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September 02, 1983 - Image 72

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-09-02

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12 Friday, September 2, 1983


Shanghai Haven Became a Second Ghetto for Jews


"Deliverance in Shan-
ghai" by Jerome Agel and
Eugene Boe is scheduled for
October publication by Red
Dembner Enterprises, New
Prepared to read this
book as a work of fiction, one
quickly gets the impression
that the fictional element,
while making absorbing
reading, is largely an over-
lay of brutal and sadistic
The narrative begins
with detailed descriptions of
Jewish persecution in Ger-
many during the 1930s. The
depiction of the attacks on
the victims is so obviously
authentic in their effect
that one can't help wonder-
ing if the authors were writ-
ing from personal experi-
ence rather than from mere
research. Yet the writing is
so fictionally persuasive
that one at once becomes in-
volved in the fate and vic-
timization of the Jews
under attack.
The cast of characters
is large and diverse, and
their reactions to the Nazi
and later to Japanese
persecution are de-
lineated with sympathe-
tic insight to their indi-
vidual personalities and
consequences. Stress is
laid on those Jews who
had become so com-
pletely German and so
firm in their conviction of
their German nationality
that they could not per-

suade themselves that
they were not immune to
anti-Jewish persecution.
Other German Jews were
of course realistic enough to
perceive their calamitous
danger and sought escape to
Palestine and other places
of refuge. Those who re-
mained in the hope that the
Nazi evil would soon - disap-
pear — civilized, intellectu-
ally oriented patriots —
were quickly driven from
their occupations and pro-
fessions, beaten and abused
in the streets, and sent to
Dachau and Buchenwald
for weeks or months.
Thus, forcefully awak-
ened to their plight, they
began to seek escape from
the land they still loved.
The more fortunate man-
aged to find refuge in Shan-
ghai — the only place open
to them in the late 1930s.
Those who waited too long
were sent to concentration
camps and most to their
Rebecca and Myer Wolf of
Lubeck illustrate the
dichotomy afflicting these
Jews. Myer had served val-
drously in World ,War I and
emerged with honor and
medals. As a veteran, and
thoroughly German in
spirit, he could not believe
that he had anything to fear
from the Nazis.
'Rebecca knew better.
Clear-headed, realistic,
aware of the danger from
inevitable persecution,
she urged flight without

This 1945 drawing of the former Beth Aharon
Synagogue in Shanghai is in the archives of the Israel
Museum in Jerusalem.

delay. Myer, however, -
clung to his naive faith in
his mother-land even
after he was dismissed
from his business.
It was only when he was
arbitrarily arrested and
kept four horrible weeks in
Buchenwald that he re-
turned home, physically
and spiritually a broken
man, and let Rebecca ar-
range for passage to Shan-
ghai. Forced to leave their
goods behind, and knowing
that they would have to
engage in some employ-
ment to survive, they
learned how to repair
typewriters and began to
ply their new trade soon
after' reaching their Shan-
ghai abode.
Earning little, lonely, de-

China Pirates Technion Textbook

HAIFA — Between ses-
sions at a recent scientific
conference at the Univer-
sity of Texas, a professor
from Shanghai Normal Col-
lege in China congratulated
an Israeli scientist from the
Technion-Israel Institute of
Technology on a Chinese
edition of his colleague's
textbook, "Non-Linear Pro-
gramming — Analysis and
Back in Israel, the scien-
tist conveyed the compli-
ment to the textbook's
author, Prof. Mordecai Av-
riel, along with a letter from
the Chinese professor say-
ing, "Many Chinese schol-
ars working in the field of
operations research have
read this excellent book and
now still often use it."
Although Prof. Avriel re-
ceived the news graciously,
his New York publishers,
Prentice-Hall Inc., were less
enthused. Afier a thorough
search of their records, they
discovered that the book
had not been authorized for
translation or publication.
"The edition," concluded the
publishers, "is undoubtedly
a pirated one."

China has yet to sign
the Internatiorial
Copyright Convention,
the international agree-
ment between most coun-
tries (including Russia)
protecting authors and
their publishers from
bootleg copies of their
works. Illegally pub-
lished technical material
— like Prof. Avriel's book
on mathematical
methods to solve prob-
lems in computer science,
economics and engineer-
ing — shows up on
Chinese campuses result-
ing in hundreds of
thousands of dollars in
lost revenue to pub-
lishers and unredeema-
ble royalties to authors.
English-language edi-
tions are simply purchased
at U.S. bookstores and sent
through the mail to China
where they are translated
and published.
"The attitude of develop-
ing countries like China,"
says John Baker, editor-in-
chief of Publisher's Weekly,
the trade magazine of the
publishing industry, "is
that they feel they have a

right to share in the knowl-
edge printed in technical
books they might otherwise
be able to purchase, but
cannot now afford."
Since the recent thaw in
Anglo-Chinese 'relations,
negotiations have been in-
tensified to get China to join
the convention, but it's un-
likely that they are going to
sign an international
copyright agreement any-
time soon. "There's no in-
centive for them to join,"
explains Leo Alpert, chair-
man of the board of
Prentice-Hall's Interna-
tional Division, "At this
point they have more to
gain from us than we do
from them."
Prof. Avriel is a professor
of operations research and a
former dean of the faculty of
industrial engineering and
management at the Techn-
ion. He is also head of the
energy policy and planning
research group at the
Technion's Neaman Insti-
tute for Advanced Studies
in Science and Technology,
an interdisciplinary body
investigating technology's
impact on society.

pressed, they and their
young daughter Esther
sought to adapt themselves
to their wretched existence;
that is Rebecca and Esther,
but not Myer. He remained
moody, listless, taciturn,
physically passive. When he
contracted jaundice, the
doctor advised the extrac-
tion of his teeth, which had
become badly decayed.
When Myer absolutely re-
fused, Rebecca and the doc-
tor cooperated in getting
him to the hospital for tests.
There, under general anes-
thesia, his teeth were extra-
When Myer realized what
had been done to him he re-
fused to speak to Rebecca,
whom he had formerly loved
deeply, and literally starved
himself to death. "Rebecca
buried her husband in the
new Jewish cemetery in
Columbia Road. A stranger
and afraid in a world not of
her making, she tasted the
vile phlegm of bitterness."
In time, however, the
numbness wore off and she
learned typing to support
herself and Esther.
Another prominent char-
acter is David Buchbin-
der. David's father was in a
concentration camp, and his
mother would not leave
without him, but she per-
suaded her son to go alone to
her brother in Shanghai.
(Both parents died in con-
centration camps.)
A handsome and intel-
ligent youth in his early
20s, he had little difficulty
in adjustng to his new
way of life, since he had
the assistance and advice

of . his uncle Moritz
The latter, an early arri-
val in Shanghai who was in
Germany a professional vio-
linist, soon opened a restau-
rant in the French Interna-
tional Settlement and pros-
When the Japanese
entered the war and became
allies of Germany, they
drove all "stateless persons"
into a ghetto in the Shan-
ghai slum area. Moritz was
forced to abandon his res-
taurant and home and settle
in the overcrowded ghetto, a
filthy, stinking, shabby sec-
tion of the city.
The victimized Jews, re-
cently affluent and accus-
tomed to civilized living,
were deeply miserable and
had to resort to petty com-
merce and business
strategems to earn a pitiful
living. Some married
women even resorted to
prostitution with the pass-
ive knowledge of their hus-
Not given to moodi-
ness, Moritz bought a
ramshackle house, ex-
tended it as much as he
'could, subdivided the
rooms for increased oc-
cupancy and rented each
cubicle to those he knew
who needed shelter. He
also built a top floor and
again opened a restau.-
rant for customers within
the ghetto.
David, his nephew, tired
of being a waiter and other
occupations, and eager to
remain a journalist after he
had been dismissed from the
Shanghai daily, started a
two-page weekly newsletter
for ghetto readers titled The
Hongkew Reporter, which
was read widely. He was de-
eply in love with the beauti-
ful daughter of a Jewish
movie executive who re-
mained in the American
Concession. Their unavoid-
able separation distressed
When the war was reach-
ing its climax in 1945, and
American bombers were
devastating Japanese
cities, some planes lost their
way _seeking a military in-
stallation in Shanghai and
dropped their bombs on the
ghetto. David and his be-
loved, who had managed to
visit him, Rebecca and other
occupants of the Felcher

house, were killed. Moritz
and his wife, elsewhere at
the time, were saved, as was
Esther, then at school.
With the war ended,
Moritz and his wife mig-
rated to Melbourne, and
with the financial help of a
cousin he once more opened
a Cafe Moritz and again
Once peace prevailed,
Jewish philanthropic
organizations and UNRRA
helped the survivors of the
Shanghai ghetto, physically
weakened and destitute, to
'leave for parts of the world
of their preference. Many
settled in Israel after 1948;
some returned to Germany
and Austria; others went to
the United States.
In August 1980, nearly
a thousand of the sur-
vivors convened in Oak-
land, Calif. from various
parts of the world. Their
deep psychological
trauma largely healed,
they were eager to meet
their fellow victims and
to share with them the.
previous 35 years.
Among them were many
now prosperous finan-
cially and professionally,
most conspicuous among
them being W. Michael
Blumenthal, U.S. Secre-
tary of the Treasury,
"who recalled that dur-
ing his teen-age years in
the designated area he
had peddled sausages by
the quarter-slice."
"Deliverance in Shan-
ghai" is a relatively long
novel. It holds the reader's
close attention not only be-
cause of its subject matter
but also because the writing
is so clear, simple and gives
evidence of authenticity



Braun Film on Terezin Inmates


(Copyright 1983, JTA, Inc.)

Terezin Requiem" is being
brought to the screen by
producer Zev Braun, who is
best known in this country
for the Academy-Award-
nominated foreign-
language film, "The Pedest-
"The Terezin Requiem,"
from the book by Josef Bor,
deals with the Jewish in-
mates of the Terezin
(Theresienstadt) camp in
Czechoslovakia established
during World War II both as
a transit center for the
shipment to the East and as
the last stop for the elderly

who were left to die of beat-
ings and starvation.
Chicago-born Braun, heir
to the W. Braun Co., the son
of the well-known Jewish
philanthropist, the late
Julius Braun, _made his
debut as producer as a very
young man in 1964 with the
modestly-budgeted art film
"Goldstein" (starring Lou
Gilbert) that won top honors
at the Cannes Film Festi-
val. From 1974 'to 1976, he
was associated with Italian
producer Carlo Ponti on five
major productions.
Earlier still, Braun per-
formed the miracle of
producing a western with
a Mexican flavor in the

Holy Land, a gem entitled
"Madron," starring
Richard Boone and Les-
lie Caron. In 1976, he
went to Italy where he
filmed "Angela," starring
Sophia Loren and John
Huston under the direc-
tion by the late Boris
Sagal (of "Masada.")
A year later, he moved
with his unit to Canada
producing the melodrama-
tic thriller, "The Little Girl
Who Lives Down the Lane"
with Jodie Foster, Martin
Sheen and Alexis Smith.
Throughout 1977, Braun
was occupied with the prod-
uction of the NBC-TV spe-
cial, "Freedom Road."

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