Liberation and Resettlement: The Peninsula Hotel

Hong Kong was liberated from the Japanese in August 1945. In the post-war years, the colony once again became a site of transit – this time for Jewish refugees leaving Shanghai to find new homes in Australia and Israel (est. 1948). Lawrence Kadoorie helped refugees emigrate to new countries by providing temporary accommodation in his family’s business interest, The Peninsula Hotel, during a period when accommodation was scarce in Hong Kong.  

In July 1946, nearly 300 Jewish refugees travelling to Australia became stranded at The Peninsula Hotel for six months when the Australian Government recalled one of their ships to transport troops. Although the refugees were fortunate to have found accommodation at such short notice, The Peninsula Hotel was not the five-star retreat we know today. It too had been seriously damaged by war. One former refugee remembers that: 

„Before you are too impressed let me describe our sleeping arrangements: the grand ballroom on the top floor was bisected by a rope hung with bed sheets, on one side rows of beds for the gentlemen, and on the other a similar scheme for the ladies. We spent most of our days in the admittedly elegant foyer on the ground floor, where we could sit in comfort and observe a higher class of hotel patron.“

Timeline Hongkong

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