Sunday, April 01, 2007

Laura Margolis

I am watching Shanghai Ghetto about Jewish refugees from Germany in Shanghai during WWII. I have read more about the Russian Jewish community in Shanghai, but this is a detailed documentary with interviews from those who lived as children in the Shanghai ghetto.

I decided that I had to check out more information about Laura Margolis who was featured in this film. She died in 1997 at the age of 93. Here is a bit about her life,

    Born in Istanbul, where her father was a doctor to the Sultan of Turkey. Ms. Margolis came to the United States with her family in 1907. She worked with Settlement House helping immigrants in Buffalo, N.Y. and for Jewish Social Services in Cleveland before becoming the first female field agent of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in 1937.

    The JDC first sent her to Cuba to help refugees fleeing Europe who were not being permitted to come directly to the USA. She tried to find a port of entry for a ship, the St. Louis, carrying Jews, but it was forced to return to Europe. In 1939, she was sent to Shanghai, where tens of thousands of fleeing Jews found refuge.

    Ms. Margolis, at considerable personal risk to herself, saved the lives of some 4,000 Jewish refugees who, close to starvation, precariously survived in the Heime (camps) in the Shanghai ghetto.

The White Countess is a drama that gives a more atmospheric notion of pre WWII Shanghai. I enjoyed it.

1 comment:

Peter Kirk said...

Suzanne, I'm glad you have resurrected this blog with interesting new posts. But please update your blogroll. At least my blog Speaker of Truth and Lingamish's blog have moved to new locations, as linked here.