Difficult escape by steamboat

Though Shanghai was the main pull for large-scale refugee traffic in Asia, approximately 1,200 European Jewish refugees also fled to Manila in the Philippines, another haven in Southeast Asia. Some refugees may have travelled to the Philippines through Hong Kong either by ship or airplane as a Pan American Airways flight connected the two port cities by 1938. The colony was also a point of transit to other parts of Britain’s Empire, such as Australia (a dominion), though the exact figures for these refugee movements are unknown. 

Steamship passengers would finally arrive in Shanghai after four weeks, depending on the weather and the ship. In total, it is estimated that 16,000 Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai. Most arrived impoverished due to heavy exit taxes imposed by the Nazis. Refugees were cared for by various Jewish aid organisations working in Shanghai, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee led on the ground by social worker Laura Margolis; the ‘Komor Committee’, named after its founder Paul Komor; and the Committee for the Assistance for the Assistance of European Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, led by Michael Speelman; as well as the Shanghai Jewish Youth Association, founded by Sir Horace Kadoorie. In addition, Sir Victor Sassoon also did much to help the refugees. Together, these committees helped house, feed and educate Jewish refugees in Shanghai. 

Timeline Hongkong

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