Jun 30Liked by Marlena Spieler

Dara Horn's recent book on antisemitism, "People Love Dead Jews" devoted a chapter to Harbin and Shanghai. Arthur Rotstein, the then young Jewish-American documentary photographer, visited Shanghai in 1946 to photograph the Jewish refugees still awaiting resettlement to draw attention to their plight: https://arthurrothstein.org/portfolio/shanghai-jewish-refugees/

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Marlena, once again, we dive into the warm broth of your words. This is where your recipes are, sharing your perfectly crafted gift for life.

Your stories, a bowl of global soup, warm my heart like no other master crafts person ever has.

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Aloha, Marlena

I grew up in Shanghai’s International Settlement and my Mom, Dad, and I lived with my Arabic Granny (my Mom’s mom) throughout WWII in her one room apartment. I remember going to synagogue, Jewish school, and Granny’s outstanding cooking and baking. Thank you so much for sharing your odyssey of discovery and remembrance.

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Jul 4Liked by Marlena Spieler

Thank you for taking us along on this journey of discovery.

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There were so many jewish communities in the world, for so many centuries, we will never know enough ...

Now that I have identified the members of my family who disappeared, I have to plan a trip to Lodz, probably next year, a big task, with hopefully my children's help.

Marlena, I loved our conversation but must return to my chores which is why I am home on a Sunday afternoon.

Talk to you soon,


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Of course you know more than I. However it remains incidental, especially compared to centuries of jewish presence and influence in Europe (not to mention the sephardic jews).

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Marlena, thanks but although it was my original ambition, I never wrote beyond personal adresses and do not consider myself a writer. I envy those like you who actually produce and at nearly 76 I have become a very very lazy person.

The people in Shangaï were undeniably generous to the jewish immigrants but, let's face it, they had not developed antisemitism because they did not have jewish communities in the past. This does not take away from their generosity, however it does somewhat explain their attitude.

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la Shoah (I prefer this term) is full of improbable stories : how people escaped and survived in the most unlikely circumstances, it is not a consolation for the millions who didn't, but it is the proof that life is unpredictable and that we can have hope


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Chère Marlena

another wonderful post, but different, so different, very moving. I was vaguely aware that some russian and east european jews had fled to China, but knew nothing more. If only my polish family (on my father's side) had been able to flee there instead of Antwerp, where five of his siblings and their children were arrested and died in Auschwitz!

A very emotional account, and as always, well written, thank you, merci !


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Jun 28Liked by Marlena Spieler

Fascinating story, thank you.

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thank you for sharing this!!!! x m

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Marlena - I'm new to your substack. What a wonderful story and touches me as my own uncle (well, my father's uncle) was in Shanghai from 1939-47 and eventually came to San Francisco, where I am from (I grew up in the East Bay). My great uncle, Herb Wolff, z"l, met and married my father's aunt and became a part of our family as we did of his. I have many of his records and tellings of those days. He was born in Berlin in 1920. I will try to come to NYC for the 8/1 show but am not sure I can swing it. I live about 2.5 hrs from the City. How long will the exhibit be running? Are you aware of the Shanghailanders Facebook group?

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