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Survivor Stories

Gary B.

Gary B. was born in Berlin, Germany. After Kristallnacht, he and his father went into hiding; that night, his family made the decision to leave Germany. They went to Shanghai when other routes were closed to them.

He discusses the living conditions, his job, and the émigré culture in Shanghai during the war.

Excerpt from Video Testimony

Gary describes the challenges faced by some of the newcomers to Shanghai, as well as his social life there.

Video Transcript

Shanghai was a very, very hard experience. It was totally different. All the experiences that we had in Europe and the way to survive, you could throw overboard. Shanghai was totally different. And people who were quite successful in Germany had nothing in Shanghai, and I know some people, I don’t want to name any names, who had nearly nothing in Germany, became big and opened up some bars and what have you, became big in Shanghai. Q: What kind of social life did you have in Shanghai? It was only among us immigrants. We were a clique of boys and girls, we made parties, we’d go to dances, and that was our social life. And there were a lot of actors and actresses in Shanghai — Jewish, you know – they made theaters, so we went there whether it was an opera, operetta, or a drama. We went to see it, and your humoristic plays, you know, or solo evenings, stand-up comedians. Oh, yeah, we had quite a few. And we went to movies. That was our social life. Q: What kind of movies? American movies.