Tag: Jews of China

The rise and fall of Ezekiel Shahmoon, Baghdad-born millionaire

With thanks to Stella Joory, whose mother Rachel Darwish (nee Elia) studied at the Alliance teacher-training school in France

A grainy, three-minute silent clip records the inauguration of the Versailles Alliance teacher-training school 100 years ago. The graduates of this school would be dispersed into the 200 schools of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, which educated the Jewish communities of the Muslim world. The millionaire who funded the new building was a Baghdad-born Jew of French nationality, Ezekiel Shahmoon, now barely remembered. At the ceremony,  Shahmoon is presented with the Legion d’Honneur. He was the first Iraqi Jew to be granted such an honour. But who was Ezekiel Shahmoon? 

Female graduates of the Versailles Alliance teacher-training school at its inauguration in 1922. (Below) Ezekiel Shahmoon wearing the Legion d’Honneur medal bestowed on him at the inauguration ceremony. (Bibliotheque de l’AIU)

Born in 1890, Ezekiel Elia Shahmoon came from a large Baghdadi family and had four sisters and three brothers. He made his money out of trading gold and silver. He never married, and was an avid collector of china.

In 1907 Ezekiel (17) and his brother Salomon ‘Charlie’ (14) left Baghdad and went to Bombay. After a short time in India, the two brothers moved on to Shanghai, China, where they lived with their uncle, Sassoon Somekh (their mother’s brother) and their aunt Rebecca. Ezekiel’s father also had business interests in Shanghai where there was a large Jewish community.

According to Dick Hogbin of the Stansted and Fairseat History Society, Ezekiel Shahmoon started his career as an office boy in China and he and his brother became wealthy after WW1 started in 1914, through selling food to Europe and other business deals (including interests in rubber) and through trading gold and silver on the stock market. By this time they had been joined by their brother, Ezra. One newspaper report said that in 1917 he had put through a £4m deal with the British government.

Ezekiel’s sister Rachel (back row, far left) died a few days after her wedding. This photo shows the Shahmoon family in 1920.

Very sadly, his sister Rahel became ill at her wedding a short time after the photograph was taken and died within a week. As a lasting tribute, her father raised money and added it to her dowry to rebuild a property (formerly the Taawen School) in the centre of the Jewish quarter of Baghdad, with modern classrooms, science lab, gymnasium, a stage and a beautiful synagogue. It was called the Rahel Shahmoon school and was inaugurated in 1924 by Chief Rabbi Hakham Ezra Dangoor.

Two years earlier, the Versailles Alliance teacher-training school was inaugurated. Ezekiel Shahmoon, the benefactor,  was lauded at the inauguration ceremony as ‘a man with a big heart and magnificently generous’.

He was described in various travel documents as a French citizen and his race and religion as ‘Hebrew’.

Early in 1934, Ezekiel Shahmoon was included on a US list of ‘Hoarders of Silver’ as he owned more than 50,000 oz of silver.  In 1934, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that all privately owned silver (not coins) in the US should be surrendered to the Treasury in return for a payment of 50¢ per troy ounce. A major intent of the 1934 silver nationalization was to call in idle silver bullion holdings in order to make more silver coins for monetary circulation. It is not known how this affected  Shahmoon’s finances but it does show that he was a major player in silver trading. His address at the time was The Dorchester Hotel, London.

In 1937, the cigar-smoking batchelor walked into a Regent St showroom to buy a present for his sister. Shahmoon offered to put up the money for the two furniture salesmen who served him  to start a business. Their business venture was a failure and cost Shahmoon  money, but it was a sign of his generosity that he committed to helping them: ‘I gave them a chance because I  know what it’s like to struggle for success,’ he said.

In 1935 Ezekiel Shahmoon bought Trosley Towers near Vigo in Kent, its woodlands and some of its properties. The previous owner of the estate was Sir Philip Waterlow. Some of the houses were bought by tenants;  Shahmoon told a local resident that he had intended to live in Trosley Towers but had been away for a long time with an illness. On his return, he found that the property had been stripped of all its lead and was in such a poor state that the best course of action was for it to be demolished. It is believed that  Shamoon’s plans were to build a new house on the site with a golf course but this never materialised. He did, however, create the Trosley Construction Company and built a large stable block at the rear of Hamilton Lodge. One story suggests that the stables were constructed to accommodate the Shah of Persia’s racehorses on his visits to England. The stables at Hamilton Lodge were still standing until about 1960 when they were demolished and the rest of the site cleared to make way for the development of Vigo Village.

Although Trosley Towers had been demolished, a number of discrete properties remained and these were occupied by Shahmoon and by members of his extended family in 1939. This was at a time of great threat to Jewish people in Europe and beyond and it is conceivable that many members of his family had fled their homes in Baghdad and Shanghai and come to join  Shahmoon in England rather than be caught up in an impending catastrophe. Ezekiel Shahmoon’s business was badly damaged by the war and he was deeply in debt. He never did realise his grandiose dreams. in 1941, an order was made on Shahmoon for bankruptcy.

He never married and died in 1972 aged 81.

 

The rise and fall of the Sassoon dynasty

Baghdad-born David Sassoon built a global business empire in the 19th century centered on India and the Far East, but within three generations, the fortune his family made was dissipated, and his descendants were more focused on enjoying their social lives. Now a distant relative,  academic Joseph Sassoon has deciphered  an archive of Judeo-Arabic correspondence which throws new light on the Sassooon enterprise. The result is his new book, The Global Merchants: the Enterprise and Extravagance of the Sassoon Dynasty. Review in The Guardian: 

The Prince of Wales visiting the Sassoon residence in Bombay, ‘Sans souci’, in 1876

By the end of the 19th century, the Sassoon family were regularly referred to as “the Rothschilds of the East”. This wasn’t just lazy, it was wrong. For one thing the Sassoons’ interests and influence stretched right around the world from Shanghai via Bombay, London and Lancashire, all the way to the Atlantic coastal plain of the United States. Then there was the fact that, unlike the Rothschilds, the Sassoons were not bankers but traders, specialising in opium, cotton and oil. What perhaps the late Victorians really meant when they compared the Sassoons to the Rothschilds was simply this: they were very rich and they were Jewish, a combination that conjured ambivalent feelings not just in “polite” society through which antisemitism flowed like a subterranean river but, over time, in the Sassoons themselves.

Joseph Sassoon, who is a descendant of the dynasty’s founder David, believes that it was his family’s experience as serial immigrants that drove their success and explains their decline. Their original role as treasurers to the pashas of Baghdad meant that they seamlessly acquired the Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew and Persian that equipped them to do business throughout the vast Ottoman empire. When in 1828 they were forced to flee to Bombay as a result of a pogrom, they quickly added Hindustani to their repertoire and settled down to rebuild their lives, using their tried and tested methods of exemplary ethics and ferocious hard work.

In order to avoid a repeat of that first expulsion, though, the family needed to become adept at reading the political landscape and adapting accordingly. Joseph Sassoon points out that the treaty marking the passing of India’s governance from the East India Company to Queen Victoria in 1859 was signed not in the residence of the outgoing governor but in “Sans Souci”, the home owned by the man whom the Illustrated London News described as “Mr David Sassoon, the well-known wealthy Jew Merchant of Bombay and China”. In the face of such antisemitic sneers, these early Sassoons were careful not to draw unwanted attention to themselves. While their fortune was one of the great wonders of the industrialising world, it was offset by a thoughtful philanthropy that built hospitals, libraries and schools for the whole community.

These productive years as “good immigrants” did not last, and it is the Sassoons’ fall from fortune that gives this somewhat dry family history its emotional heart and narrative pace. Within a hundred years of hosting diplomatic milestones, younger members of the family were pawning their jewellery and filing for bankruptcy. It is, Joseph Sassoon thinks, a story of assimilation and gentrification going hand in hand with the dissipation of cultural capital.

Read article in full

FT review (with thanks: Miro)

 

The rival Iraqi-Jewish dynasties who opened up China

A new book by Jonathan Kaufman explores the story of two rival,   intertwined Iraqi-Jewish entrepreneurial families, the Sassoons and the Kadoories, who opened up China to the world. It is interesting that David Sassoon, the founder of the Sassoon dynasty, was forced to leave Iraq by Ottoman harassment. Extract from Tzach Yoked’s Haaretz article: 

Sir Elly Kadoorie with his sons Lawrence (left) and Horace

The story begins with the Sassoons, an aristocratic family that lived in Baghdad for 800 years and was one of its wealthiest families.

Because of its social, political and economic status, which extended well beyond the bounds of the Jewish community, the head of the family was granted the title “Nasi” – a Hebrew honorific meaning “Prince of the Jews” – by the Ottoman Empire.

“In the 18th century, Baghdad was a crossroads of trade, people were coming from all over the Middle East, even from China,” Kaufman tells Haaretz in a recent phone interview from his home, outside Boston.

“And all these people would pass through the Sassoons’ house, because they knew they were the most important traders in Baghdad.”

But hundreds of years of economic success and social integration came to an end one morning in 1829. David Sassoon, who was 37 and had been groomed from childhood to inherit leadership of the family empire, was kidnapped and jailed by the Ottoman authorities in Baghdad. They threatened to hang him if the family did not pay a high ransom for his release.

“Desperate for money to boost a collapsing economy, the Turks began harassing and imprisoning the Sassoons and other wealthy Jews, demanding ransom,” Kaufman writes.  The harassment dealt a devastating blow to the family. The Sassoons lost their wealth and influence and decided to leave everything and start anew, elsewhere. David Sassoon believed in the integrity and decency of the British, Kaufman notes, and after his family ransomed him, he decided to move with his wife and eight children to Bombay (today Mumbai), where the British were opening up trade routes. Other Jews followed suit.

Sassoon became an Anglophile, studying British history, hiring a tutor to teach his children English and even arranging for the text of “God Save the Queen” to be translated into his native Judeo-Arabic – Arabic written in Hebrew script.

Read article in full

Iraqi Jews made Hong Kong

The Kadoories and Sassoons, Iraqi Jews, ‘the cleverest Jews as far as business is concerned,’ made Hong Kong. But they were not the only ones, according to this fascinating, in-depth feature in the South China Morning Post (with thanks: Michelle):

“We’re so lucky to be in Hong Kong – it’s a fantastic place for Jews. It always has been.”

Judy Green, chairwoman of the Jewish Historical Society of Hong Kong,
has lived here since she was 11 years old. We meet at the Jewish
Cemetery, a green and peaceful spot in a hidden corner of Happy Valley,
tucked behind a Buddhist temple and surrounded by a cluster of tower
blocks. It’s dotted with gravestones bearing with a mix of English and
Hebrew script. The earliest recorded burial plot, belonging to a Leon
Bin Baruel, dates from 1857. The most recent gravestone is dedicated to
Mervyn Gatton, who died in February.

Hong Kong’s Jewish population, currently estimated to be 5,000
strong, is thriving. “It’s a close-knit and dynamic community,” says
Green. And it’s a community that has deep roots, stretching right back
to the earliest days of the colony.

The first Jews to set up home in Hong Kong were Iraqis who arrived in
the 1840s. They were descendants of Jews expelled from Spain and
Portugal during the Inquisition (which lasted from the late 15th to
early 19th centuries) who had worked their way east to Baghdad, where a
sizeable community developed.

During the 19th century, Baghdadi adventurers travelled to India and
set up trading operations in the booming ports of Bombay and Calcutta.
Later, as China gradually opened to international trade, they crossed
the Indian Ocean and established outposts in Canton, Macau and Hong
Kong.

Although there were only a handful of Jewish families in Hong Kong in
the mid-19th century, they enjoyed enormous success and several became
fabulously wealthy.

“The Iraqis are supposed to be the cleverest Jews as far as business
is concerned, at least that’s what my Iraqi friends tell me,” says
Green. “I think they had a lot of courage. They saw opportunities that
other people either didn’t see or weren’t brave enough to pursue.”

Jewish refugees from Shanghai at the Peninsula hotel, in 1946. 

The cemetery was created by the Sassoons, a family that was once
dubbed “the Rothschilds of the East”. They bought the parcel of land
from local farmers. Green points out a plaque on the back wall that
commemorates the opening of the burial ground, in 1855.

The family patriarch, David Sassoon, left Baghdad in 1832 and
established himself in Bombay, modern-day Mumbai. He had seven sons whom
he dispatched to outposts across the Orient, using his offspring to
build a business empire.

“He had a son in practically every port,” says Green. “As well as in
Hong Kong, he had offices in Singapore, Burma, Canton, even as far as
Japan and Indonesia.”

The family started trading back and forth and invested in shipping,
hotels and property, but its real fortune came from the less salubrious
trade in opium. By the 1870s, the family was one of the leading
importers to China of this incredibly lucrative commodity.

The Sassoons and their staff formed the core of the Jewish community in Hong Kong.

“Most of their employees were also Baghdadi Jews whom they sent over
from Bombay,” says Green. “They were deeply religious people and always
made sure they had somewhere to worship – until they built a synagogue,
it was usually just a room in one of their offices.”

The Sassoons had fingers in pies across the breadth of Hong Kong
society and helped to get the fledgling colony up and running. One of
David’s sons, Arthur, was on the provisional committee that founded the
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1864. Another son,
Frederick, was elected to the Legislative Council in 1884.

As Green continues her tour, we come across a small chapel and a tahara
room, where bodies are ceremonially washed and prepared for burial. She
explains that this building stands on ground that was leased in 1904,
to expand the cemetery, with the assistance of Matthew Nathan – Hong
Kong’s only Jewish governor.

A Jewish New Year service conducted for the refugees at the hotel, in 1946. 

Nathan served as governor from 1904 to 1907. Born in London, he was a
soldier and an engineer with a reputation as a competent and decisive
administrator.

“He wanted to develop Kowloon, which was a muddy backwater in those
days. My husband’s grandfather remembers walking around in gumboots
because it was a swamp. Nathan decided that for Kowloon to flourish it
needed an access road, to link it to the hinterland of the New
Territories. Many thought he was making a mistake but he was determined
to push the project through.”

Once dubbed “Nathan’s folly”, Nathan Road – the shopping megastrip
that bears his name – catalysed the development of the whole area,
proving the wisdom of his decision.

Although gifted in practical matters, Nathan didn’t thrive socially.

“He was a bachelor and didn’t have a wife to act as hostess at
functions at Government House,” says Green. “I think he found that
aspect of colonial life very difficult. A lot of expat socialising was
centred on the Hong Kong Club, which didn’t admit Jews in those days,
and there were Sunday gatherings at church, which he couldn’t attend.”

In 1907, Nathan was transferred to South Africa. On his departure, the South China Morning Post
reported that “the general regret at the departure of Sir Matthew
Nathan from Hong Kong is a tribute to his fine personal qualities as
well as to his splendid administration …”

David Sassoon (seated) with sons Elias, Albert and David Jnr. 

At the front of the cemetery’s main burial ground stands a pair of
marble sarcophagi, marking the final resting places of brothers Lawrence
and Horace Kadoorie, members of the best known Jewish family in Hong
Kong. Green puts a small stone of remembrance on each sarcophagus. The
Kadoories were family friends.

“The brothers were lovely. Lawrence was very warm-hearted, easy-going
and generous-spirited. He would talk to anybody – he didn’t seem to
think of himself as the special person he was. Horace was extremely
jovial, really interested in young people and enthusiastic about his
philanthropic work.”

Like the Sassoons, the Kadoories are of Iraqi extraction by way of
Bombay. The first member of the dynasty to arrive in Hong Kong was Elly
Kadoorie, who came in 1880, at the age of 15, to join the Sassoon family
company. Brother Ellis joined him later. Elly subsequently moved to
Shanghai while Ellis concentrated his efforts in Hong Kong.

The brothers amassed a fortune by investing in rubber plantations,
banking, docks and real estate. In 1914, Ellis made a major investment
in Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which now operates 10 properties under
the Peninsula brand across Asia, Europe and the United States. The
flagship Peninsula, in Tsim Sha Tsui, an iconic Hong Kong landmark, was
said to be “the finest hotel east of the Suez” when it opened, in 1928.

Four years later, he bought into China Light and Power (now CLP
Holdings), the largest electricity-generation company in Hong Kong.

Lawrence Kadoorie speaks to a farmer in the 1960s. 

Ellis was to remain a bachelor and died aged 55, but Elly married in
Shanghai and had two sons, Lawrence and Horace. As the boys grew older,
they became increasingly involved in managing the family’s affairs. In
1937, Lawrence, who had been born in Hong Kong, moved back to the city
to run the hotel business.

When Hong Kong fell to the Japanese in 1941, Lawrence was interned in
Stanley with his wife and two small children. After five months, the
family transferred to Chapai camp, near Shanghai, to be closer to Horace
and Elly, who were living in the former stable block of the family
mansion. Elly died in 1944 and succession fell to the brothers.

After the war, Lawrence returned to Hong Kong to reclaim his family’s
assets. He set up home at the Peninsula. During the occupation, the
hotel had been requisitioned as the headquarters of the Japanese and,
afterwards, by the British military, and was in a terrible state of
disrepair. Just as restoration work got under way, refugees started
arriving from Shanghai.

In the lead-up to the second world war, about 20,000 European Jews,
fleeing Nazi persecution, had taken refuge in Shanghai, one of the only
cities in the world for which a visa wasn’t required.

“They had no money, no nothing,” says Green. “The Jewish community in
Shanghai galvanised and looked after them and Horace was particularly
active in that. It was a huge undertaking – because there was an awful
lot of them and only a relatively small Jewish community.”

After the war, the refugees were repatriated to Europe or went on to
start new lives in the US, Australia and Israel. Most of them had to
transit through Hong Kong to collect their visas.

Horace Kadoorie at a Gurkha resettlement farm, in Nepal, in 1972. 

The Kadoories joined forces. Horace gathered information about each
batch of refugees at the Shanghai end and sent it to his brother. In
Hong Kong, Lawrence visited the Immigration Department almost daily,
bearing lists of names, final destinations and petitions for permission
to transit.

Once they arrived in Hong Kong, the refugees had nowhere to stay so
Lawrence threw open the doors of the Peninsula. Most stayed only a few
days but one group of nearly 300 people, who were due to sail to
Australia, were stranded when their ship was diverted to carry troops.
Lawrence repurposed the hotel’s ballroom as a dormitory and accommodated
them there for several months until alternative transport was found.

“Lawrence wasn’t known for being observant, religiously,” says Green,
“but the Jewish people were very important to him and he was unstinting
in his efforts to help them.”

He had the support of Hong Kong’s other Jews, who banded together to
provide clothing and medical aid, and handle baggage, change currencies
and assist the refugees in planning their journeys.

Once the refugees had dispersed, Lawrence turned his attention to the
family business, becoming a key player in Hong Kong’s phenomenal
post-war economic growth. By the time of his death, in 1993, the
Kadoorie portfolio included stakes in the Star Ferry, the Peak Tram, the
Cross Harbour Tunnel and the Daya Bay nuclear power station, in
Shenzhen.

As the Kadoories acquired money, they also gave it away. They were
legendary philanthropists and their generosity was not confined to the
Jewish population.

Workers at the Tai Ping carpet factory in Hong Kong. 

Elly built a number of schools and hospitals in the Middle East that
were open to all-comers, irrespective of race or religion. His brother
endowed the Ellis Kadoorie Chinese Schools Society in Hong Kong, which
originally served the poorer sections of the Chinese population and now
caters mainly to the children of lower-income South Asians.

After the war, Horace and Lawrence pioneered social initiatives to
help an influx of Chinese refugees escaping the civil war across the
border become self-supporting and secure.

Horace – who had always wanted to be a farmer – was instrumental in
the founding of the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association in 1951. It
established an experimental farm and provided training in sustainable
agriculture, interest-free loans and livestock. Starting in 1968,
thousands of Gurkhas (Nepalese serving in the British Army) stationed in
Hong Kong were offered training, so they could work as farmers when
they left the army and returned home. Later, as agriculture declined,
the farm shifted its focus to environmental issues and is now run as the
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden.

Lawrence, together with six friends, established an enterprise to
provide employment for boat girls and preserve the traditional Chinese
craft of making fine carpets. Tai Ping Carpets started life in a house
in Tuen Mun. Sales soon soared. Prior to the 1950s, carpets were rarely
seen in Hong Kong and the floors of smart hotels were made of polished
wood, but that changed with the proliferation of air conditioning, which
protected carpets from damaging humidity. Tai Ping also cornered the
market in the US. A trade embargo meant goods could not be imported from
mainland China, creating a vacuum that Lawrence and his friends
promptly filled.

In 1959, Tai Ping moved its headquarters and factory to Tai Po,
bringing new vitality to the small market town. The company remained
there for 32 years before all production was moved to the mainland.
Still based in Hong Kong, Tai Ping is now the world’s largest
hand-tufted carpet company.

 Horace shows governor Alexander Grantham around the factory in 1957.

Lawrence’s multifarious achievements were rewarded when he became the
first person born in Hong Kong to be elevated to a British peerage. In
1981, he was named Baron Kadoorie of Kowloon and Westminster in the
House of Lords.

Sir Matthew Nathan.

He and his relatives have sprinkled the SAR with the family name.
While the Sassoons have only a road in Pok Fu Lam named after them, the
Kadoories are credited with an avenue in Mong Kok, a beach at Castle
Peak and, of course, the farm and botanical gardens.

The Kadoories still maintain a presence in Hong Kong. Lawrence had
two children, one of whom – Michael Kadoorie – chairs both CLP Holdings
and Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels.

The Sassoons and Kadoories may be the best known but a host of other
Jewish characters contributed to Hong Kong’s prosperity, enriched its
cultural scene and added colour and spice to to the social fabric.

Emanuel Belilios, a contemporary of the Sassoons and another opium
millionaire, built a huge mansion on The Peak and filled its garden with
a menagerie of exotic animals, including a camel. As generous as he was
eccentric, he helped to fund the Alice Memorial Hospital and Hong
Kong’s first school for girls. He was appointed to the Legislative
Council in 1881 in recognition of his contribution to Hong Kong Society.

The flamboyant Harry Odell, known as Hong Kong’s first impresario,
arrived here in 1921, fresh from a stint as a tap dancer in Japan. He
started a film business, persuaded famous performers to visit and
successfully lobbied the government to support the foundation of the
City Hall theatre complex.

Erica Cohen Lyons with cases containing the Torah, in the Ohel Leah Synagogue.  

Solomon Bard, who died last month, was a talented musician with a
prodigious intellect. The founding director of the student health
service at the University of Hong Kong, he also led the Hong Kong
Philharmonic Orchestra, became music director of the Hong Kong Chinese
Orchestra and co-founded the Hong Kong Archaeological Society.

After the war, many Jews relocated but some stayed on, laying the
foundations of today’s community. From the 1960s onwards, there was a
steady influx of expats and the Jewish community is now bigger, and
busier, than at any other time in Hong Kong’s history.

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How a Baghdadi Jew transformed Shanghai

 There is no monument to Sir Victor Sassoon, the Baghdadi Jew who changed the face of Shanghai in the 1930s. But he left his mark in several landmark buildings, including the Peace Hotel, whose Art Deco splendour has been revived. Fascinating article by Taras Grescoe in the New York Times (with thanks Dan and Lisa):

The Peace (Cathay) Hotel as it was in the 1930s, and as it is today (Photo: Hsinhua agency/Qilai Shen)

Until
recently, the name Sassoon — or, more exactly, Sir Ellice Victor
Sassoon, the third baronet of Bombay — had been all but effaced from the
streets of Shanghai. The scion of a Baghdadi Jewish family, educated at
Harrow and Cambridge, Sassoon shifted the headquarters of a family
empire built on opium and cotton from Bombay to Shanghai, initiating the
real estate boom that would make it into the Paris of the Far East.

The
1929 opening of the Cathay Hotel (its name was changed to the Peace in
the mid-50s), heralded as the most luxurious hostelry east of the Suez
Canal, proclaimed his commitment to China. (He even made the 11th-floor
penthouse, just below the hotel’s sharply pitched pyramidal roof, his
downtown pied-à-terre.) Within a decade, Sassoon had utterly transformed
the skyline of Shanghai, working with architects and developers to
build the first true skyscrapers in the Eastern Hemisphere, in the
process creating a real estate empire that would regularly see him
counted among the world’s half-dozen richest men. Within two decades,
the red flag of the People’s Republic was hoisted over the Cathay, which
would for many years serve as a guesthouse for visiting Soviet bloc
dignitaries.

Yet,
over the course of the years, Sassoon’s buildings, apparently too solid
to demolish, continued to stand, so many mysterious Art Deco and
Streamline Moderne megaliths in a cityscape growing ever grimier with
coal dust. As Shanghai once again takes its place as one of Asia’s
fastest-growing metropolises, and supertall, 100-plus-story towers
define its new skyline, there are signs that the city is beginning to
value, and even treasure, its prewar architectural heritage. Sir Victor
would have appreciated the irony: The landmarks of Shanghai’s
semicolonial past, vestiges of a once-reviled foreign occupation, have
lately become some of its most coveted addresses.

Read article in full

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Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

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