(ANSA) – TRIESTE, 23 JAN – From the port of Trieste over 15 thousand Jews managed to escape Nazi persecutions by embarking, between 1938 and 1940, on the Lloyd Triestino liners bound for Shanghai. They were mainly Austrian citizens. It is a little-known story, summarized today by the newspaper Il Piccolo which publishes it in two pages accompanied by period photos and short cards of the characters.
The exodus led to the birth of the so-called Shanghai Ghetto in China, a refuge in the East from Nazism for Jews who, after the Second World War, migrated to the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel.
The story, on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance (January 27), is remembered, writes Il Piccolo, by the Italian Cultural Institute in Vienna, with the conference “Vienna-Trieste-Shanghai”. This is only the beginning of a larger project that could also be transformed into an exhibition at the Italian Embassy in Vienna, in collaboration with the Carlo and Vera Wagner Museum of the Jewish Community of Trieste and the Italian Liners association. Il Piccolo argues that this is the goal of Stefano Beltrame, Italian ambassador to Vienna, former Consul General of Italy in Shanghai from 2013 to 2018.
Beltrame himself explains from the columns of the newspaper that the story is “a well-known chapter in Austria and China, almost not at all in Italy”. Also because “the embarkation operations of the Jews fleeing on the Lloyd’s ships for a period were secret, or rather, they were not publicized, given that Mussolini had announced the racial laws, Trieste in September 1938”. The ambassador underlines that “there were those who denounced the operation in Trieste after ’38, but the order was issued from Rome not to raise the case and that the shipments also continued, which then extended to Genoa”.
Finally, the role played by the Chinese consul in Vienna, Ho Feng Shan, who risked his life and career to save thousands of Jews by giving the green light in large quantities, is reported. (HANDLE).
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