“We knew no country would welcome Jews.”
Interview Date: on 15 March, 2016
Below is a brief summary of Guenter Cohen’s experiences as a Jewish refugee in Shanghai, China during the Holocaust period.
On November 18, 1938, Guenter and his family travelled to Shanghai, China. China was available to them was because after China’s war with Japan, refugees needed to be accepted. Since many Russians arrived there as well, a minor Jewish community emerged. Eventually, more Europeans arrived and there was a complete community of 20,000 Jews. The Chinese passed a law that a permit would be required to enter the country.
During the Holocaust
Japan and Germany were allies at the time, and Germany of course, was not happy with the amount of Jews living in China. Many plans were proposed to the Chinese like putting all Jews on the ship and sinking it. The Chinese did not agree to this.
In late 1939, the Chinese finally agreed to confine the Jews into one square – mile destructed areas, like Ghettoes. These areas were a cause of the Chinese – Japanese war. There was limited privacy in the small homes. However, Guenter’s family had more privacy than others. As the war progressed, the area became more populated and the Japanese found a way to track all transport routes.
After the War & Today
In 1941, a woman from the American – British organization came to help their community and soon, Guenter’s family made an income. School was also open to the children. ” I was exposed to every type of Judaism.” On August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, and the war ended. In 1947, Guenter’s family had enough money to come to America.