This marriage certificate belonged to Sara Witel Winterfeldt and Oscar Morsten. Between 1938 and 1939, their families immigrated to Shanghai to escape Nazi persecution. Sara met Oscar while working at Café Sliasgny. They married at the same venue on April 14, 1943. Their first daughter Jacqueline was born in Shanghai before the family immigrated to Canada in 1949.

A Wedding in a Shanghai Café

This marriage certificate belonged to Sara Witel Winterfeldt and Oscar Morsten. They married in Shanghai on April 14, 1943.  (Photo: Peter Berra)
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This marriage certificate belonged to Sara Witel Winterfeldt and Oscar Morsten. They married in Shanghai on April 14, 1943. (Photo: Peter Berra)

Detail of the signatures of Sara Witel Winterfeld and Oscar Morsten on their marriage certificate.
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Detail of the signatures of Sara Witel Winterfeld and Oscar Morsten on their marriage certificate. (Photo: Peter Berra)

Sara Witel Winterfeldt and Oscar Morsten in Shanghai at the cafe where they met and married in April 1943.
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Sara Witel Winterfeldt and Oscar Morsten in Shanghai at the cafe where they met and married in April 1943.

View of the China Sea from Shanghai in 1945. This photograph was taken by Jacqueline’s parents.
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View of the China Sea from Shanghai in 1945. This photograph was taken by Jacqueline’s parents.

Shanghai and Jewish Immigration during the Holocaust

During the Holocaust, more than 18,000 Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe escaped to Shanghai, a Chinese city under Japanese control. When increasing numbers of Jews tried to flee in 1938, Western countries made no additional efforts to take in those refugees. Shanghai was one of the few places that did not require a visa, so many families fled to Asia. Most moved to the Hongkou neighbourhood, which became a restricted area for Jews in 1943. After the war, the majority of Jewish immigrants returned to Europe or moved to the Americas. Their brief presence in Shanghai, however, left its traces in the city that welcomed the largest number of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.

Jacqueline Tansky gave this document and these photographs to the Montreal Holocaust Museum. They illustrate a significant period of her and her parents’ lives in Asia.

This project is part of the implementation of the Plan culturel numérique du QuébecObjects of Interest of the Holocaust, Plan culturel numérique du Québec

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