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Jewish refugees in Shanghai to feature in new exhibition
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The Shanghai Jewish Refugees' Museum is to be extended and an online database of refugee information opened this year, museum managers said yesterday.

The museum, at 62 Changyang Road, is in the former Ohel Moishe Synagogue, a religious site used by Jewish refugees in World War II.

"Hopefully, our new exhibits will help visitors get closer to that important part of history," said Chen Jian, the museum curator.

The main building, a colonial-styled three-story veranda, was opened to the public late last year after the Hongkou District government spent US$1 million on renovations based on the original 1928 blueprints by its Russian-Jewish designer in 1928.

The new exhibition area is a separate one-story house at the back of the main building. It will display a series of historic pictures, documents, art works and videos.

Chen said the focal exhibit was a painting called "The Eve of Chinese New Year" which tells the story of Gerda Brender, one of the Jewish refugees.

Brender's parents brought her to the city from Italy in 1938 to avoid the Holocaust when she was only four years old. They stayed in today's Hongkou District until 1949. Two years ago, a local antique collector named Zhu Peiyi bought Brender's passport from a local flea market.

With the help of a story in the Shanghai Daily, Zhu returned the passport to Brender who donated it to the Shanghai History Museum.

The painting shows Brender when she was invited by local families for a reunion dinner with them on the eve of Chinese New Year.

During World War II, more than 30,000 Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai where they were granted asylum around the Tilanqiao area.

(Shanghai Daily, March 12, 2008)

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