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Diplomat documents Shanghai Jewish community

An Israeli diplomat in China is compiling a database of Shanghai’s historic Jewish community.

The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, a former synagogue in the Hangkou District of the city, has begun documenting the influx of tens of thousands of Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe.

Many of the refugees were Austrians who received emergency travel visas from Ho Fengshen, the Chinese consul general in Vienna in the late 1930s who ignored orders from Beijing to desist.

The database project is being led by Uri Gutman, Israel’s consul general in Shanghai, with help from survivors and descendants of the city’s Jewish community, most of whom immigrated to Australia, Israel or the United States after World War II.

“This is a vanishing generation,” Gutman said.

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