Shanghai Escape

Kacer, Kathy, 1954-

Paperback - 2013
Average Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Shanghai Escape
Baker & Taylor
Lily Toufar and her family, along with other Jewish refugees, arrive in Shanghai, China, to escape Hitler and the Nazis before the Second World War, but they are forced into ghettos by the Japanese government which is aligned with Hitler.

Orca Book Publishers
Shanghai, China, seems an unlikely destination for Jewish refugees trying to escape the cruel anti-Semitic laws of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party before the Second World War. But while most countries were unwilling to give refuge to Jews, China was one place that did. More than twenty thousand European Jews found refuge in Shanghai between 1937 and 1939.

Lily Toufar and her family arrive in Shanghai in 1938, having fled from Vienna on the eve of Kristallnacht. Shanghai is a strange place for this bright young girl. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and under pressure from Hitler, the Japanese government in Shanghai has ordered Jewish refugees to move into a ghetto in an area of Shanghai called Hongkew. There is little food to eat and poor sanitation, and disease is rampant. For Lily, life becomes grueling after her family is forced into the ghetto. Lily endures the difficult conditions, always hopeful for an end to the war and a return to normal life.
Young Lily Toufar and her family arrive in Shanghai, China, along with many Jewish refugees trying to escape Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party before the Second World War.

Publisher: Toronto, Canada :, Second Story Press,, 2013
ISBN: 1927583101
Branch Call Number: J 940.53 K
Characteristics: 248 pages : illustrations, map ; 21 cm.


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Lily’s Jewish family makes it out of Austria up before the Nazi takeover to wind up in a Jewish ghetto in Shanghai, China, and again in danger, but at least they’re all together. Illus. with personal photos.

Nov 04, 2014

Young Lily Toufar led a happy and secure life in Vienna with her parents, cousins and other relatives. She had many friends and enjoyed attending school.

Her childhood changed dramatically, however, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party came to power. His cruel treatment of the Jewish people in Austria and Germany made their lives unbearable. They began to seek new homes where they would not be persecuted.

The Toufar family moved half-way around the world, all the way to Shanghai. It seemed a strange choice to Lily, but her parents thought that their new home would be far enough from Europe to be safe – and at first, it was. Mr. Toufar found work; Mrs. Toufar sewed for others at home, and Lily attended a nearby school.

Then the situation changed. Shanghai was occupied by Japan, whose leaders were supportive of Adolf Hitler and his harsh treatment of Jewish people. When the thousands of Jewish refugees in Shanghai were ordered to move into an overcrowded ghetto called Hongkew, Lily’s family had to search for a new home once again.

This time, it was very difficult. Housing, food, water, clothing and other supplies were scarce in the ghetto. Dirt, disease and death were everywhere, and as the months went on, things became much worse.

Then the bombs began to fall on Hongkew. It was a very dangerous time, and the Toufars wondered if they would ever be safe.

The story of Lily and her family had a happy ending. They survived the bombings, and in September 1945, American troops liberated Hongkew. Three years later, the Toufars moved to Canada and began a new life in Toronto.

Award-winning author Kathy Kacer’s story of hope and perseverance highlights a lesser-known chapter of World War II: that of the thousands of Jewish Europeans who took refuge in Shanghai.

Photographs of the Toufar family have been included, and an interview with the grown-up Lily concludes this poignant, true story.


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Nov 04, 2014

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Kacer, Kathy, 1954-
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