The Box with the Sunflower Clasp

Rachel Meller

Reading this sad memoir of a Jewish family in Vienna and a Jew in Berlin trying to stay alive and flee their homelands reminds me of the civilised nations’ apathies in the face of the genocide happening in Gaza.

The only country willing to accept them without restriction was China. The US refused to increase its quota to admit more Jews.

Vienna’s Chinese Consul General Ho Feng Shan since spring 1937 saw the harm to the Jews and granted thousands of Jews visas to Shanghai at great risk to his own safety.

Years later he said, ” On seeing the Jews doomed, it was only natural to feel deep compassion, and from a humanitarian standpoint, to be impelled to help them”.

[ p 41, 42, 56 and 291 The Box with the Sunflower Clasp A Jewish Family’s Flight to Wartime, 2024 published by Rachel Meller]

The story continues with a description of their lives in Shanghai when the Japanese invaded. It was a sad and deprived existence but at least they were spared the Final Solution.

It is a pity that due to present-days geopolitics; the humanity of the Chinese leaders then is not openly and more widely acknowledged by the Jews in America or elsewhere.

This is a fascinating book.

Lwh @ London
27 June to 7 July 2024

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