Children with an uncertain future: The remaining refugees of Hong Kong

Refugee children sometimes ventured outside the hotel to explore Hong Kong. One former refugee remembers trips on the Star Ferry, tasting ice cream for the first time, and visiting the Repulse Bay beach, courtesy of his mother’s friend. After the privations of war and the bombings wrought on Shanghai, Hong Kong was like a paradise for refugee children. For their parents, however, the unexpected interruption was cause for anxiety. They had to grapple with yet another new city and an uncertain future. Under Hong Kong’s immigration law, refugees were not allowed to work.  

By January 1947, all the refugees had reached Australia. By the mid-1950s, only a handful of Jewish refugees remained in China. In 1982, Max Leibovich, known as the ‘last Jew of Shanghai’, passed away.  

Left: Party for refugee children at The Peninsula Hotel, 1946 (courtesy of Fred Antman and HKHP)

Right: Lothar Prager (middle) lived in the Peninsula Hotel with his parents Georg and Margarete for about six months in 1946. The picture shows them shortly after their arrival in Melbourne, Australia, in 1947 (courtesy of Lothar Prager).

Timeline Hongkong

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