“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

The Delikat – Chusan Road

Posted: November 2nd, 2009 | 5 Comments »

There’s been a bit of buzz around the blogs about the parlous state of Hongkou and the widespread destruction there of late as Shanghai ‘prepares’ for the pointless EXPO next year. I’ve noted the coming down of several former sites in the old Jewish ghetto while Adam Minter on his Shanghai Scrap blog has also noted the levelling of Hongkou and elicited plenty of responses predictably taking both sides.

One road to get hammered is the old Chusan Road (now Zhoushan Road) ,which was also part of the ghetto. The road was home to the Hongkou’s Chusan Road Market where many Jewish refugees shopped in the 1940s – to them it was known as the Die Markthalle. The road became lined with cafés and meeting places for refugees as the official Jewish Zone of Security expanded during the Japanese occupation but only those with certain passports could get out of the ghetto to the strip of European-style cafés.

The refugees transformed Chusan Road from a fairly ordinary Chinese road to something approximating a slice of Vienna with groceries, pharmacies, bakeries, plumbers, locksmiths, barbers, tailors, milliners, cobblers – and, of course, there were the inevitable Viennese coffee-houses, such as the Vienna Café Restaurant, the Delikat at 23, the Barcelona at 21 (home to the Jewish Barcelona Football Club), the International at 81 and Hesky and Gerstl’s tearooms at 252. For those a little short of money but still hungry there was a popular wurstelstand parked in the kerb selling hot dogs. Several small-scale factories were also established producing soap, candles, knitwear, leatherwear and especially European-type food products such as sausages and confectionary.

Here’s an ad for the Delikat from the late 1930s.

delikat chusan road

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5 Comments on “The Delikat – Chusan Road”

  1. 1 Marc Violo said at 10:04 am on November 3rd, 2009:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m working on the development of QQInternational (www.imqq.com), the latest program developed by Tencent(QQ) for foreigners living in China and I’d like to have a chat with you about a couple of things we could do together!

    Like your blog a lot so if I can help promoting I’d be happy to.

    Contact me directly on marcviolo@tencent.com and let’s talk!

    Cheers

    Marc

  2. 2 Joseph said at 5:21 am on January 9th, 2010:

    Hi:

    My grandfather was a German Jewish refugee in Shanghai in the 1940’s. I’m trying to research his life. I believe he lived at 8 Chusan Road. Is there anything you could tell me about that part of the road? Was it commercial or residential? In the heart of the ghetto or near the outskirts? Is the building still standing? Any information you could give would be greatly appreciated.

    Feel free to email me at josephwcohen@gmail.com

    Thanks very much,
    Joseph

  3. 3 Andy Macdonald said at 3:05 am on October 22nd, 2016:

    I have noticed an envelope cover coming up for sale addressed to and from Dr Fritz Daniel, 23 Chusan Road, Room 5, Shanghai. You may think it odd that he sent a letter to himself, but he evidently collected stamps and the cover was sent on the 1st August 1943, bearing the set of 4 stamps commemorating the “return of the foreign concessions”, issued by the Japanese authorities. He was a lawyer (Rechtanswalt it says on the letter). Evidently he had an office (or possibly flat) at the same address as the Delikat.

  4. 4 Paul French said at 6:04 pm on October 25th, 2016:

    Interesting – I’m away from the bulk of my library with the old directories but will look the good Dr up immediately next week!
    Thanks – who on earth issued the stamps? Wang Ching-wei presumably?

  5. 5 Rachel Meller said at 7:32 pm on August 27th, 2019:

    Paul – I find your far-from-obscure blog and your Old Shanghai A-Z invaluable, as I try to recreate the story of my Viennese relatives’ time in the city when they escaped Hitler. The detail and adverts included are absolutely wonderful. Thank you!


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