Many Jewish Refugees in Shanghai Want to Remain; Others Seek Repatriation, Emigration
Menu JTA Search

Many Jewish Refugees in Shanghai Want to Remain; Others Seek Repatriation, Emigration

Download PDF for this date

One-third of the 14,000 Jewish refugees who have just been released from internment in Shanghai want to remain in China and practice their professions or start businesses; another third wants to be repatriated to their native lands; and the others want to emigrate to Palestine, it was established today by a correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The correspondent found the refugees in great need of aid. For the time being they are still living in the Hongkew ghetto where they were interned by the Japanese during the war. They are being fed at seven public kitchens and each of them receives a small allowance from funds supplied by the Joint Distribution Committee.

Many of the refugees, who escaped from Germany and Austria to Shanghai before the outbreak of the war, are doctors and dentists and their professional work would be much in demand here. However, they need equipment and substantial aid for rehabilitation.


The story of the heroic resistance of the Jewish refugees to Japanese officials who wanted them to “cooperate” in disseminating pro-Japanese propaganda in the United States was disclosed to the correspondent, revealing for the first time that a Japanese Navy captain named Inuzuka was in charge of ” Jewish affairs.”

Capt. Inuzuka arrived in Shanghai immediately after the attack of Pearl Harbor and summoned the local Jewish refugee leaders whom he urged to send cables through neutral countries to Jews in the United States so as to enlist the sympathy of the U.S. Jews for Japan. The Jewish leaders refused. The Japanese captain, who proved to be a student of Jewish history and literature and who was also well informed concerning Jewish life in the United States, told the leaders that if they would cooperate with him, he would try to get relief funds for them from the Japanese government. This inducement was ignored. Finally, Capt. Inuzuka threatened that all the Jewish refugees in Shanghai would be exterminated if they failed to cooperate by sending pro-Japanese messages to the Jews in America. This threat was also ignored.

Manuel Siegel, JDC representative here, then induced a friend on Shanghai Times to write an article saying that the refugees were a problem of the local community, and that if they were cut off from food and hospitals, disease would spread through the city. The day after the article appeared the Japanese consul called on Siegel and warned him that he would be thrown into the notoricus Bridgehouse prison if any similar statements appeared. The consul said that the refugees were not a local, but an American Jewish problem.

Shortly afterwards, Siegel and his co-worker, Laura Margolies, were interned in the refugees’ concentration camp in the Hongkew district, the residents of which were underfed and manhandled by the Japanese.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund