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RAS Shanghai History Club 28 Oct: The Butcher and the Monk: A failed Nazi plot in occupied Shanghai

Posted: October 22nd, 2021 | No Comments »

In May 1941, Shanghai’s German Consul-General wired Berlin to arrange a Buddhist monk’s urgent transfer to Hitler’s headquarters. The priest, the message claimed, would use dark magic to summon Oriental magi, rouse rebellions and win Asia for the Third Reich. Prompting the dispatch was an absurd partnership between Josef Meisinger, Asia’s most notorious Nazi officer, and Hungarian adventurer Ignatius Trebitsch Lincoln, former British MP, alleged secret agent for Britain, Germany, the United States, Russia, China, Japan and Buddhist abbot under the alias Chao Kung. Unknown to them, Meisinger and Lincoln’s plot coincided with a fatal showdown between German, Japanese and Chinese political forces in occupied Shanghai. Beyond examining their character, circumstances and contemporaries, Shanghai-based consultant Gábor Holch’s presentation highlights persistent characteristics of expatriate existence in China: an amnesiac relationship with the past, the promise of a clean slate and grandiose plans for the country and for humankind. The speech is based on Gabor Holch’s essay in the 2020 Journal for The Royal Asiatic Society China, “Alone and Surrounded: Ignatius Trebitsch Lincoln’s final years in occupied Shanghai”.

Gabor Holch is a Shanghai-based intercultural leadership consultant, coach, author and speaker with a focus on East-West leadership and expat assignments, as well as History Club Convener of The Royal Asiatic Society (RAS) China. He holds a Masters Degree in International Relations and European Studies, an MPhil in Diplomacy and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) degree in Mandarin. A former OSCE field mission official, China-based since 2002 and working globally, Gabor has served 100+ clients in 30+ countries. He is a visiting lecturer at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a number of business programmes in the Asia-Pacific and Europe. He has authored three books and a variety of articles in academic and business publications.

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