Thousands of German Jews Beg for Bread in Shanghai Streets; Mortality Mounting
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Thousands of German Jews Beg for Bread in Shanghai Streets; Mortality Mounting

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Reporting that mortality among German-Jewish refugees in Japanese-held Shanghai is very high and that “street begging is frequent among them,” Isaac Lederman, chairman of the Shanghai Eastern Jewish Committee, who reached London under the exchange arrangement between England and Japan covering nationals of the United Nations, today gave a pathetic picture of the hardships being suffered by thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe now in Shanghai under Japanese administration.

Lederman, who was a prominent industrialist in Warsaw, succeeded in escaping from Poland soon after the outbreak of the war and reached Shanghai by way of Russia, where he assumed leadership of the work of organizing relief for the hundreds of stranded Polish Jews. He arrived in London together with 42 other Polish and Czech Jews who were permitted by the Japanese to leave Shanghai in exchange for Japanese released in England.

“The position of the German Jews in Shanghai is even worse than that of the Polish Jews,” Mr. Lederman reported. “This is because they are not so well organized as the Jewish refugees from Poland. Of the 16,000 German-Jewish refugees still stranded in Shanghai there are at least 3,500 who are without any means. They live in conditions worse than the poorest Chinese. They are not able to find any work because they cannot compete with the cheap Chinese labor. They are seen begging in the streets and are actually dying of starvation. The other German Jews who have adjusted themselves to life in Shanghai by doing small trading are also not certain of what tomorrow will bring.”


“The building of the American Marines’ Club, one of the best in Shanghai, was handed over to the Jewish community by the American authorities prior to the complete occupation of the city by the Japanese and is now used as a home for needy Jewish refugees,” Mr. Lederman stated. The refugees also receive aid from the local Jewish cooperatives and are given free treatment in the local Jewish hospital. Nazi agents are trying to stir up anti-Jewish propaganda among the local population, but they find no fertile ground.”

Mr. Lederman also reported that the Jewish Community Council in Shanghai is officially recognized by the Japanese authorities and so far has been allowed to continue its activities. Only a few Jews have been interned by the Japanese as enemy aliens. They were charged with conducting pro-British activity. About 900 Jewish refugees from Poland are still stranded in Shanghai, including several hundred Talmudic students and rabbis from the yeshivas of Mir and Lublin in Poland, he said.

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