Professor pens new book on Jewish refugees in China


A new book, Exodus to Shanghai: Stories of Escape from the Third Reich, has recently been published by Steve Hochstadt, professor of history at Illinois College, about Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi Germany to find refuge in China.

Hochstadt said of the 400,000 German-speaking Jews who escaped the Third Reich as refugees, approximately 16,000 ended up in Shanghai, China, as part of one of the more remote enclaves within the Jewish diaspora.

“The stories of the Shanghai Jews contain extremes of the suffering and endurance that defined the refugee experience. Nobody wanted to go to China, and because Shanghai was the last choice of refugees, those who went there had nowhere else left to go,” Hochstadt said.

The book is an oral history based on 20 years of interviews with over 100 former Shanghai refugees.

“It offers a moving and at times astonishing collective portrait of courage, culture shock, persistence, and enduring hope in the face of unimaginable hardships,” Hochstadt said.

Over the summer, Hochstadt spent three weeks in China visiting Jewish studies programs at universities throughout the country. He gave the opening keynote address about his research on the Jewish community in Shanghai at the Second Young Scholars Forum on Jewish Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

The book is available now at the Illinois College Bookstore. If you would like a signed copy of Hochstadt’s book, on Friday, September 7, he will be at Our Town Books in Jacksonville for a reading and signing from 5 to 7 p.m.


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