Strangers Always: A Jewish Family in Wartime Shanghai

Rena Krasno, Author
Rena Krasno, Author Pacific View PR $24.95 (218p) ISBN 978-1-881896-02-9
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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In the early years of the century, Shanghai was famous not only for its spies and intrigues but as a refuge for the world's persecuted. Among the latter were Jews fleeing Russian pogroms, White Russians running from the Revolution of 1917 and, later, Jews escaping the Holocaust. By 1942, the city's predominantly Russian Jewish community numbered an estimated 4000. The author's father, a 1921 arrival, was one of that community's influential intellectual figures. His newspaper helped to knit outsiders together and to preserve their culture; his daughter (who now lives in Northern California) grew up in a vibrant atmosphere engendered, in part, by the paper. But between 1933 and 1945, the Japanese occupied the city, establishing Thought Police, dispossessing the most recent of the stateless (largely refugees from Hitler) and creating new ghettos. This rare personal record of the years 1942-1945, assembled from journals kept while Krasno was a college student, recalls in homely telling detail the history and experience of the Jewish community in old Shanghai, and life as it became under the repressive Japanese rule. (Dec.)
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