WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. National Archives has opened to researchers post-World War II visa application records from the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai.
The records provide a potential trove of information about Holocaust refugees in the Chinese city. Dozens already are available; more will be in the future.
“From 1938 on, an estimated 20,000 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria escaped to Shanghai, the only place in the world that did not require a visa to enter,” according to a statement Thursday from the archives. “Between 1939 and 1940, nearly 2,000 Polish Jews escaped to Shanghai, avoiding certain death.”
The 1,300 case files for applicants for U.S. visas covers the period 1946-51 and could provide a window into the postwar movements of the refugees.
In addition to Jewish refugees, the city hosted diasporas from an array of war-battered countries.