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The Jewish Girl of Shanghai

From Nazi Germany to Communist China

Ruth and Clara meet in Germany in 1937. Ruth is Jewish and dreams of becoming a fashion and dressmaker icon, and Clara, the daughter of rich bourgeois family, fights alongside the Communists. They both must flee the Nazi regime and find refuge in Asia.

Clara, the first one to leave for China, flees by boat to Shanghai. Ruth has to cross Europe all the way to Siberia before joining her friend Clara.

Thanks to the Japanese consul in Lithuania, she obtains a visa for Kōbe, a major port in Japan, the land of the rising sun. When she finally arrives in Shanghai – a bustling city where an underworld of spies, opium dealers and resistance fighters rub shoulders – she miraculously finds Clara, who has become a Communists agent.

The two women become inseparable. Ruth gets married with a Chinese man and gives birth to Xiao-Nao, “the little bird”. But in 1945 Shanghai is bombed by U.S. forces and Ruth dies in the attack.

What happens next? It is Bo Xiao-Nao, Ruth’s daughter, who picks up the thread of the story. She comes across a secret diary left behind by her mother Ruth. As she flips through it, she discovers the fascinating destiny of the woman who will forever be known as the Jewish girl of Shanghai…

The little-known story of the Shanghai Ghetto
The destiny of two remarkable women
A poignant novel about a forgotten exodus


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