Theses Master's

Preserving History and Memory: The Jewish Refugee Experience in Shanghai (1939-1945) and the Preservation of Its Legacy

Chen, Yuan

Shanghai's role as a sanctuary for Jewish refugees during World War II marks a significant chapter in world history. This thesis explores the Jewish refugee experience in Shanghai during World War II, focusing on the oral histories of the refugees and the physical environments central to their narratives. This study employs a diverse array of archival research materials—including oral histories found in audio and video formats, published books, old newspapers, and traditional paper archives—to highlight the historical significance of the Tilanqiao Historic District, where a large number of Jewish refugees found refuge. Many of these sites are either lacking active preservation efforts or have been demolished.

By utilizing these materials, this thesis reveals various aspects of the refugees' lives in Shanghai. Based on the existing remnants, it proposes preservation strategies from aspects of regulatory framework, revitalization, and urban planning to better preserve these historic sites while effectively presenting their history. This approach highlights the urgent need for preservation strategies that protect potentially endangered remnants associated with the Jewish refugee’s history in Shanghai, China.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2026-06-01.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Sher, Sarah E.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
May 29, 2024