The second phase of the history of the Jewish community in Shanghai started around 1900 when a new, mainly Russian, wave of Jewish immigration expanded the community. These new arrivals, which had left Russia because of the bloody pogroms and civil war which resulted from revolution, were much poorer than the Baghdad Jews. They earned their living mainly as small shopkeepers and managed to run restaurants, groceries, bakeries, bookstores, millinery shops and so on. Gradually, through their bitter struggle and hard work, most of them became rich and began to live a life, which was considered middle class in the Jewish community.

The first issue of Israel's Messenger, the influential Jewish newspaper in Shanghai, it had a great impact on Jews of Shanghai, China, and even the Far East for more than three decades. (Photo Credit: CC-BY Israel's Messenger, Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum)

The first issue of Israel’s Messenger, the influential Jewish newspaper in Shanghai, it had a great impact on Jews of Shanghai, China, and even the Far East for more than three decades. (Photo Credit: CC-BY Israel’s Messenger, Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum)

In the middle of the 1930s, the social life of the Shanghai Jewish community, which numbered 5000 people, both Sephardic and Ashkenazi (Russian), was well organized. After central-European Jewish refugees flowed into shanghai, the city saw a sudden increase of Jewish residents. Before Pearl Harbor, shanghai Jews amounted to over thirty thousands. Soon after the end of World War II, the population of the Jewish community began to decrease when a number of refugees left shanghai.

Shanghai Jewish Recreational Club sportsmen and functionaries in Hongkew, who were about to leave for Israel, in late 1948. (Photo Credit: Igud Yotzei Sin in Israel (Association of Former Residents of China) ed., Bulletin, Tel-Aviv)

Shanghai Jewish Recreational Club sportsmen and functionaries in Hongkew, who were about to leave for Israel, in late 1948. (Photo Credit: Igud Yotzei Sin in Israel (Association of Former Residents of China) ed., Bulletin, Tel-Aviv)

Special thanks to Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum for providing the sources of literature and photo on this topic.