“We knew no country would welcome Jews.”

Interview Date: 15 March, 2016

Here is a brief summary of Guenter Cohen’s experiences as a Jewish refugee in Shanghai, China during the Holocaust period:

On November 18, 1938, Guenter and his family travelled to Shanghai, China. China was available to them was because after China’s war with Japan, refugees needed to be accepted. Since many Russians arrived there as well, a minor Jewish community emerged. Eventually, more Europeans arrived and there was a complete community of 20,000 Jews. The Chinese passed a law that a permit would be required to enter the country.

In 1941, a woman from the American-British organization came to help their community and soon, Guenter’s family made an income. School was also open to the children. “I was exposed to every type of Judaism,” Guenter said.

On August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, and the war ended. Japan and Germany were allies at the time, and Germany of course, was not happy with the amount of Jews living in China. Many plans were proposed to the Chinese like putting all Jews on the ship and sinking it. The Chinese did not agree to this.

Having survived by refuge in Shanghai, Guenter’s family had enough money to come to America in 1947.

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