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Jewish refugees attend a communal seder in Shanghai.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 58496

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    Jewish refugees attend a communal seder in Shanghai.
    Jewish refugees attend a communal seder in Shanghai.

Among those pictured is Alfred Brosan (fifth from the right in the middle row.)


    Jewish refugees attend a communal seder in Shanghai.

    Among those pictured is Alfred Brosan (fifth from the right in the middle row.)
    1938 - 1947
    Shanghai, [Kiangsu] China
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Alfred Brosan

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Alfred Brosan

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Alfred Brosan is the son of Rudolf and Ana (Spielman) Brosan. He was born July 20, 1923 and was raised in Vienna, where his father owned a leather goods business. Alfred had one sister, Trudi. While his children were growing up Rudolf decided that they needed more fresh air and moved the family to the suburb of Hainbach. Every Thursday Alfred traveled 30 miles by train to attend Hebrew school in Vienna since some form of religious education was mandatory in Austria. In 1933 the family returned to Vienna. After the Anschluss in March 1938, the family decided to leave Austria. They traveled first to Berlin, then to Warsaw, and then to Moscow, where they boarded the Trans-Siberian railroad to Vladivostok. From there, they sailed aboard a Japanese vessel to Shanghai. Rudolf persuaded most of his relatives to emigrate with him, including his two brothers, Bruno and Richard. Only one branch of the family did not follow them to Shanghai. They decided to remain in Austria while awaiting American visas. Tragically, the visas never arrived and they perished in Auschwitz. Alfred and his parents arrived in Shanghai in December 1938. Since Brosans were prohibited from taking money out of the country, the Jewish community of Shanghai agreed to loan Rudolf and his brothers money to establish a leather goods factory in China. They received a further infusion of capital from a British customer, who had purchased goods while they were still in Vienna. Their business flourished, and Rudolf was able to purchase a home for the family. Their good fortune lasted until December 1941 when Japan's entry into the world war severely limited their ability to conduct business. For the remainder of the war, the family lived off of its savings. In 1943 the Japanese military government ordered all Jews to move to a designated area in the Hongkew section of the city. By chance, the family's house fell within the boundaries of the designated area so they did not have to move. After the war, Trudi married an American soldier and immigrated to the United States. Rudolf and Ana later came to the United States under the sponsorship of a cousin in New Jersey. However, since Alfred was over the age of 23 he could not be included on their quota number. He therefore got an Austrian passport and visas to France and Canada. He left on the General Meiggs, the last American ship to sail prior to the Communist occupation of Shanghai. He traveled to the United States on a transit visa on March 23, 1949, but technically remained an illegal immigrant.
    Record last modified:
    2004-03-31 00:00:00
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