Re: Jews in China #austria-czech

Stephen Landau <stephen.landau@...>

Although I had posted this information before, some who have not
seen it might be interested in the following:

An article in the Los angeles times, dated November 7, 1981 has the headline
"Shanghai--'Last Jew' Marks Era". It goes on to tell the story of Max
Leibowitch who, at the time the article was written was 75 years old and
living out his remaining years totally disabled >from advanced Parkinsons
disease in a small one-room prewar building
off one of Shanghai's main avenues. Max spoke English, Russian, Yiddish and
Chinese. He was cared for by two elderly ethnic Chinese men and money was
sent for his upkeep >from a Jewish charity based inHong Kong.
Max Leibowitch was born in Lodz in 1906. His family had first settled in
Tainjin where there was a small community of White russians and Jews, but by
the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 his family
had moved to Shanghai.Max died in 1983. It has been estimated that prior to
1938/39 there were about
12,000-15,000 Jews living in S. During those two years, the total increased
by some 17,000---mostly >from Germany and Austria. Most lived in the Jewsih
quarter in the Hongkew district of the city.

Others J. residents of war-time S. were named: W. Michael Blumenthal (former
Secretary of the Treasury and chairman of the Burroughs and its succeeding
Unisys corporations), Ruth Arbeit who came >from Hamburg
as a teenager in 1938 and who in 1981 was living in Israel, Joel Weiss who
lived in S. >from 1935-1948 and who in 1981 was living in Belgium.

On February 27,1983, on page 13 a NY times headline with a dateline of
Harbin, China read "A Jewish Legacy Draws to a Close in North China". The
article focuses on Hannah Agre who was then 74 years old and who had
spent her childhood in the Manchurian city of Harbin. In a mixture of
Russian and Yiddish she told a NYT reporter that her father fled pogroms in
the Ukraine in the early 20th century, settled in Harbin and married a
Siberian woman.

The article notes that Max Liebowitz had passed away earlier in 1983, and
goes on to opine that Hannah is perhaps the "sole survivor of the European
Jews who once totaled 30,000 in China---the older Kaifeng
community having long since been assimilated.Although officially stateless,
Hannah refused to leave Harbin and had refused offers for her to resettle in

Most probably, she too is now gone.

Steve Landau
White Plains, NY

About ten years ago I read of the last Jewish resident of Harbin.
She was an elderly woman who never learned to read or speak Chinese. Her grandparents had settled there. Since she could no longer care for
herself the Joint Distribution Committee offered to take her to Israel. She refused and entered a Chinese Old Age home. How sad.
Betty Provizer Starkman, Michigan

Join to automatically receive all group messages.