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Big Chinese Aliyah (1949-1952): Where are they today?

The Big Chinese Aliyah happened between 1949 and 1952. There are still Jews living in China today. The exact estimates are not known.

The Chinese Aliyah started with the civil war; the Chinese economy plummeted and the inflation spiked.

Emmigration from China happened in two ways:

Harbin, China and its Jewish Community. Museum at Eldridge Street.

There were Jewish refugees from Shanghai who were transported on ships which had to take the longer route to Israel. The ships could not cut through the African continent through the Suez Canal. Rather they took the longer route circling the African continent. There were two ships that took the refugees from China: "Wester Victory" and "Anna Sailan".

The Jews from Harbin travelled by trains to Tianjin, by sea to Hong Kong and from there they travelled by planes to different countries.

The biggest communities of Chinese Jews in Israel after the arrival were in Migdal HaEmek, Ramat Yishai, Beit Shaarim, Atalit and Pardes Chana. A small group established a kibbutz called Amikum and additional groups found themselves in Suchmata and Kfar Tabor. They also built houses in Givat Olga and in Shikun Shanghai – today's Ramat HaChayil.

In June 1951 an organization called "Olei Sin Association" was established which eventually changed its name to "Association of Former Residents of China in Israel". The association was established by Jews from China and a small office space for that purpose was rented between the offices of Mr. King's lawyers on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

The association has been active through a number of branches in cities and towns where some Jews from China live. With time more like-minded associations were established around the world, unifying the Jews who came from China: in San Francisco, Sidney, Los Angeles and more).

As a result of city development in Shanghai, the Ashkenazi synagogue was destroyed in 1954. Through the embassies in Switzerland the Chinese government sent monetary compensation, which was supposed to be used for building a synagogue in Israel. The Tel Aviv Town Hall donated a plot of land on the Golan Street, which was then in Shikun Shanghai, but is now in Ramat HaChayil. With the help of additional donations, the synagogue was built and officially opened in 1962.

There is also a group of Jews who run away from Germany before the outbreak of the war and stayed in Hong Kong. This group consists of 120 people and they are actively participating in the community and the association. In 1996 a group of Sephardi Jews from Shanghai (totaling 120) people joined the association as well.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel, the Association supported the establishment of another association between Chinese Jews in Israel and China called the "Voice of Friendship". The Voice of Friendship includes active involvement of Chinese Jews in Israel and Jews in China.

The names of the founding members of the Association:

From Harbin: Teddy Kaufman | Boris Kotz | Tzvi Nachmakin Niv | Esther Yalkin

From Tianjin: Selig Blockmin | Heinrich Davidovitz | Yosef Fligel | Michael Kelber | Jamie Manes | Lev Piastunovich | Vladimir Zlotnikov

From Shanghai: Mara Margoliov | David Rabinowitz | Albert Weinerman | Vela Zobitski

From Dalian: Yosef Gleiberman

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