Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Saving Shanghai’s Jewish past, headstone by headstone

In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Western philanthropists
and volunteers are restoring dozens of historic Jewish cemeteries.

But in Shanghai, there are none to restore.

The four cemeteries that once served this city's small but prosperous
Jewish community disappeared in the late 1960s during China's Cultural
Revolution. The sites were paved over to build a factory, park, hotel
and Muslim cemetery, their history forgotten.

Israeli photojournalist Dvir Bar-Gal is trying to change that.

While the cemeteries may be gone, since 2001 Bar-Gal has made it his
mission to track down as many of the original headstones as possible.
He has located 85 and hopes to use them in a memorial to Shanghai's
Jewish past.

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