Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155622
Title: BUILDING DIPLOMACY: HOW CHINA CRAFTED THE STORY OF THE SHANGHAI JEWISH GHETTO
Authors: SERENA SIM PING SIEW
Keywords: Shanghai
China
Holocaust
European Jews
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2019
Citation: SERENA SIM PING SIEW (2019-04-22). BUILDING DIPLOMACY: HOW CHINA CRAFTED THE STORY OF THE SHANGHAI JEWISH GHETTO. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis explores the former Jewish ghetto in Shanghai, where Jewish refugees who fled the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe resided in from the years 1943 to 1945. Shanghai since the late 1980s has embarked on extensive processes to memorialise the Shanghai Jewish ghetto. This paper seeks to problematise the Chinese memorialisation of the ghetto and posit that Chinese institutions and government authorities have appropriated the memory of Shanghai’s European Jews in order to advance a larger diplomatic goal in the 21st century. Western histography has argued that there was no concrete Chinese role when European Jews first arrived in Shanghai in the late 1930s. The fact that the Nationalist government fled the city after its defeat by the Japanese has also indicated the non-involvement of the Chinese in the establishment of the Shanghai Jewish ghetto. The efforts of Chinese institutions in preserving this part of Shanghai history is therefore peculiar, and is seen to be seizing a part of history which did not originally belong to them. This thesis therefore exemplifies the political motivations behind memorialisation through a discussion of the means utilised by Chinese institutions to craft the story of the ghetto. The paper focuses on two key agents in the memorialisation processes – the Center of Jewish Studies (CJS) in Shanghai and the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum. Through extensive curation and publicization, these Shanghai institutions have presented a story which exalts the benign role of the Chinese in saving the European Jews. Most importantly, this engagement of cultural diplomacy has demonstrated the utility of the Shanghai Jewish ghetto for China to pursue diplomatic ties with other nations in the contemporary era.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155622
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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