Remembering the Shanghai Ghetto, Home to 20,000 Jewish Refugees

The city of Shanghai recently applied to have its former Jewish quarter added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. During World War II, the city, by then under Japanese occupation, became home to some 20,000 European Jewish refugees. In 1943, Japan succumbed to German pressure and forced the Jews into a ghetto. Although they suffered from disease, poor sanitary conditions, and lack of food, Shanghai’s Jews were far better off than their brethren in European ghettos. Gabe Friedman and Julie Wiener revisit their history:

[T]he first German Jewish refugees, many of them doctors and dentists, arrived soon after Hitler’s rise to power. The local community was apparently so grateful for the professional skills these refugees brought that the Jewish Telegraphic Agency headlined a 1934 article “German Jewish doctors cause China to be grateful to the Nazis.” . . . [A]n American journalist working in China said approximately 100 Jewish doctors had set up practices in Shanghai. . . .

In 1937, Japan’s occupation of China brought both good and bad news for Jews there. On the bad side, the conquest of Shanghai was preceded by months of fighting, and during that period . . . Shanghai rabbis reported the situation of the Jews was “desperate.” . . . On the plus side, under Japanese occupation, Shanghai became an “open city,” providing a haven for thousands of Jews with nowhere else to go.

Read more at Jewish Telegraphic Agency

More about: China, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Japan, Shanghai Ghetto, World War II

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7