Prior to 1935 or so, I had approximately a dozen ancestors/relatives living in or around Berlin. As they were Jewish, their lives were already extremely difficult and about to become impossible.
In the next ten years (from 1935 to 1945), three were murdered in the concentration camps; one died of “natural causes” – he was the patriarch of the family and was hidden from the Nazis; one committed suicide; one escaped to London; one escaped to Palestine; two escaped to America; and four escaped to Shanghai, which because of their loose visa requirements became a destination for thousands of Jewish refugees.
The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum has built a database that contains name, occupation and address information for many of the refugees. Click on Database to search and access this information. [Please note that this database is no longer available – you may have some luck with the Wayback machine from Internet Archive]
As a newspaper research aficionado, I found that there were several newspapers written by and for Jews in Shanghai and have been digitized and are available online.
Thanks to the Leo Baeck Institute and the Internet Archive, you can perform full text searches of the newspapers in the collection. Some of the writing is in English, but most is in German. The newspapers are:
- Shanghai Jewish Chronicle (Shanghai, China : 1939-1945)
- S. Z. am Mittag der Shanghai Post. (Shanghai, China : 1939-approximately 1940)
- Acht Uhr Abendblatt (Shanghai, China : < October > 1939-1941)
- Shanghaier Morgenpost (Shanghai, China : 1941- )
- Gelbe Post
- Juedisches Nachrichtenblatt
- Mitteilungen der Vereinigung der Emigranten-Ärzte in Shanghai
- Shanghai Echo
- Shanghai Woche
So, if you had ancestors that spent some time in the Shanghai Ghetto as it sometimes was called, check out these searchable online newspapers. I did, and found a few articles naming my ancestors.