Stranded in Shanghai: The Hongkew Ghetto through the Eyes of Refugees and the Lens of Arthur Rothstein
From 12. 05. 2016 to 11. 09. 2016
Robert Guttmann Gallery, U Staré školy 3, Prague 1.
In April 1946, prominent American photojournalist Arthur Rothstein took twenty-two photos that captured the living conditions of Jewish refugees in the Chinese city of Shanghai. Commissioned by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), Rothstein’s photos were taken seven months after the Pacific War had ended, yet they are a unique visual testimony to the sanctuary given to around twenty thousand Central European Jews during the period of World War II and the Shoah. This is the third exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Prague to look at the phenomenon of refugees and migration. Its aim is to acquaint a wider public with the still little known history of the so-called Shanghai Ghetto by presenting it not only through the eyes of a brilliant photojournalist but also through the experiences of the protagonists of the story, Czechoslovak Jews, who along with Jews from Austria, Germany, Poland, and Hungary found a haven in Shanghai at a time when, with rare exception, the entire world was refusing to accept refugees. Rothstein’s pictures give us extraordinary insight into the historical role of the photographer in the service of international organizations and into the importance of photojournalism in zones of conflict, humanitarian crisis, and catastrophe, where the style of objective visual reporting blends with the more emotionally engaged social and humanistic photography as well as with public relations strategies.