What was the Situation of Asian Jews in the 1930s and 1940s?

May 2019
125
Northern and Western hemispheres
While I was doing some historical reading I learned that there were Chinese and Japanese Jews. What was their population number? And did they still have much of a cultural identity around this time period?
 
May 2009
1,315
I think a lot of the Jews in China at that time were western refugees. I know Shanghai took in many Jews during WW2. There's been a lot written about the Jews of Shanghai, maybe you could point your research there.
 
May 2019
156
Earth
Jews in Japanese-occupied territories during that period were generally safe from persecution, despite Japan being formally allied with Nazi Germany. Keep in mind that most of these Jews were not ethnically "Asian", but of European heritage (Russians, Poles, French, Germans, etc.). The city of Harbin in Manchukuo (Japanese puppet state) was home to a sizeable Jewish community and they were usually treated neutrally by the Japanese/Manchukuo authorities (unless they were citizens of an enemy combatant nation). However, they were subjects of harrasment by local gangs of fascist Russian exiles. A notable incident involving a Jew in Manchukuo was the murder of Simon Kaspe: Simon Kaspé - Wikipedia

The Japanese allowed Jewish and even Zionist organisations to operate in their territory. Dr. Abraham Kaufman (a resident of Harbin) was the head of the Far Eastern Jewish Council, which operated within Japanese-occupied territories for the duration of WW2: Abraham Kaufman - Wikipedia

The Japanese established the 'Shanghai ghetto' for Jews around there, but despite the name they were not subject to the same atrocities they countered in Germany (although they still endured wartime hardships): Shanghai Ghetto - Wikipedia

The Japanese authorities in Shanghai were involved in protecting Jews there from the Nazis, and refused requests by Germans like Josef Meisinger (the "Butcher of Warsaw") to have Jews deported to Nazi territory or exterminated locally.

Some reading material that you might find interesting:

https://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Nazis-Jews-community-1938-1945/dp/0893620017

https://www.amazon.com/Fugu-Plan-Untold-Japanese-During/dp/9652293296

https://www.amazon.com/Shanghai-Sanctuary-Japanese-European-Refugees/dp/0190491582
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,755
SoCal
I think a lot of the Jews in China at that time were western refugees. I know Shanghai took in many Jews during WW2. There's been a lot written about the Jews of Shanghai, maybe you could point your research there.
There's also the Kaifeng Jews--though I believe that they were already either completely extinct or almost completely extinct by the time of WWII due to mass assimilation with the local Chinese population.
 
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Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,856
India
There are various kind of Jews in India also like Cochin Jews, Baghdadi Jews, then Bene Israel (Shanivar Teli, aka Saturday oil-pressers) although Bene Israel rediscovered their Jewish ancestry.

There were some prominent Jews from India, Lt General JFR Jacob or famous bollywood actress Florence Ezekiel Nadira.


 
Sep 2015
440
Sri Lanka
Manipur Jews [Short excerpt]
In east India in the States of Manipur and Mizoram exists a community which sees itself as descendants of the Menashe Tribe (which is one of
10 lost tribes).Israelis refer to this people by the name Shinlung or Lushi. These people have Chinese appearance and they claim that after their forefathers were exiled and enslaved by the Assyrians they somehow escaped from slavery and arrived in China first. Later on they moved to the Chinese-Burmese border and much later on to the neighboring east India. Most of the residents of Mizoram and Manipur are Christians. Among the Manipur Jews there are some who believe that all the Manipur and Mizoram residents (about 2 million people) are originally from the Menashe tribe. The Manipur Jews believe that the Christian missionaries in the 19th century, forced these Jews to abolish their Jewish identity and adopt Christianity.
From 1951 after a local chief, named Tchalah revealed to his people that God had told him that his people should return to their original religion and land (Judaism and Israel), there is a movement to return to Judaism and immigration to Israel. Some of them contacted with Israeli rabbis and started learning Judaism. Some of the Israeli rabbis accept their Judaism and others don’t see them as original Jews. Many of the immigrating Manipuri Jews to Israel have converted to Judaism through strict Jewish laws.!
 
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