1939 Poland was an ominous place for a Jew. After the Nazi invasion that started World War II, the country was divided, with Germany claiming the western half and Soviet Russia claiming the eastern half. Neither of these occupiers was friendly to Jews, and the many Jewish citizens of Poland had to figure out their best means of survival. With the sense that their time was running out, Polish Jews decided escaping from Poland was the safest option. Jewish Escape Shanghai US-Immigration
The passport of MENDEL FINKIELSZTEJN documents his departure from Shanghai and his emigration to the United States from 1946 to 1947. According to an entry in his passport on page seven by the Polish Attache STANISLAW KOSTARSKI, we can see he had an earlier passport issued by the Polish Legation in China from Dec 12, 1941. And most likely another travel document for escaping Poland with destination Shanghai.
There is a Ledger listing in handwriting persons registered at the Polish consulate in Shanghai, 1934-1941 online, which lists Mendel under entry number 1374. Mendel was from the town of Kilkijow, Volynia region. His village was destroyed by Ukrainian nationalists back in 1943. This area had a lot of Polish Jews. The passport also includes a Canadian Pacific Railway stub stamped on Dec 18, 1947.
MENDEL FINKIELSZTEJN is engraved in the “Shanghai List Wall” with other 13731 names of former Shanghai Jewish refugees. The “Shanghai List Wall” plus sculptures are 37 meters long, of which 26 copper plates are 34 meters long and 2.5 meters wide. This is the only survivor list memorial wall with the theme of salvation in the world.
As far as we know, the number of Jewish refugees who came to Shanghai to an asylum at that time was about 20,000. But this time, there are 13,732 Jewish refugees on the wall, most of which are from the book “Exile in Shanghai” edited by Sonya Muehlberger. The list is attached to it.” said Chen Jian, curator of the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Memorial Museum. Jewish Escape Shanghai US-Immigration
STANISLAW KOSTARSKI (born 1920, died August 11, 2007 ) – Polish diplomat, Chargé d’affaires of the Republic of Poland in Nanjing, press counselor of the Embassy of the Polish People’s Republic in London, long-term head of the foreign department, and Paris correspondent of Życie Warszawy. During World War II, he was a lieutenant of the Home Army. He participated in the Warsaw Uprising. Jewish Escape Shanghai US-Immigration
Many thanks to fellow collector Pawel Kruszewski who researched several data on this document.