Lasus Family Papers

Over 17,000 German and Austrian Jews fled Nazi-occupied Europe for Shanghai. During the 1930s, many Jews were urged to leave Germany. Some, like Mr. Erich Lasus, whose temporary passport is shown below, had been imprisoned in Dachau after the Kristallnacht pogroms in November 1939, and were eager to flee Germany and Austria. As measures against Jewish citizens became increasingly punitive, the number of refugees seeking a home rose. Many countries were closing their borders to emigrants, and Shanghai did not require a visa until August 1939.

Stripped of their possessions by the Nazi government, many Jews arrived in Shanghai with little and found themselves in difficult circumstances. Most lived in the Hongkew ghetto and were sometimes reliant on charity. With such assistance, the refugees built a functioning community and managed to live out the war years in relative safety and comfort. Nearly all of the European Jewish refugees left Shanghai after the war to resettle in other countries.

letter back
Return to Archives.