During the Second World War, the foreign public settlement, located on the north bank of Suzhou River in Shanghai, became the protective umbrella of tens of thousands of Jewish people. As a result, today s Hongkou District of Shanghai enjoys the reputation of the Noah s Ark of the Orient", both in China and abroad.
In 1927, the influx of large numbers of Jewish refugees entered Hongkou District through Shanghai s North Bund wharf. In this crowded environment, tens of thousands of Jews enjoyed s temporary safe have. Many Jewish children could, for a time, forget the dread and calamity they had left behind in war-torn Europe, enjoying the childhood paradise of the nearby Huoshan Park.
Ohel Rachel Synagogue is the most important Jewish community building still standing today. It was used from 1920 to 1952, with the exception of perhaps two year during the Second World War. The building now houses the Shanghai Education Bureau, which was Founded by Sir Jacob Sassoon (from Hong Kong) in memory of his wife, and consecrated in 1920 by Rabbi W. Hirsch.
So far, Jewish architecture is still prevalent in the Huoshan Road and Zhoushan Road areas. Most of the buildings have red brick ramps spires and white window lattices with a blue arch. The arch profile is covered with roof windows that extend to each side, and are embellished into the blue grain of the red wall. There is also a coffee dark wooden door and a stone arch porch to the front and left of the buildings, similar to the Baroque style. Such a construction is very different from the surrounding Chinese style buildings. Through these unique buildings, one can enjoy a unique glimpse and insight into Jewish culture during a period of great suffering and hardship for the European Jewish refugees in Shanghai during this turbulent period of world history.