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

Vera Schwarz’s In the Crook of the Rock – Jewish Shanghai

Posted: November 25th, 2019 | No Comments »

A recent new book on Jewish Shanghai a kind stranger in a cafe in Hendon, North London, brought to my attention when overhearing me in a conversation about the old Hongkou….

Focusing upon the life of Chaya Walkin-one little girl from a distinguished Torah lineage in Poland-this book illustrates the inner resources of the refugee community that made possible survival with dignity. Based on a wide variety of sources and languages, this book is crafted around the voice of a child who was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland and start the terrifying journey to Vilna, Kobe, and Shanghai. The Song of Songs is used to provide an unexpected and poetic angle of vision upon strategies for creating meaning in times of historical trauma.

Vera Schwarcz was born in Romania and became an historian of China and a poet in the United States. For the past four decades she taught at Wesleyan University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her work was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fullbright Fellowship, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Lady Davis Fellowship. Schwarcz is the author of nine books about Chinese and Jewish history, including Bridge Across Broken Time: Chinese and Jewish Cultural Memory (Yale University Press, 1989) which was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award and Colors of Veracity: A Quest for Truth in China and Beyond (University of Hawai’i Press, 2014). She has also written six books of poetry, including most recently The Physics of Wrinkle Formation (Antrim House, 2015). For more information about her work, visit between2walls.com.

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