On 28 April, Professor Andrew Jakubowicz delivered a talk titled The Menorah of Fang Bang Lu – Refugee Jewish Families in Shanghai at the China Cultural Centre in Sydney, accompanying the ongoing exhibition of Jewish Refugees and Shanghai. Participants of the event were mainly consisted of former Shanghailanders, large numbers of family members and descendants of former Shanghai Jewish refugees, with an overall turnout of approximately 100 attendees.
Started with a brief introduction of a menorah that found by Professor Andrew Jakubowicz in an antique store located on Fang Bang Road in Shanghai, Professor Jakubowicz then explained in details regarding the historical backgrounds and fleeing experiences of Jewish refugees in Shanghai, and their struggles for survival in the city. During the talk, Professor Jakubowicz especially emphasised former Consul-General of China in Vienna, Mr. Ho Feng-Shan, who risked his life and career to save more than a thousand Jews, issuing them valid visas to Shanghai from 1938 – 1940. He continued to point that it were the Chinese diplomat as well as Chinese people’s tolerance that made it possible for an astronomical number of Jewish refugees to escape to and survive in Shanghai during the wartime. The talk also shed light on 7 Jewish families who took refuge in Shanghai during that specific period of time, illustrating their family members and life experiences in Shanghai city.
Andrew Jakubowicz is Professor of Sociology at the University of Technology Sydney. He has an Honours degree in Government from Sydney University and a PhD from UNSW. Since the early 1970s he has been involved in action research and race relations, and has been centrally involved in the development of materialist theories of cultural diversity. His recent works have been involved in multimedia documentaries such as Making Multicultural Australia (1999-2004) and The Menorah of Fang Bang Lu (2001-2002). He was also historical adviser to the exhibitions on the Jewish communities of Shanghai, at the Sydney Jewish Museum (2001-2002), the National Maritime Museum (2001-2003) and the national travelling exhibition “Crossroads: Shanghai and the Jews of China” (2002-2003).
This story of Jewish refugees in Shanghai represents the shared history of Chinese and Jewish people fighting together against Fascism. Their resistance and effort demonstrated the essential dignity of the human race as they supported each other through adversity. The year of 2015, marking the 70th anniversary on the victory of World Anti-Fascist War and the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, makes this event more relevant and significant.