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Name of the exhibit: Jewish Refugee Life in Shanghai – Family of Rabbi S. Robert Morais
Submitted by: Rabbi Rob Morais
Date of origin: 1940’s
Description: An estimated 20-25,0000 Jews fled to Shanghai from the beginning of Nazi persecution of Jews in 1933 until late in 1941. These refugees usually immigrated to Shanghai as families. Stripped of most of their assets before fleeing, the refugees swarmed into Hongkew (a poor section of Shanghai) because they could not afford to live anywhere else in the city. Following the Japanese takeover of Shanghai, Honkew was established as a Jewish and Foreigner’s ghetto. This is where the Handke family lived from 1941-1948.
Because Armando Salinas held Italian citizenship, he was allowed to live outside the Ghetto with his new wife Eva Handke and their daughter born in Aug of 1943. In October of 1943 they were arrested by the Japanese and imprisoned in a Japanese enemy alien concentration camp in inner China. They remained there living in very poor conditions until the camp was liberated by the American Army.
The Jacket, prayer book and book of bible passages were among relief packages that the US Air Force dropped into the camp. Included in the relief packages were much need food and medicines that saved many lives until the US army arrived.
Voyage to Ottawa: The entire Salinas and Handke families immigrated to Canada in 1948 as refugees fleeing communist China.
From left: Fritz Handke, Eva Salinas, Liliana Salinas, Kate Handke and Armando Salinas Shanghai, 1946.
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