Shanghai Escape (Holocaust Remembrance Series)
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Shanghai, China, seems an unlikely destination for Jewish refugees trying to escape the cruel anti-Semitic laws of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party before the Second World War. But while most countries were unwilling to give refuge to Jews, China was one place that did. More than twenty thousand European Jews found refuge in Shanghai between 1937 and 1939.
Lily Toufar and her family arrive in Shanghai in 1938, having fled from Vienna on the eve of Kristallnacht. Shanghai is a strange place for this bright young girl. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and under pressure from Hitler, the Japanese government in Shanghai has ordered Jewish refugees to move into a ghetto in an area of Shanghai called Hongkew. There is little food to eat and poor sanitation, and disease is rampant. For Lily, life becomes grueling after her family is forced into the ghetto. Lily endures the difficult conditions, always hopeful for an end to the war and a return to normal life.
know what to say. She didn’t know how to explain to her friend that not understanding the whole truth was worse for her than hearing it. Instead, she followed Susie into the main room where Mother Lawler had said that there was something special happening. When the children entered, they were greeted by the sight of the giant Christmas tree, decorated with lit candles and small ornaments. Lily had to admit, it was beautiful. As she was admiring the tree at one end of the room, there was a big
it was just the sound of steam escaping from the shell. In her mind, the lobster was screaming in pain. The cries were so unbearable that Lily began to yell and scream as well. “Stop, stop, you’re hurting it!” Lily cried. She was frozen on the spot, eyes fixed on the pot of boiling water and the lobster still squirming inside. The startled woman looked up and rushed to Lily’s side. “No hurt, no hurt,” she said, stroking Lily’s arm and trying to quiet her. Her young child was wrapped around her
leg now, as if she feared that she might be next into the pot! Lily saw and heard nothing except the ongoing screams from the boiling water. Seconds later, she found her legs and turned and fled to the safety of her apartment, slamming the door behind her. When Mom arrived home some time later, Lily was still curled in a ball on her bed, reliving the horror of having witnessed the death of the lobster. Mom had to coax the story out of her, trying not to laugh as her daughter described the scene.
but this time, it’s going to be a Jewish school. It’s not far from our new apartment.” “Will Susie be there?” The thought of a Jewish school was something new and interesting. Pop nodded. “Yes, and hopefully you’ll also make new friends.” Lily sat back in her chair and looked around the room. Several suitcases sat in a corner, already packed and ready for the move. Her books were in a separate pile; she would take those with her, as well. But aside from their clothing and some other personal
arm and grabbed two large suitcases, one in each hand. Mom picked up another two. “It’s time,” he said. Lily pulled the scarf tighter around her neck and grabbed her smaller suitcase. Then she followed her parents out the door. Chapter 1 December 7, 1941 The radio blared out an urgent message, and Lily leaned closer so that she wouldn’t miss a word. December 7, 1941, a day that will live in history. The Japanese have just attacked Pearl Harbor. She shivered in the iciness of the small