4145 Country Club Rd
Madison, WI 53711
“Jewish Diaspora in China: European Jewish refugees in Shanghai during World War II” – Professor Weijia Li
Director of Global Higher Education Master’s Degree Program, Assistant Professor of German, Faculty Affiliate: Center for East Asian Studies and Center for German and European Studies
From 1938 to 1941, more than 17,000 German and Austrian Jewish refugees, along with over 2,000 Polish Jews, fled from the Nazi terror to Shanghai, China. The refugees’ hope to use Shanghai as a temporary home until securing transfer to North America or elsewhere was soon wrecked by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the breakout of the Pacific War. As a result, they ended up spending a decade in China. Professor Li will describe his research of the Jewish refugees in Shanghai and their adaptation to a life in exile.
Weijia Li’s research and teaching interests include Chinese-German cultural encounters reflected in German literature, press, and art history. In 2010, he published a book on German Jewish writer Anna Seghers’s encounter with China in her life and works. He’s now working on a new book project on German and Yiddish writings on China by European Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII.