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Portrait of the Komor family in Shanghai.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 94758

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    Portrait of the Komor family in Shanghai.
    Portrait of the Komor family in Shanghai.  

Pictured from left to right are Isidor, Adele, Peter, Leonard and Paul Komor.


    Portrait of the Komor family in Shanghai.

    Pictured from left to right are Isidor, Adele, Peter, Leonard and Paul Komor.
    1921 - 1922
    Shanghai, [Kiangsu] China
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Valerie S. Komor

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Valerie S. Komor

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Paul Komor (1886-1973), Honorary Consul for Hungary in Shanghai who co-founded the International Committee for European Immigrants. Paul was the eldest child of Isidor and Frieda (Abeles) Komor and the grandson of Salomon Kohn, a Hungarian Jew who officially "Magyarized" the family name in 1881. Born in Budapest, Paul moved with his parents to the Far East in 1896, when his father decided to join his uncle Siegfried Komor in a Japanese curio business in Hong Kong. The following year the family moved to Yokohama, where Isidor Komor and his cousin Arthur Kuhn established "Kuhn and Komor," a branch of the Hong Kong firm. In April 1898 the family settled in Shanghai, where they opened a second branch of the business. Paul was educated at the German language Kaiser Wilhelm Schule in Shanghai. In 1915 at the age of nineteen, Paul married Adele Rogalsky, the daughter of a Jewish family from the Crimea, who had come to Shanghai from Harbin in 1912. Their first son, Leonard Andrew, was born in 1917 and their second, Peter Sandor, in 1921. In March 1919 when all "enemy" nationals were forced to leave Shanghai, Paul and his father were repatriated by the British to Hamburg, Germany. The following January Paul returned to Shanghai. (His father rejoined him only in 1933 after the death of Paul's mother.) In 1924 Paul was baptized in the German Evangelical Church in Shanghai together with his wife and children. Paul's business career began with the management of a tannery in Shanghai. Subsequently, he ran the China Import Company with his brother-in-law. A staunch Hungarian patriot, Paul Komor was named Honorary Consul General for Hungary in Shanghai in the 1930s. During the summer of 1938 he was approached by business associates of Sir Victor Sassoon, a wealthy Iraqi Jew with British citizenship, to head a committee that would be underwritten by Sassoon, to deal with the wave of Jewish refugees arriving in Shanghai from Nazi Germany. Together with Eduard Kann, Aladair Kelen and Michael Speelman, Komor established the International Committee for European Immigrants in China on August 7, 1938. It was referred to as the I.C. or Komor Committee. Komor headed the committee until his sudden arrest by Japanese naval intelligence in January 1942 at I.C. headquarters in the Cathay Hotel. Apparently, he was suspected of being a British spy because of his close association with Sir Victor Sassoon. Komor remained in custody in a room at the hotel until March, when he was abruptly released. Although the Japanese prohibited him from returning to the I.C., the committee continued to function for some time. Komor remained in Shanghai until April 1948 when he immigrated to the United States. He settled with his wife in Santa Cruz, California, where he lived out the rest of his life.

    [Sources: Komor, Valerie S., "Paul Komor, 1886 Budapest, Hungary -1973 Santa Cruz, California" [unpublished biographical sketch of Paul Komor], New York, N.Y., 2000; Vamos, Peter. "Central and Eastern European Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, 1938-1948' [unpublished paper] U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC, 2001.]
    Record last modified:
    2004-03-31 00:00:00
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