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Shanghai Refuge: A Memoir of the World War II Jewish Ghetto Paperback – August 1, 1995
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We tend to think that the Jewish ghettos of World War II were in Europe, but Heppner's eloquent memoir of this little-known event in Holocaust history is set in Shanghai, China. The author was the youngest child of a matzoth factory owner in Breslau, Germany. In 1939, with the rise of anti-Semitism, Heppner and his mother sailed to Shanghai. In 1943, Japanese soldiers confined the 18,000 Jewish refugees in Shangai to an area less than one mile square. The book begins with Heppner's account of life in Germany and the harassment and beatings he suffered because he was a Jew; it goes on to describe the Nuremberg laws restricting Jews and the infamous Kristallnacht. Heppner continues with a day-to-day account of what he calls the three h's--hunger, heat, and humidity--in the Shanghai ghetto, where he married, and he ends with his family's voyage to America in 1945 after the liberation of China. George Cohen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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But overall, it is always interesting to read how a person's survives and sometimes thrives in very difficult circumstances beginning with the Nazis treatment of the Jewish population in Germany, Austria and Poland, the efforts to escape and Heppner's long and trying journey to Shanghai. The mix of many nationalities in the Shanghai Refuge, his survival in Shanghai - managing to work, make friends in close, foreign environment during WW II. He and his mother do their best, even under the control of the Japanese. There are many details that are probably very important to the writer but not so important to this reader. However, I respect Mr. Heppner in his effort to bring his story of resilience to the public.