ShoreTrips has tracked down one of the best guides in Shanghai for this comprehensive tour of the area's Jewish history. The Peace Hotel will be your first stop and represents the successes of Sir Victor Sassoon, considered to be one of the greatest Jewish entrepreneurs in Shanghai's history. Making his mark on the architectural make up of the city, the Peace Hotel (formerly Cathay Hotel) was known as the gold standard of travel while Shanghai made a name for itself as the Paris of the East. Primarily making their wealth through early opium trading the Sassoon family goes down as best known Jewish name in the entire city with their imprint being found everywhere.
Despite the success of the Sassoon family the majority of Jewish refugees found their home in the Hongkou district or Shanghai Ghetto during the World Wars. With nearly 20,000 refugees taking up approximately 1 square mile, Jewish culture coexisted with the native Shanghainese in an area they considered their "Noah's Ark." With up to 10 people to a room, food shortages and little employment the Hongkou district epitomized the hardships endured by Jewish refugees fleeing Europe.
At the Ohel Moshe Synagogue you will see where Jewish refugees held Shabbat, religious activities and sought sanctuary from the Nazi regime. Now standing as the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum it represents a memory of the area's troubled past as well as an example of how two different cultures co-existed during a time of great turmoil. During a visit to the museum former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the guestbook with the following praise, “To the people of Shanghai for unique humanitarian act of saving thousands of Jews during the Second World War, thanks in the name of the government of Israel.”
This mesmerizing tour led by the best known guide in Shanghai will bring you into the little known world of Shanghai's Jewish history!
Owner of Shoretrips, Julie Karp:
What I like to include while on vacation is at least one day of shopping. I don’t mean souvenirs that you might see everywhere. I am talking about real stuff, well designed by local artists and artisans. I rarely find it and most often I return home and read an article written about someone else’s special places. Very frustrating.
But here in Shanghai where commerce and history compete for your time, I found a person who knows. She spends her time seeking out small, hidden, unknown spots. Her pleasure is watching you get turned on to places that turned her on.
My list for her, and everyone’s list varies, was gleaned from the multiple articles and books that we researched and traveled with.
I gave it to her and the locations, in most cases, she called over exposed, meaning discovered, now more costly, and less quality as a result of their success.
But she always had a substitute and I was impressed from the start.
What did I want to see?
Cashmere – special
Funky silk lanterns
Interested small antiques
Men’s custom tailor
I saw them all. I bought at most places. In between, as we traveled with a car and driver, I heard history of the different areas. We made unexpected stops along the way at a nunnery where sheets of freshly printed fabric blew lightly in the wind while drying. The fabric was used to make a million objects that were inexpensive, made in Shanghai, and perfect as gifts.
This gal is a gem and this day was one of my best shopping experiences anywhere in the world.
Departures: 08:00 AM,
Meeting instructions: Specific pick up or taxi instructions will appear on your voucher after you purchase your trip.
Special instructions: - This tour is priced based on picking up passengers at their Shanghai hotel or at the Shanghai International Cruise Terminal. If you arriving at the Waigao Qiao Cruise Terminal or the Wusongkou Cruise Terminal, you will need to purchase a pier to city transfer.
- Price includes all entrance fees and necessary transportation with the city