CHINA / Regional

Shanghai's help for Jews hailed
By Xu Jitao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-27 06:06

SHANGHAI: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has praised the city of Shanghai for its help to Jewish people in World War II.

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the New York-based organization, made the comments yesterday during a visit to Shanghai.

The group was established in 1913, and is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to stopping the defamation of the Jewish people and to securing justice and fair treatment for all.

Twenty-five members of the group visited Shanghai yesterday, and the two-week tour will also take them to Hong Kong, Beijing, Harbin and Xi'an.

Foxman said: "For us, Shanghai is an important city. During World War II, when most of the world closed its doors to Jewish people, China permitted Jewish people to come.

"They accepted Jewish people, they treated them well and they took care of them."

He added there were three reasons for the group's tour of the country.

"The first is for a better relationship between Jewish people and Chinese people, the second is for a better relationship between China and the United States.

"And the last is to strengthen the relationship between China and Israel," he said.

The delegation visited the former synagogues and residences of Jewish people in Shanghai during the war. Many members in the group were visiting these sites for the first time, and were impressed by the buildings.

"This is my second time in China, but my first time to visit the synagogues in Shanghai. Chinese were really very kind in the war. Even when they were suffering from the invasion of Japanese, they still helped us," said Irving Geszel, a member of the group.

"I do have good feelings towards Chinese.

"Even now, they still preserve these buildings for us."

He added: "In the past, both Jewish people and Chinese suffered from wars and injustice. But now we are pleased to see that both peoples have developed greatly. This trip is a good opportunity for us to find out about the development in China."

Foxman said the visit would help Jewish society have a deeper and more profound understanding about today's China, which would benefit the relationship between Chinese and Jewish people.

"I have a feeling that Jewish society will become larger in Shanghai and China in the future. We would like to be of more help to China," he said.

(China Daily 03/27/2006 page3)