“The Last Refuge: The Story of Jewish Refugees in Shanghai” (2003), directed and written by Xiaohong Cheng and co-produced by Noriko Sawada, tells the story of the roughly 18,000 Jews who between 1938 and 1942 escaped Eastern Europe to Shanghai, which required no documentation upon entry.
Shanghai’s prewar Jewish neighborhood could no longer contain the influx of refugees fleeing the Nazis, and the Jews were relegated to a ghetto, where they lived — free from the genocide their families and friends were encountering in their native lands — from 1943 until China’s liberation from the Japanese in 1945.
Shown publically for the first time, the film — originally a master’s thesis — interweaves original footage with reenactments of survivors’ experiences and interviews with a historian and a Jewish military chaplain who participated in the liberation of Shanghai. A question and answer session with the director follows the screening, as well as a talk by Marcia Reynders Ristaino, author of “Port of Last Resort: The Diaspora Communities of Shanghai.”
“The Last Refuge” adds to the documentary record firmly established by 2002’s “Shanghai Ghetto.”
Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., S.E.; July 8, noon-1:30 p.m.; free. (202-707-5422 or www.loc.gov/loc/events/julaugindex.html)