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Between the Lines

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The war which now is in progress between China and Japan under the walls of Peiping affects not less than 2,000 Jews who have made their homes in Tientsin which is only a few hours from Peiping.

In the midst of the many millions of Chinese people in this district a small but distinctive Jewish community has been built up during the last fifteen years chiefly by Russian Jews who left Russia after the Soviet Revolution. These Jews are living chiefly in the British, French and Russian ex-territorial concessions in Tientsin and enjoy full freedom.


Active in the commercial life of the old Chinese city as exporters, artisans, merchants and hotel-keepers, the Jews in Tientsin are quite satisfied with their economic and cultural life. They are maintaining a number of Jewish cultural institutions and are contributing whole-heartedly to funds for Palestine, for the ORT and for other Jewish activities abroad.

The majority of the Jews in Tientsin are engaged in the furtrade. They are exporting Chinese, Mongolian and Manchurian furs to the United States, to England and to France. It can be definitely stated that two-thirds of the Jewish colony in Tientsin are making a living around the fur trade as exporters, agents and fur experts.


The Jewish cultural life in Tientsin centers around the Jewish Club which counts about 500 members. This club is considered the best Jewish cultural institution in the entire Far East. It maintains a Jewish library with Jewish publications from all over the world. It maintains a well organized school for Jewish children. It has dramatic and musical circles; it is equipped no worse than any good Jewish center in America.

The Jewish community in Tientsin is not split into Oriental and European Jews. It is a solid community organized by Russian Jews but uniting all the Jews in the city. A good deal of attention is paid by the community through its Jewish Club to helping Jews who get stranded in Tientsin as well as those who depend upon charity.


The Jewish community in Tientsin has given a hearty welcome to a number of German-Jewish refugees who were given the opportunity by the HICEM to migrate to China. Some of these refugees were assisted with special loans by the Jewish Club in order to establish themselves normally from the very first days of their arrival.

The Jews in Tientsin suffer no anti-Semitism simply because they deal chiefly with the American, English and French residents. The English press in Tientsin is paying friendly attention to all the cultural and philanthropic enterprises in the city.


The present military march of Japan towards Tientsin and the intention of the Japanese to occupy this old Chinese harbor city, is provoking worry among the Jews in Tientsin, who are afraid that they may be subjected under the Japanese regime to the same difficulties which the Jews in Harbin are now facing since Harbin became a part of Manchukuo administrated by Japanese officials. The experience in the Far East has taught the Jews that whenever the Japanese enter they oust the Jews from trade and institute a system whereby Jewish firms are taken over by Japanese.

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