Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eric Rosenow - August 5, 1982

Moving to Shanghai

Did you have other family there living with you after you...

I had my parents--I will come to this by the way. Uh, I arrived in uh, in Shanghai, April the 27th. My parents and my other brother still remained in Germany because there was no uh, tickets available nowhere. So they came with the last ship. The war broke out already. They were 12 days on uh, near the Suez Canal, and the war broke out. The question was if the uh, English people let the ship go through or sent the ship back to Germany. Of course, then my parents would be uh, transported, and my brother, to the concentration camps like anybody else. But finally they uh, they uh, let this particular ship through and came in September--beginning of September, also to Shanghai. So my whole family--I mean my parents and two other brothers arrived in Shanghai. I'm not talking about uncles or cousins who remained in Germany and uh, I never saw them since, of course.

Did you get any word about any of them--what happened to them as well?

Well, I got some but they had been gassed and uh, didn't survive in the concentration camps. So when I came to Shanghai, I arrived in Shanghai the 27th of April. May the first, I had my first engagement in night clubs.

Just like that?

As a musician. Well thanks to, to my profession as a musician--as a pianist--I uh, I made awfully good living. When uh, we were about 20,000 refugees from Germany, from Austria, and we al...also had some uh, uh, refugees from Poland.

Those were the people that were transported through Russia?




How did they...

There were few people who came uh, via Siberia--via the Siberian Express over Harbin. But I wasn't one of them. I came direct from Italy to Shanghai. I didn't uh, came as a train from Harbin to Shanghai or I didn't came as a small boat from Harbin to Shanghai, no. But uh, it was a, a very small amount of people from uh, who came from uh, who came from Poland or Russia to Shanghai. But I just want to emphasize one more important fact that we were 20,000 Jewish people in Shanghai. Five thousand--about 5,000 uh, people died of starvation and climate--was sub-tropic in uh, in Sh...Shanghai. In nineteen hundred forty-two, the Japanese people created a ghetto. We had free to go in Shanghai wherever we wanted to go, up to the point '42. In nineteen-hundred forty-two, they put us--we had to move to a very, very small area--to a ghetto. But I mind you, even in that ghetto, we were almost free to do whatever we pleased. We had barber shops in the ghetto, we had bakeries, we had movie houses, we made theater, we had uh, music, uh, we had uh, everything. We were free. We were living in camps, but I fortunately uh, didn't live in the camp. I had a private house, house--a room, I mean, and uh, we couldn't move out from the ghetto, there were wires. In, in uh, '45 we were--the American people uh, liberated us, and in '46 I got married, to my wife uh, Annie.

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