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

Feb. 13 2015

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.

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Read more at Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism