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Book presentation Joan Veldkamp: 'Vrijhaven Shanghai'

Not many people in the Netherlands know that at least 18.000 Jewish refugees escaped to China in the eve of the Second World War. While living and working in China as a correspondent, the story of the Shanghai ghetto crossed the path of Joan Veldkamp and she decided to write a book about it. 

Tonight at 5:30 p.m she will present 'Vrijhaven Shanghai' at Spring House. The presentation will be in Dutch. 

Shanghai, late 1930s. In the nightclubs of the 'Paris of the East' rich Westerners are partying every night. Under the influence of the French, the British and Americans the wild city has become a free port where wealthy cosmopolitans as well as outcasts test their luck. While Hitler is unstoppable in Europe, the Westerners in Shanghai consider themselves invulnerable. Until Japan enters the war and the first 'white colonialists' are locked up in detention camps. This is also the fate of the Dutch family Hennus.

In the meantime, thanks to the efforts of a small group of people, an escape route for Jews is established between Europe and Shanghai. Joan Veldkamp recorded the stories of Peter Engler and Guenter Cohn, two Jewish boys from Berlin who ended up in the ghetto of Shanghai with their parents. Despite all poverty, concerns and dangers they experienced an unforgettable time in the narrow alleys of the city and became friends for life.

Free Port Shanghai is a non-fiction book in which world history and personal history are intertwined.


Date: Thursday November 2
Time: 17.30 - 19.00
Spring House, De Ruyterkade 128, Amsterdam