1939, on the “Conto Rosso” out of Trieste. Her pregnant mother, Leopoldine Modern, arrived in Shanghai in 1940. Dr. Modern worked in the Salvation Army hospital and Mrs. Modern was a nurse in the Ward Road hospital. The family returned to Vienna on the “Marine Falcon”, which sailed from Shanghai on January 17, 1947.

Heinrich K. was born in Vienna in 1938. His parents married in Vienna in 1931. His father, Wilhelm K. was arrested and interned in Dachau in the wake of Kristallnacht. With his mother, Salomea K., Heinrich traveled with the Trans-Siberian Railroad in February 1941 to Vladivostok, then further to Japan and Shanghai. He attended the Kadoorie School. The family returned to Vienna on the “Marine Falcon”, which sailed from Shanghai on January 17, 1947. Mr. K. did not wish to make his full name public.

Herbert and Ilse Greening interview February 19, 1997   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ilse Greening, née Braunsberg, was born in Hannover July 11, 1919. She began working for a lawyer at age 16. Herbert Grüberger was born in Königshütte on December 13, 1912, and moved with his family to Hindenburg in 1922. He Studied medicine in Bonn, Berlin and Breslau, and graduated in 1936. He became an intern in a hospital in Hannover. Ilse and Herbert were married in December 1938, and took the freighter "Oldenburg" to Shanghai in April 1939, with Ilse's mother Erna and sister Eva.

In Shanghai, Ilse's uncle, Bruno Italiener, helped them rent an apartment in the French Concession, but they soon moved to Hongkou, where Herbert set up a medical practice in Kung Ping Road. Ilse worked in the Chartered Bank of India and China. After Pearl Harbor, the Bank was taken over by the Japanese authorities. Both Ilse and Herbert attended the Chinese wounded by the American boming of Hongkou in July 1945. Their son was born in December 1945.

They left Shanghai for Australia in January 1949, changing their name to Greening, and arrived in the U.S. in Aubust 1950. Herbert joined a medical practice in New York, and their daughter was born. After retirement, they moved to Florida. Herbert Greening died on April 30, 2004.

Doris Grey interview June 26, 1991   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Doris Grey was born in Hindenburg, Upper Silesia, in 1912. She studied nursing and worked in Breslau, before moving to Berlin and becoming head nurse at the Krankenhaus der Jüdischen Gemeinde. In Berlin, she married William Cohn. On May 5, 1940, they left Berlin for Genoa, where they sailed to Shanghai on the "Conte Verde." She worked at the Emigrants Hospital in the Ward Road Heim as head nurse, while her husband continued his work as an art dealer. In January 1947 they left Shanghai on the "Marine Lynx" for the United States. After becoming widowed, she married Benny Grey, who survived the war in the Soviet Union. The live in California.

Heinz Grunberg interview May 31, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Heinz Grünberg ist 1933 in Wien geboren. Sein Vater ist voraus geflüchtet, dann hat seine Mutter es fertiggebracht, daß sie mit Sohn sowohl auch mit ihren Geschwistern in 1939 nach Shanghai fahren konnten. Die Familie hat in der Chusan Road gewohnt. Grüberg hat Polio bekommen in Shanghai. Er hat die Kadoorie Schule besucht, und hat begonnen, Geige zu spielen.

Die Familie ist mit dem “Captain Marcos” im Januar 1949 zurück nach Wien gefahren. Grüberg hat jahrelang Geige mit dem Orchester Wiener Symphoniker gespielt. Er wohnt noch in Wien.

Yehuda Halevy interview April 25, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Yehuda Halevy was born in 1937 in Shanghai. His family came from Iraq via India and arrived in Shanghai in the late 1920s. Halevy attended the Shanghai Jewish School next to the Ohel Rachel synagogue. Two older brothers left for Israel in 1948 and the rest of the family sailed for Israel in 1949. Halevy graduated from the Bar Ilan University, served 27 years in the Israeli Army and eventually reached the rank of general. He was President of the State of Israel Bonds and is now Executive Vice-President of the Bar Ilan University. He is married and divides his time between Israel and New York.

Ralph Hirsch interview April 22, 1994   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ralph Hirsch was born on December 2, 1930, in Berlin. After attending the Volksschule, he had to transfer to a Jewish school after Kristallnacht. The Hirsch family left Berlin in October 1940 by train to Moscow, and then with the Trans-Siberian Railroad to China. They settled in Hongkou. Hirsch attended the Kadoorie School. His father worked occasionally for the Joint Distribution Committee and as an accountant for some refugees’ small businesses until the war ended. His mother opened a hat shop, and when that did not succeed, a candy store. In May 1947, the family left for the United States.

Hirsch is a city planner and lives in Philadelphia and in Germany. He founded and directs the Council on the Jewish Experience in Shanghai, an organization of former Shanghai refugees. He is married to Angelica Hack, an art historian and museum curator in Germany.

Rose Horowitz interview June 28, 1991   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Rose Horowitz was born as Rahma-Rose Jacob on November 3, 1924 in Shanghai. Her mother’s family was among the oldest Jewish settlers in Shanghai. After the Japanese takeover of Shanghai in December, 1941, the Jacob family lost jobs and possessions. Horowitz and her mother went to Canada in 1949, and then to the United States. She married George Horowitz, a Viennese refugee from the Nazis, who also spent the war in Shanghai. They live in Los Angeles. Rose Horowitz is active in the Skirball Museum’s work on Jews in China.

Sasson Jacoby interview April 24, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Sasson Jacoby was born on May 14, 1918 into a prominent Baghdadi family in Shanghai. His maternal grandfather was the first rabbi of the Ohel Rachel synagogue. His father was born in Baghdad and left the Turkish Empire just before World War I began. He was also a rabbi in Shanghai. Jacoby was educated at the Public and Thomas Hanbury School, where he won many medals as a runner. he was reporter for many English-language newspapers in Shanghai, beginning as a sports reporter for the "China Press", then later for the "Evening Post", the "Sunday Mercury", and the "Shanghai Times". After the Japanese occupied Shanghai, he joined the English language department of the Japanese Domei News Agency from 1942 to 1945. In 1948 he left for Israel.

In Israel, Jacoby worked for the Jerusalem Post, and was part of the editorial team from 1952 to 1982. Then he wrote regularly for the "Bulletin" of Igud Yotzei Sin. He died on June 11, 2006.

Boris Katz interview April 21, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Boris Katz was born in Russia in 1923. In January 1931, he and his family left Moscow for Shanghai. They took a train across Siberia to Vladivostok, where they remained for a month. They then moved on to Harbin, in Manchuria, and stayed there six months. Just before the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, in September 1931, he and his family left for Shanghai, where they remained until after the end of World War II. In 1947, Mr. Katz left Shanghai to attend the University of California at Berkeley.

Charles Klotzer interview September 4, 1993   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Charles Klotzer was born Lothar Gustav Gabriel Klotzer in Berlin on November 1, 1925. His father, Salo Klotzer, served in World War I, and was connected with the theater in Berlin. His mother Meta ran a toy store. Salo Klotzer was arrested in June 1938, sent to Buchenwald, and was released when Meta Klotzer procured tickets to Shanghai. The three sailed to Shanghai in March 1939 on the "Conte Biancamano," and Klotzer's sister, Elfriede, went to England on a work permit.

In Shanghai Klotzer attended the Kadoorie School, joined the Boy Scouts and the Tikvah Club. He worked manufacturing paint. After the war, Klotzer worked for Charles Jordan, head of the Shanghai office of the Joint Distribution Committee.

In December 1947 the Klotzer family came to the United States and settled in St. Louis. Klotzer wrote for several newspapers and then founded the St. Louis Journalism Review . He lives with his wife Rose in St. Louis.

Gerard Kohbieter-Slaxon interview December 9, 1994   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Gerhard Kohbieter was born in Berlin on May 30, 1922. He sailed alone to Shanghai in March 1939 at age 16. In Shanghai he worked as a magician and lived mainly in the Alcock Heim. He also sold books. In 1947 he arrived in New York, and later lived in San Francisco, working as a magician under the name Gérard Slaxon. He finally settled in Berlin. Shortly after this interview, he died on Janurary 4, 1995, of complications from an operation. He is survived by his widow, Renate Kohbieter.

Alfred Kohn interview April 13, 1997   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Alfred Kohn was born in Berlin in January 1927. His family, including his younger brother, traveled to Shanghai on an Italian ship in late 1939. His father began work as a furrier for a Russian Jewish firm. Kohn played soccer and boxed in the Hongkew ghetto, and became a well-known sports figure, nicknamed Lako, "der lange Kohn." In September 1947 Kohn arrived in the United States and began work in the fur business in New York. He is retired and lives with his wife in Florida.

Peter Konicki interview March 19, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Peter Konicki wurde 1935 in Berlin geoboren. Sein Vater war internationaler Handelsvertreter für pharmazeutischen Grosshandel, und ist im Oktober 1938 nach Shanghai geflüchtet. Die Familie ist ihm im Juli 1939 mit dem “Conte Verde” gefolgt.

Zuerst lebte die Familie Konicki im International Settlement. Der Vater konnte eine Fabrik für pharmazeutische Produkte betreiben. Peter Konicki besuchte eine englische Schule. Im 1943 musste die Familie nach Hongkew umziehen. Peter besuchte die Kadoorie Schule und sein Vater wurde Stoffhändler. Die Familie is nach Berlin mit dem “Marine Lynx” im August 1947 zurückgekehrt. Peter Konicki ist noch als wirtschaftsingenieur in Berlin tätig.

Rena Krasno interview April 20, 1994   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Rena Krasno was born in Shanghai in 1923. Her parents were both Russian Jews who married in Shanghai. Krasno attended the French Municipal College. Her father edited the trilingual newspaper Nasha Zhizn, while her mother opened the Peter Pan children’s shop. After leaving Shanghai, she has lived in Israel, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Germany, and the United States. She is a professional interpreter, and has worked for UNESCO and the International Labor Organization.

Krasno has written a book about her wartime experiences in Shanghai, Strangers Always: a Jewish Family in Wartime Shanghai, as well as Kneeling Carabao and Dancing Giants: Celebrating Filipino Festivals. She is Director of Public Affairs for the Sino-Judaic Institute.

Ilse Krips interview February 28, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ilse Krips was born on September 25, 1918 in Westphalia. She attended the Volksschule and later a Lyceum run by Catholic nuns in Paderborn. Because of Nazi anti-semitic legislation, she had to change to a trade school in Rheydt. In 1938 she married Hermann Krips, who was arrested one week after Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau. Mrs. Krips bought 2 tickets to Shanghai in order to get her husband out of Dachau, and in March 1939 both sailed to Shanghai. At this time, Mrs Krips was already pregnant. In October 1939 Sonja Krips was born (see interview with Sonja Mühlberger).

Hermann Krips founded an anti-fascist study group which included about 10 Communists and leftists. He sold eggs while Mrs. Krips cared for the family. Peter Krips was born in 1945. The family traveled with the first transport back to Germany and arrived in Berlin on August 21, 1947. Mrs. Krips lives in Potsdam.

Erwin Landau interview May 5, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Erwin Landau was born in Vienna on 22 July 1929. His family, the parents with two small children, tried unsuccessfully to cross the border by foot into France. In March 1939, the family traveled from Naples to Shanghai on the “Conte Biancamano”. In Shanghai, Landau attended the Kadoorie School and was a member of Betar. After graduation, he worked on radios as an electrician. On 31 December 1948 the Landau family sailed to Israel. After a stay in a camp, Landau served in the Israeli Army for two years, as the rest of the family returned to Vienna. In 1952 he also returned to Vienna and married in 1953.

Robert Langer interview October 17, 1999   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Robert Langer was born in Vienna on January 22, 1929. He lived with his father Ignatz, a waiter, and his mother Stephanie (neé Waldapfel) in the 9th District. Two uncles, Eugen and Desiderius Waldapfel, were arrested on Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau. The family left for Genoa in January, 1939, and sailed to Shanghai on the "Conte Biancamano." The uncles were also able to get to Shanghai.

Upon arrival the Langers rented a room on Wayside Ave., and Ignatz got a job in the Klinger restaurant. Later in 1939 he and his brothers opened the Delikat Restaurant on Chusan Road. Robert first attended the Shanghai Jewish School, then later in 1939, he switched to the Shanghai Jewish Youth Association School, commonly called the Kadoorie School in Hongkou. When the Designated Area was declared in 1943, the Langers lived on the wrong side of Wayside Rd. and had to move.

Robert quit school in 1942 and worked in a weaving factory, as a goldsmith's apprentice, and took secretarial courses at the Deamans' New Gregg School of Business. After the war ended, he became the first President of the Tikvah Club and sat on the board of the Jewish Community Center. He worked for Charles Jordan in the American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee office, which led to a career in social work.

In 1948, Robert came to New York on a student visa, and attended the Robert Louis Stevenson School, then Brooklyn College, where he graduated in 1952. After serving in the U.S. Army, he began a career as an administrator of philanthropic organizations in Michigan, St. Louis, and New York. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Betty.

Ilse Lehmeier and Karin Pardo interview September 5, 1993   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ilse Cassel Lehmeier was born in Berlin in the early 1930s. She and her two sisters were sent by their parents to live with relatives in Sweden in early 1939. The parents then went to Shanghai, and in late 1940, the children travelled across the Soviet Union to join them. Lehmeier attended the Kadoorie School in Hongkew. She now lives in New York.

Karin Zacharias Pardo was born in Königsberg in 1931. Shortly before leaving for Shanghai, her family moved to Berlin and she attended a boarding school in Hannover. The family left in 1939 on the “Victoria” from Genoa. Along with two other families they met on the boat, they started the “Wayside Diele” restaurant on Wayside Road. Pardo attended the Kadoorie School and was a member of the Girl Guides. Her father, a lawyer, also started the cigar store “Zigarrengeschäft Zacharias,” created a lending library from his own collection, “Das Gute Buch,” and worked with the Schiedsgericht of the Jewish Community. The family came to the United States in 1947. Karin Pardo is a chemist who lives in Chicago

George Leonof interview April 19, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

George Leonof was born to a Russian Jewish family in 1915 in Manchuria. The family moved to Shanghai in 1922 and Leonof attended the British-run Shanghai Public School. He became a newspaper reporter with the China Press. After World War II, he worked for TASS in Shanghai and Beijing. In 1951, Leonof emigrated to Israel and continued as a reporter with the Jerusalem Post. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Rita, who was also raised in Shangai.

Lisbeth Loewenberg interview April 21, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Lisbeth Loewenberg and her mother sailed to Shanghai from Trieste in 1940, when she was eighteen. Her father had already sailed there in 1939. He died in Shanghai of cancer in 1942. She worked in Shanghai as a secretary. There she married Bruno Loewenberg from Berlin, who had spent thirteen months in Buchenwald. He ran a lending library on Ward Road. In 1948 they emigrated to the United States and settled in San Francisco, where Bruno opened a bookstore and Lisbeth worked for Collier's magazine. Lisbeth Loewenberg lives in San Francisco.

Gary Matzdorff interview October 16-17, 1999   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Gary (Günter) Matzdorff was born in Berlin on 10 July 1921. He attended the Jewish school in the Grosse Hamburger Strasse after 1933, and joined a rowing club, the Schwarze Fähnlein, and the Naumannianer. He apprenticed in the leather trade. His family sailed to Shanghai from Italy in April 1939 on the "S.S. Victoria." In Shanghai, Matzdorff worked for the Sino-Java import and Export Company until Pearl Harbor and the beginning of the Pacific War. He joined Betar and the Shanghai Volunteer Corps. The Matzdorff family lived within the Hongkew District. Matzdorff worked as a nightwatchman, delivered coal, and worked in a leather goods factory.

After the war, he did more leather work and drove a cab. He got married in 1947. The Matzdorff family came to the U.S. in 1948. He has prospered in the leather goods business since then in Minneapolis, Springfield, Ohio, and Los Angeles.

Ursula Melchior interview June 10, 1990   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ursula (Perlhöfter) Melchior was born in Breslau on November 10, 1913, and then moved to Mannheim. She was an actress, with her friend Fritz Melchior. After Kristallnacht he fled to Shanghai on the “Conte Verde,” and she followed him with the Trans-Siberian Railroad. They married in Shanghai, where Fritz Melchior founded a theater group in which she acted. She also worked as a nurse. In 1949 she came to the U.S., and he followed a year later. She died on October 26, 2001.

Bruno Miles interview September 3, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Bruno Miles (formerly Meyerowitz) was born in Königsberg on February 28, 1904, in an assimilated Jewish family. He attended a classical Gymnasium, then went to the University of Königsberg, where he studied medicine. He also studied in Berlin and Vienna. After passing his exams, he moved to Italy, where he worked in Palermo and Rome. Interested in tropical disease, he went to Shanghai in the mid-1930s. In Shanghai he had an office in one of the Heime for refugees. He married Melitta Sommerfreund in 1944, also a refugee from Germany. They had a daughter, Asherah, in September 1945. The family left for Panama in 1947, and soon afterwards for the U.S. They later divorced. At the time of this interview, Miles lived in New York City. He died on September 21, 1992.

Sonja Muhlberger interview January 28, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Sonja Mühlberger was born on October 26, 1939, in the Country Hospital in Shanghai. Her parents, Hermann and Ilse Krips (see interview with Ilse Krips), came to Shanghai in March 1939 on the Italian ship "Biancamano,' after Hermann Krips had survived 3 weeks in Dachau. In Shanghai Hermann Krips sold eggs and founded an anti-fascist study group. Sonja Mühlberger attended the Shanghai Jewish Youth Association School (the so-called Kadoorie School). Her brother Peter was born in 1945. In August 1947 the Krips family returned to Germany on the "Marine Lynx" and since then has lived and worked in eastern Germany. Sonja Mühlberger is a language teacher in Berlin.

Eugenia and Gunter Nobel interview January 17, 1995; February 16, 1995   4.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Günter Nobel ist am 9. März 1913 in Filehne, damals preussische Provinz Posen, geboren. Sein Vater und Groß vater waren Rabbiner. Am Ende der Weimarer Republik war er in der Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei, SAP, aktiv. Eugenia Nobel ist am 13. Dezember 1912 in Moskau geboren. Wegen der Russischen Revolution ist ihre Familie nach Frankreich gefahren, und dann nach drei Jahren nach Deutschland. Nach der Machtergreifung im Januar 1933 haben sie sich entschlossen, in die illegal KPD zu gehen. In 1934 haben sie geheiratet. Sie haben gemeinsam eine illegal Zeitung herausgegeben, und in 1936 wurden sie verhaftet. Sie kamen im August 1939 aus dem Zuchthaus und sind sofort über Genua nach Shanghai gefahren. In Shanghai gehörten Eugenia und Günter Nobel einem politischen Kreis um Heinz Przyb. Günter Nobel hat Eier verkauft und Eugenia Nobel hat für HICEM und dann für “Tass,” die sovietische Nachrichtenagentur, gearbeitet. Eugenia und Günter Nobel sind 1947 mit dem “Marine Lynx” wieder nach Deutschland gefahren, und wohnten und arbeiteten seitdem in der DDR. Eugenia Nobel ist im September 1999 gestorben.

Rita Opitz interview June 26, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Rita Opitz ist 1932 in Rathenow geboren, wo ihr Vater, Berthold Metis, bei Kaufhaus Conitzer gearbeitet hat und sich als Kabarettist und Journalist betätigt hat. Ihr Vater wurde am 10. November 1938 verhaftet und nach Sachsenhausen gebracht. Sie und ihre Eltern sin dim Dezember 1938 nach Shanghai gefahren.

In Shanghai hat Opitz die Kadoorie Schule besucht. Ihr Vater hat in der Gruppe mit Boris Sapiro Kabarett und Theater gemacht, und auch nach dem Krieg für die UNRRA gearbeitet. Im August 1947 kehrte die Familie Metis auf dem “Marine Lynx” nach Deutschland zurück, und wohnte und arbeitete seitdem in der DDR. Opitz und ihr Familie verbrachte 20 Jahre im Ausland, weil ihr Mann im auswärtigen Dienst der DDR tätig war. Sie lebt jetzt in Berlin.

Paula Parks interview April 19, 1991   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Paula Kornmehl was born in Vienna, Austria, on December 1, 1909. Her family owned butcher stores. She married Felix Pollak in Vienna in 1932, and studied x-ray technology just before leaving. They left for Shanghai in September 1938, via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Her parents also were able to go to Shanghai on the "Conte Verde." She taught French and worked as a governess for French families before the war broke out. Felix started a tailor shop. Her parents opened a small coffee shop and then the St. George Buffet. Because of the Japanese Proclamation of February 1943, Paula and Felix Pollak and her parents had to move into the Designated Area. She still worked as a teacher and governess for French children. After the war, she got a job as secretary for the Director General of Crédit Foncier d’Extrême Orient, from August 1946 to September 1949. She and her husband went with her parents to Montreal. Later they moved to the United States. Paula Parks lived in Florida and died June 8, 1994.

Curt Pollack interview April 22, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Curt Pollack was born in Berlin on 14 August 1927. On 9 November 1938 (the date of the Nazi pogrom commonly referred to as the Kristallnacht) his father, a businessman, was arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned in Buchenwald. Subsequently, his mother began trying to find a place to which their family could emigrate (and in this way obtain the release of her husband from the concentration camp). The Nazis released her husband, and on 31 May 1939, the Pollack family (including Curt) set sail for China. After arriving there, they lived in a modest apartment in the poorer Hongkew district, which was controlled by the Japanese, for the duration of the war.

Erick Reisman interview February 17, 1997   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Eric Reisman was born in Vienna, Austria, on April 26, 1926. His family originated in Czechoslovakia. At the time of the Anschluss, Reisman's mother was forced to scrub the sidewalk outside of their apartment. Reisman, his brother Paul, and their parents, managed to get a Chinese visa from the Consul Feng Shan Ho, which helped them get a passage to Shanghai on the "Conte Biancamano" in November 1938.

In Shanghai Reisman attended the Public and Thomas Hambry School, then the Kadoorie School. He celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Hongkou in April 1939. In 1943 they had to move into the Deginated Area. Reisman worked in a pharmacy and learned to box from Alfred Kohn, nicknamed "Lako." After the war ended, he worked for Northwest Airlines at Kiangwan airport. His parents came to the United States in 1947. His brother Paul married in Shanghai and went to Bolivia. Reisman came to the U.S. in 1949. He got married and worked many years for Sikorsky Aircraft. Eric Reisman died on June 30, 1999.

Paul and Gertrude Reisman interview May 7, 1997   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Paul Reisman was born in 1923. He lived in Vienna with his parents, Oskar and Hermina, and younger brother Eric. After the Anschluss, he witnessed the murder of a Jewish classmate in their school. The family received a visa from Feng Shan Ho, the Chinese Consul, and sailed to Shanghai. There Paul was apprenticed in the China General Omnibus Company, where he worked for 3 years and learned Chinese. His parents sold fruits and vegetables in the open market, and he eventually became a food wholesaler. After the creation of the Designated Area in 1943, he sold to the Kitchen Fund at the Alcock Heim. He also played soccer for the Brit Noar Zioni team. In 1944 the family lived in Tong Shan Road. After the end of the war, Paul got a job with the American Air Transport Command as an airplane mechanic. He married Trude Zalusky in 1946.

Gertrude Zalusky was born in Vienna in 1928 and lived with her parents, David and Stella, and older sister Lore. Her father was arrested after the Anschluss and spent 6 ½ months in Dachau. Her mother sold their furniture and got a ship's ticket so he could go to Shanghai. Then her mother was arrested and spent a week in jail. Trude at age 9 went to the Gestapo office and demanded her mother's release. Her sister Lore was able to go to Palestine at age 13, and then Trude and her mother took the "Conte Biancamano" around the Cape of Good Hope to Shanghai in 1940. In Shanghai, Trude attended the Kadoorie School and took singing lessons. Her father worked as a leather tanner. She sang in various refugee productions, including the "Zigeunerbaron" by Johann Strauss. She apprenticed for 3 years as a hairdresser. In 1944 the family lived in Kwen Ming Road. After the war, she opened her own business at age 17.

Paul and Trude Reisman left Shanghai in 1947 for Bolivia. In 1949, they moved to Israel to be with Trude's sister, and their son Daniel was born shortly after they arrived. They lived on a kibbutz and Paul worked for the Israeli Air Force as a civilian. In 1952, the family moved to the U.S., where Paul worked for Sikorsky Aviation. The Reismans live in Connecticut.

Terry Rohe interview June 27, 1994   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Terry Flettrich Rohe was born in Omsk, Russia, on August 30, 1917, in the middle of the Russian Revolution. Her father, Jacov Brick, was a pharmacist and her mother a dentist. Her family moved to China in 1920, living for a short time in Tientsin, and then going further to Shanghai. Her father worked for the Soviet Consulate in the trade mission and her mother opened a dental practice in downtown Shanghai. In 1927 her father opened an import-export office on the Bund. He served as President of the Jewish Club. Her mother was a director of the Shanghai Hebrew Relief Society and Shelter House, which aided many refugees from the Nazis. Her parents flew out of Shanghai just before the Communists took over in 1949 and moved to Marseilles, then to Rio de Janeiro, and finally to the U.S.

Rohe attended the Thomas Hambry School for Women, and then the Shanghai American School. After attending the University of Shanghai, she took a fellowship to Linfield College in Oregon in 1937, and then did postgraduate work at Columbia Univearsity. She has had a long and distinguished career in television and film. Terry Rohe lives in Maine.

Hans A. Rosenthal interview March 28, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Professor Dr. Hans Alfred Rosenthal was born in Berlin in 1924, son of a book seller, Alfred Rosenthal. In 1935 he had to leave his school and attend the Jewish Mittelschule in the Grosse Hamburger Strasse. His uncle was arrested in November 1938 and sent to Sachsenhausen. From October 1939 to April 1940 Rosenthal went to Hachsharah in the Niederlausitz. Later he was a slave laborer in a munitions factory. During the so-called Fabrikaktion in February 1943, he was incarcerated in the Rosenstrasse and released after the famous demonstration there by Christian women. Rosenthal survived the war with relatives of his Christian mother. After the war Rosenthal attended the Berlin University, and later became director of the Institute for Virology of the Humboldt University.

Rosenthal's father went to Shanghai in April 1939 on the "MS Viktoria." There he contracted turberculosis and stayed in the hospital for 6 years. He returned to Germany with the first transport of refugees in August 1947.

Henry Rossetty interview June 8, 1990   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Henry Rossetty was born Rosenfeld in Berlin in 1905. His father, Eugene Rosenfeld, was an opera singer. Rossetty became an electrician and then a band leader in Berlin until 1933. In 1939 he and his wife, Wally, and three other band members took a Japanese ship from Italy to Shanghai. Two days after arrival Rossetty and his band found work. Rossetty sailed to the United States after the war on the "General Gordon," and went to work in Chicago. Eventually they settled in southern California. Rossetty died in 1992.

Kantor Leo Roth interview June 19, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Kantor Leo Roth wurde 1921 in Graz geboren und da auf das Gymnasium gegangen. Mit seiner Schwester ist er nach England mit dem Kindertransport gefahren. Er ist 1940 mit dem Schiff ‘Dunera” nach Australien, und dann 1941 weiter zu seinen Eltern nach Shanghai gefahren. Die Familie Roth betrieb ein Café und Roth unterrichtete beim Gregg Business School. Nach dem Krieg arbeitete Roth beim Joint. Er war ein ausgezeichneter Fuẞballspieler.

In Shanghai nahm Roth Gesangunterricht mit Sabine Rapp. Nach dem Krieg kehrte er nach Berlin wieder und begann eine Karriere als Kantor.

Juliane Salomon interview August 12, 1991   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Juliane Leschnik Salomon was born in Berlin in 1912. Her mother, Martha Leschnik, had a hat store on the Kurfürstendamm. In January 1939 the family, with her aunt, fled Berlin and sailed on the “Conte Verde” from Trieste to Shanghai. In April 1939, her friend Martin Salomon arrived from Berlin and they were married. He opened a store named “All for You” selling mixed goods.

The whole family traveled to Israel via the United States in 1949. Her parents, Martha and Sally Leschnik returned to Berlin in June 1953, and then Juliane and Martin Salomon, with their daughter Marion, also went to Berlin in October 1953. Juliane Salomon died on September 16, 2004.

Les Salter interview October 17, 1999   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Les Salter was born as Ludwig Salzer on December 31, 1920, in Vienna. His family had a transportation company which was hurt by the Depression. Salter studied at the government school for textiles. After the Anschluß in March 1938, Salter was fired from his job. His father was sent to Dachau in the wake of Kristallnacht. After he was released he constructed containers, called Lifts, for people to ship their belongings overseas. Salter sought in vain to get a visa to leave the country, but was able to get a ticket to Shanghai. He left Vienna for Trieste in February 1939, and sailed on the "Conte Rosso" of the Lloyd Triestino line.

In Shanghai, Salter earned money through his knowledge of textile manufacturing, and also worked at one of the Heime. He joined the Boy Scouts. After 1945, he worked for the U.S. Army as a "coolie pusher," and did some driving. He flew to Australia, and eventually settled in Bremerton, Washington. He died in 2004.

Alfred Schaefer interview May 14, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Alfred Schaefer was born in Upper Silesia in 1907, moved to Berlin with his family in 1919, and graduated with an Abitur in 1926. He studied with the philosophers Arthur Buchenau and Eduard Spranger, and played roles in political theater with Erwin Piscator and Berthold Brecht. As a member of the German Communist Party, he published the illegal newspaper Neuköllner Sturmfahne between January 1933 and August 1934. He was arrested and sentenced in 1935 to five years in prison. Four days after his release, he sailed with an Italian liner to Shanghai, with the financial help of a relief committee in Antwerp.

In Shanghai he was a salesman for Sinochemika and earned money on the black market. In 1948 he returned to Berlin and worked for the IRSO. He also worked for the political newspaper Pro und Contra. In 1951 he emigrated to Australia and studied at the University of Melbourne. He returned to West Berlin in 1963, and was a philosophical writer and reviewer for the Philosophischen Literaturanzeiger. Schaefer died in 1999.

Walter Schlesinger interview May 7, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Walter Schlesinger ist am 9. Mai 1922 in Wien geboren. Seine Familie hatte ein Schuhgeschäft in der Meidlinger Hauptstrasse. In 1938 wurden der Familie ihre Wohnung und das Geschäft weggenommen. Schlesinger, seine Schwester und die Eltern sind 1939 mit dem "Conte Verde" von Venedig nach Shanghai gefahren.

In Shanghai haben sie im Wayside Heim gewohnt. Schlesinger hat Fussball gespielt und geboxt. Nach dem Krieg hat Schlesinger für die amerikanische Armee gearbeitet. In 1948 hat die Familie Shanghai verlassen und sind nach einem Jahr in Israel nach Wien zurückgekehrt. Dann hat Schlesinger ungefähr 20 Jahre in Montreal verbracht, ehe er wieder nach Wien gefahren ist. Er wohnt jetzt mit Emmy Pettau in Wien.

Otto Schnepp interview June 7, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Otto Schnepp was born in 1925 in Austria. In January 1939, at age 13, he left Vienna, and met his parents in Shanghai where they had arrived a month earlier. Schnepp attended the Shanghai Jewish School, then the Public and Thomas Hanbury School, and finally graduated from St. John's University in 1947. He received the doctorate from Berkeley in 1951 and taught at the Technion in Haifa for thirteen years. In 1965 Schnepp took a position in the Chemistry Department at the University of Southern California, where he eventually became Chair.

Schnepp returned to China as science advisor to the United States Embassy in Beijing in 1980. He retired from the USC Chemistry Department in 1992, and since 1994 has been Director of the USC East Asian Study Center.

Lotte Schwarz interview June 11, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Lotte (Cohn) Schwarz was born in Halle about 1911 and grew up in Nordhausen. She worked for the Hilfsverein in Hannover. In February 1938 she was married and moved to Berlin. On June 14, 1938, her husband was arrested and sent to Buchenwald. In August they sailed to Shanghai on the "Conte Verde."

The Schwarzes opened a small coffee shop, the Quick Restaurant, in Hongkew. Their daughter was born in 1940. They sailed to San Francisco on the "General Meigs" in 1948, and then settled in southern California. Lotte Schwarz worked for many years for the Judy Crib Sheet Company.

Sidney Shapiro interview April 26, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Sidney Shapiro was born in New York in 1915. He served in the U.S. Army and became a lawyer. In 1947, Shapiro arrived in Shanghai, having learned Chinese as preparation for doing translation for the military. He married a Chinese woman in 1948, and they left Shanghai later that year to settle permanently in Beijing. Shapiro was granted Chinese citizenship in 1963. He has written extensively on China, notably "An American in China: Thirty Years in the People's Repbulic," and translated Chinese fiction into English.

Ernest Sloan interview February 20, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ernest G. Sloan (originally Schlohn) was born in 1920 in Europe to a Sephardic Jewish family. His father was related to the Singer family, originators of the sewing machine, held an executive position in the family firm, and moved to Shanghai in 1932. Sloan went to high school and university in Shanghai. During the war, Sloan acted as translator for the American "Flying Tigers" under General Chennault, and was connected with American military intelligence. He was imprisoned by the Japanese for arms smuggling in 1943. He broadcast news and commentary from a clandestine radio station to the Shanghai Jewish community under the name of Peter Adams. In 1948, Sloan testified at the trial of Japanese soldeirs who killed two jailed British policemen in Shanghai during the war. Since coming to the United States, Sloan has been a radio broadcaster and writer. He lives in Florida.

Suse Stiassnie interview May 6, 1995   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Suse Stiassnie was born in Vienna around 1932. Her father, Max Stier, a businessman, was arrested in 1938 and then fled to Czechoslovakia. The rest of the family followed in 1939, then traveled to Marseille, and eventually to Shanghai. Stiassnie attended the Shanghai Jewish School and after 1943 the Kadoorie School. Her father owned the Black Cat Coffee House. In 1949, the family returned to Vienna.

Ruth Sumner interview April 17, 1991   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Ruth (Wendriner) Sumner was born in Silesia and grew up in Bobrek and then Beuthen. When she was six, her mother was killed by an intruder to their home. Her father owned a bar, but sold the business and retired to Beuthen. On Kristallnacht, her father's brother was arrested and killed at Buchenwald. Her father and she then sailed to Shanghai on the "SS Hakuna Maru" in Janurary 1939; shortly afterward, her sister left for the United States.

In Shanghai, her father opened the Roof Garden Mascot restaurant. She got married in Shanghai to an American soldier and had a child within a month of arriving in the United States in 1947.

Yosef Tekoah (Tukaczynski) interview April 28, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Yosef Tekoah was born Yosef Tukaczynski in Perm in Byelorussia in 1925. His family, along with his 2 uncles and their families, moved to Harbin in Manchuria and then to Shanghai in the early 1930s, where they established a successful business in international trade. Tekoah received a law degree at the University l'Aurore in Shanghai, and then emigrated to the United States, where he earned a master's degree in international relations at Harvard. After emigrating to Israel, Tekoah joined the Foreign Ministry as a legal advisor. In 1953 he became Director of Armistice Affairs, in charge of the difficult negotiations with Israel's Arab neighbors. He occupied a number of diplomatic posts at the United Nations, in Brazil, and in the Soviet Union, before becoming Israel's chief delegate to the U.N. in 1968. He served until 1975, when he was named president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In 1981, Tekoah became Chancellor of Ben-Gurion University. He was working on development projects for the University when he died in New York in April 1991.

Susan Westheimer interview June 8, 1990   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Susan Westheimer (neé Salomon) was born in Berlin in 1922 and lived in Neukölln. Her mother owned a small business in Berlin. Her married sister sailed to Shanghai first, then Westheimer and her mother took the Trans-Siberian Railroad across Asia in March 1940, and sailed from Manchuria to Shanghai. The day after she arrived, she began work as a waitress in the Café Windsor. She got married soon thereafter to another refugee. Later she worked as an assistant to a Chinese doctor, until she and her family were forced into the Designated Area in 1943. During the ghetto years they ran a Mittagstisch for other refugees. After the war's end she worked for the U.S. Army in a PX, then went back to waitressing. In 1948, after getting a divorce, she sailed to the United States with her mother. After living in Chicago and New York, Susan Westheimer got remarried and moved to California. She died on April 22, 1995.

Lutz Witkowski interview April 27, 1989   1.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Lutz Witkowski was born in Germany and sailed to Shanghai when he was 12 years old. He remained in Shanghai until 1946, when he emigrated to Palestine. He now lives in Frankfurt am Main and directs an exchange program for students and teachers between the Federal Republic of Germany and Israel.

Siegbert and Werner Wollstein interview July 28, 1989   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Siegbert and Werner Wollstein were born in Berlin in 1906 and 1908, respectively. Werner was arrested in June 1938 and sent to Buchenwald for three months. The two brothers, along with their younger brother Kurt, left for Shanghai in 1938. Their father was arrested during Kristallnacht; he and his wife sailed for Shanghai in 1939. In Shanghai, Siegbert and Werner sold printing, while their brother was a photographer. They left for the United States after the war, and settled in Duluth. Siegbert died on December 30, 1999, and Werner died on June 17, 2007.

Alfred and Eva Zunterstein interview May 28, 1995   2.0 audiocassette(s)

Biographical note

Alfred Zunterstein was born July 25, 1922, in Vienna. There he joined the Hakoah Sport Club and the Betar. He left Austria in October 1938 with his uncle and cousin. His father Josef was arrested on Kristallnacht, and soon he and Zunterstein's mother Stella and sister Hildegard followed to Shanghai. The family started a uniform factory in Shanghai, and lived at 802 Tongshan Lu. Zunterstein served in the Jewish regiment of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps and was a youth member of the Pao Chia. He was a champion boxer.

Zunterstein met Eva Mannheim at the Jewish Community Center in Hongkou, where they were married in November 1947. She was born in 1929, and had come to Shanghai with her German parents, Werner and Hilde, from Italy, and attended the Kadoorie School, and then the Gregg School of Business. After the war she worked for the Joint Distribution Committee and he worked for the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft mechanic. They left Shanghai in 1949, and lived in Wyoming for 7 years, before moving to the Seattle area, where he worked for Boeing. Later he began a career as a creator of metal sculptures. He died on June 11, 2005.

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Administrative files 1930-2014, undated   1.0 linear foot

Scope and Contents note

Series contains correspondence, release forms, copies of transcripts, photographs and other material pertaining to the persons who were interviewed.

Benger, Kurt 1990-1992 

Blumenthal, W. Michael 1995-2006 

Borenstein, George and Fanny 1989-1998 

Colland, Melitta 1996-2012 

Dawid, Walter 1943-1951, 1995-2007 

Friedlander, Susie and Martin 1987-1996 

Grey, Doris 1991-1997 

Hirsch, Ralph 1994-2014 

Horowitz, Rose 1990-2001 

Jacoby, Sasson 1989-2006 

Klotzer, Charles 1993-2007 

Landau, Erwin 1995-2007 

Loewenberg, Lisbeth 1990-1993 

Melchior, Ursula 1990-1999 

Miles, Bruno 1990, undated 

Reisman, Eric 1994-2012 

Rohe, Terry 1994-2009 

Rossetty, Henry 1930-1954, 1990-1996 

Salomon, Juliane 1991-2008 

Schaefer, Alfred 1995 

Schwarz, Lotte 1990-2009 

Shapiro, Sidney 1989-1996 

Stiassnie, Suse 1995-2007 

Westheimer, Susan 1990-1996 

Wollstein, Siegbert and Werner 1989-1997 

Zunterstein, Alfred and Eva 1991-2009 

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