Flight to Shanghai, 1938-1940: The Larger Setting
The authors argue that Germany’s foreign currency difficulties, coupled with her East Asian policy and her trade with China and Japan, made an exodus of Austrian and German Jews to Shanghai in 1938-1940 possible. In addition, the complex situation in Shanghai following the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war, the subsequent threat to British interests in China, and Japan’s increasingly dominant position in Shanghai are also important factors in examining Jewish emigration to there. Increased Nazi pressure on Jews to emigrate eventually led them to view Shanghai as a major destination, especially after the Evian Conference. The Shanghai Municipal Council’s inability to institute passport controls added to Shanghai’s viability as an emigration destination for Jews. Adolf Eichmann’s efforts to send Jews even by chartered ships failed, however, since it necessitated using foreign currency. The authors conclude that in the first half of 1939, when Shanghai was a viable option for saving Jews, the Jewish leadership for all practical purposes ignored it.