In April 2000, filmmakers Dana Janklowicz-Mann and Amir Mann sneaked into China with a digital camera to shoot at the site of the Jewish Ghetto in Shanghai, unchanged since WWII. They took with them two survivors of the Ghetto back to where they lived during the war under Japanese occupation. They filmed never before seen footage of Shanghai for what would later become part of the documentary film SHANGHAI GHETTO.
In the late 1930's German Jews were trying to escape Nazi persecution, but country after country closed its doors to them. The only place in the world that didn't require entrance visas was the international city of Shanghai. Fleeing for their lives, Jewish refugees journeyed to the exotic city, arriving penny-less and unprepared for life in the Far East. They thought that soon they would find a way to go back to the world they had left. Little did they know that WWII would change their lives forever, and that they had embarked on what would become a miraculous and inspiring survival story.
Shanghai Ghetto is a feature length documentary depicting this story with interviews of survivors and historians, rare letters, stock footage, still photos and footage shot in modern Shanghai where most of the Jewish Ghetto remains unchanged. The film tells the little known story of the Jewish refugees, their relationships with the local Chinese and with the occupying Japanese army, the attempts of the American Jewish community to help the refugees, the rich cultural life they have constructed under great hardship, and the tragedy of their relatives who stayed behind in Europe.
The film is narrated by Academy Award Winner Martin Landau. Music is by composer Sujin Nam recorded with the famous Chinese Erhu performer Karen Han who played in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and The Last Emperor.