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Shanghai Sanctuaryassesses the plight of the European Jewish refugees who fled to Japanese-occupied China during World War II. This book is the first major study to examine the Nationalist government's policy towards the Jewish refugee issue and the most thorough and subtle analysis of Japanese diplomacy concerning this matter. Gao demonstrates that the story of the wartime Shanghai Jews is not merely a sidebar to the history of modern China or modern Japan. She illuminates how the "Jewish issue" complicated the relationships among China, Japan, Germany, and the United States before and during World War II. Her groundbreaking research provides an important contribution to international history and the history of the Holocaust. Chinese Nationalist government and the Japanese occupation authorities thought very carefully about the Shanghai Jews and how they could be used to win international financial and political support in their war against one another. The Holocaust had complicated repercussions extending far beyond Europe to East Asia, and Gao shows many of them in this tightly argued book. Her fluency in both Chinese and Japanese has permitted her to exploit archival sources no Western scholar has been able to fully use before. Gao brings the politics and personalities that led to the admittance of Jews to Shanghai during World War II together into a rich and revealing story.
Gao Bei is assistant professor of history at The College of Charleston.