Historic Holocaust Exhibit To Be Displayed In China

An exhibit of World War II era Holocaust artifacts, "Postal & Monetary Evidence of the Holocaust -- A Breakdown in Humanity," will be displayed this month in Shanghai and Nanjing, China by the Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation, an Illinois-based nonprofit organization.

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A 1939 postcard from Europe to friends and family who fled to Shanghai is one of the Holocaust items in the display. (Photo courtesy of Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation.)

...many prisoners never lost hope, and the human spirit survived.

Waukegan, Illinois (PRWEB) May 06, 2013

A one-of-a-kind exhibit of 300 World War II artifacts, "Postal & Monetary Evidence of the Holocaust -- A Breakdown in Humanity," will be publicly displayed in Shanghai and Nanjing, China in May by an Illinois-based charitable foundation.

The exhibition will be part of educational activities about the 1937 Nanjing Massacre and the 70th anniversary of the establishment in 1943 of the Designated Area for Stateless Refugees in Shanghai's Hongkew District, also known as the "Hongkew Ghetto" or Shanghai "Jewish Ghetto." This will be the first time the exhibit's narrative text has been translated into Mandarin by students at the Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies at Nanjing University (http://a200981104.oinsite.cn).

The exhibit includes documents and mail from concentration camp inmates in Europe, prisoners of war, European ghetto residents as well as documents and mail sent from Europe to friends and family in the Shanghai Ghetto.     

The displays will be free and open to the public in the Museum of Modern Coins at Shanghai Finance University (www1.shfc.edu.cn), May 15 - 18, 2013, and in the Jingwen Student Center at Nanjing University (http://www.nju.edu.cn), May 20 - 23. Former residents of the Shanghai ghetto and survivors of the Nanjing Massacre will be among the speakers at the event.

The collection of Holocaust items is owned by the Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation of Waukegan, Illinois (http://www.SpungenFoundation.org). The non-profit foundation has been acquiring the extraordinary items and adding to the collection since 2006 to preserve them and to offer them for public displays around the world as an educational exhibit about the Holocaust and genocide.

"This exhibit of World War II era mail and documents related to the attempted extermination of Jews and others are evidence of the torments, ravages and terror of war and genocide in Europe from 1933 to 1945. They also show that many prisoners never lost hope, and the human spirit survived," said Mr. Danny Spungen, a member of the board of the Spungen Family Foundation who helped to arrange for the upcoming exhibits in Shanghai and Nanjing.    

The display includes post cards; letters; specially-designated postal stationary used exclusively by concentration camp inmates, Jewish ghetto residents and prisoners of war; and counterfeit Bank of England paper money created for the Nazi government by slave laborers during World War II.

"One of the most heartbreaking artifacts and historical evidence of Nazi desecration is a torn fragment of a hand-written Hebrew parchment from a Bible scroll taken from a Russian synagogue. A German soldier used the holy scripture to wrap a parcel he mailed from Russia to Austria in 1942," explained Spungen

Professor Xu Xin of the Jewish Study Center of Nanjing University emphasized the importance of observing the 70th anniversary of the Hongkew Ghetto:

"Between 1937 and 1940, approximately 20,000 Jewish refugees escaping the rise of the Nazis and World War II fled to Shanghai. These refugees were welcomed by their new Chinese neighbors even though conditions were very poor. On February 18, 1943, under pressure from Nazi Germany, the Japanese authorities created the Designated Area for Stateless Refugees in Shanghai known today as the Hongkew Ghetto," he explained.

"Jewish refugees were forced to move into this 2.8 square kilometer area which was already densely populated by the poorest of the Chinese. The hardships were tough but the kindness and support by the Chinese to their new Jewish refugee neighbors made the chances of survival much more possible. This is an important piece of history that should continue to be recognized," said Professor Xu.

Special 70th anniversary commemorative medals produced by the Shanghai Mint will be displayed for the first time and released to the public in conjunction with the exhibits in Shanghai and Nanjing.

For additional information about the exhibits, visit http://www.shfc.edu.cn and http://www.SpungenFoundation.org.