Cover image for Strange haven : a Jewish childhood in wartime Shanghai
Strange haven : a Jewish childhood in wartime Shanghai
Tobias, Sigmund.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana ; Chicago : University of Illinois Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 162 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Fleeing to Shanghai -- Life in Shanghai's lanes -- Getting used to Shanghai -- War -- Ghetto -- Yeshiva student in Shanghai -- Life in the ghetto -- Air raids -- Holocaust -- Life in postwar Shanghai -- Going to work -- Leaving Shanghai -- Sequel : revisiting the past -- Revived childhood memories -- Return to Shanghai -- Back in Hongkew -- Epilogue.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS135.C5 T63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In the wake of Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938, Sigmund Tobias and his parents left their home in Berlin and made plans to flee a Germany that was becoming increasingly dangerous for them. Like many European Jews, they faced the impossibility of obtaining visas to enter any other country in Europe or almost anywhere else in the world.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The history in this memoir is astonishing. Driven from Germany by the Nazis, Tobias was six years old in 1938 when he and his family found refuge with 17,000 other European Jews in a part of Shanghai under Japanese occupation. His quiet personal recollection describes how they got there and what their daily life was like during the next nine years, until at the age of 15, he left for the U.S. Most bizarre is the account of being a religious yeshiva seminary student, no different from if he were living in a Polish shtetl. Without being cute, Tobias (now an eminent professor of educational pyschology) stays true to the refugee child's experience. The Chinese are just background color--ill-treated by the Japanese but in a world apart. There are no heroics. What's important is Tobias' bar mitzvah. Daily prayers and rituals and scholarly discussion order his life--until the news of the Holocaust reaches Shanghai, and he has a crisis of faith. An affecting memoir of rescue and survival. --Hazel Rochman