Trying to keep this up - so, a short thread about Harbin, China and the Jewish community that thrived there in the early 20th century.

Personal note: my great-grandfather lived there for at least a few years in the early 20th century.

In 1898, Russia got permission from China to extend the Trans Siberian Railroad across Manchuria. The Czar was so eager to get the project rolling that he took a break from his usual violent antisemitism and offered Jews unrestricted rights if they moved to Manchuria
Harbin, which was a collection of small fishing villages at the time, was the most popular destination for Jews fleeing the pogroms and restrictions in the Pale of Settlement, and soon became the administrative center of the railroad project.
By 1903 there were hundreds of Jews living in Harbin in an autonomous community. During the Russo-Japanese war and WWI, Jews avoiding conscription or deserting from forced military service flocked to Harbin. The population peaked around 1920 with 15-20 thousand Jews living there.
Free of the restrictions placed on them in Europe, the Jews of Harbin thrived. In addition to working on the railroad, the Jewish community had a major impact on the architecture and culture of the city, with many buildings still standing today.
The Hotel Moderne was founded by Iosif A. Kaspe. It was a three story hotel, cafe, bar, barbershop and a cinema/stage for both filmed and live performances. The cinema initially had seating for 700, and expanded in the 1920's to a capacity of 1200.
Two synagogues were built in Harbin, both still standing. The "old Synagogue" (on the left) has been restored and is now a hotel, and the "new Synagogue" (on the right) is a museum documenting and commemorating the Jewish history of Harbin.
The Jewish community also established elementary and secondary schools, a Talmud Torah, charitable organizations, a soup kitchen, a home for the aged and a hospital that served both Jews and gentiles in the region. 20 Jewish newspapers were published, including one in Yiddish.
The unique architectural style that the Jewish community brought with them, as well as the music, culture and food that flourished in the city led to Harbin being named (sic) "Oriental St. Petersburg", "Paris of the Orient" and "the City of Music".
An economic bust in the 30's and the Japanese occupation during WWII led to the eventual disappearance of the Harbin Jewish community, but for almost 40 years Jews thrived and lived there peacefully with their neighbors.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to בנימן טבלוב | Benjamin
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!