MY SEARCH FOR MORE INFORMATION
But I wanted more, I needed precision, documentation. I was now completely diverted from my memoir. This unbelievable se- quence of events, like a black hole, had sucked me in. Tina K. suggested that I locate a book by her friend Astrid Freyeisen who had written the hefty, definitive, Shanghai und die Politik des Dritten Reiches (Shanghai and the Policy of the Third Reich.) After reading the rel-evant sections, I chose to rely on Freyeisen’s deeply researched and documented 544-page book as my primary source. She focused on Hitler’s policies toward the Jewish refugees in China. Twenty-seven tightly written pages of lists of sources covered the globe. She detailed and footnoted personal and telephoned interviews, books, articles.
There were similar documents from German archives. Other writers told the same or similar stories.
These include a memoir by Ernest G. Heppner, Shanghai Refuge, with details that at first I found hard to swallow, but that were confirmed by others. His book, also, was impressively documented, deeply researched and annotated.
The Search for Modern China, a most valuable well-indexed and documented his-tory by the preeminent authority Prof. Jonathan Spence, confirmed the Freyeisen details.
A Discussion Paper by Pan Guang, Professor and Vice Chairman of Shanghai Center for International Studies of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, gave an impeccable, concise account: Shanghai as a Haven for Holocaust Victims, which is essential to an understanding of the lives of the refugees from arrival to departure at the end of the war.
Later I found Shanghaied, published in 2004 by Green Bag, brilliantly written by Charles Lane of the Washington Post and consultant to Fox News.
The Fugu Plan by Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz was invaluable in its depth and appealing style.
Dr. David Kranzler’s Japanese, Nazis, and Jews was magnificent.
Shanghai Diary, a memoir by Ursula Bacon, and Farewell Shanghai, a novel by an- other survivor, Angel Wagenstein, told parts of the story.
THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE “FINAL SOLUTION:”
all Jews were to be exterminated. The Axis gave Nazis access to Jews in Shanghai. The official Gestapo policy proclaimed the “final solution.” at the Wannsee Conference of January 1932: all the Jews of the world should be exterminated. Gestapo Chief Heidrich Himmler “eliminated” most of the Jews remaining in Germany, and later much of Europe, but couldn’t get to those who had escaped from Europe. ￼￼￼￼
￼This included those like my Resek family who had fled to China. These were out of his reach until Japan’s occupation of Shanghai and the subsequent Tripartite Pact of September 27, 1940, linking Italy, Germany, and Japan.
Germany now had the access to the Shanghai Jews that it needed. Nazis poured into Japan, spies and master killers among them. The German Consulate in Shanghai was requested to prepare apartments for some 200 SS and Gestapo officers “in connection with Japanese-American relations” shortly before Pearl Harbor. Now the elimination of the Jews in Shanghai began to be planned.
The following information on the secret meeting announcing the plan to eliminate the Jewish population relies on the testimony of one person, the Japanese Vice-Consul Mitsuo Shibata; on the sudden imprisonment of exactly those Jewish leaders who heard him present the Nazi plan; and on Shibata’s being sent back to Japan in shame. Knowing the Nazi way of eliminating a problem, knowing the quality of the Jewish leaders, and after assessing the various elements, I believe it to be true.
Col. Joseph Meisinger, “Butcher of Warsaw”
Meisinger is sent to Shanghai to develop the operation.
Heinrich Himmler, Chief of the Gestapo, sent Colonel Josef Meisinger, who had been chief of Col. Joseph Meisinger the Gestapo in Warsaw, Poland, to Japan. His assignment: to eliminate the Jewish people in China. His reputation as the “Butcher of Warsaw” preceded him. I began to read abut Col. Meisinger. The foreign intelligence section of the police and spy agency RHSA was led by Reinhard Heidrich. Meisinger’s actions in Poland, where some 300,000 Polish Jews lost their lives, were so horrifying even to Gestapo Chief Himmler, that he was almost court-martialed and executed. Meisinger’s record in Poland showed him as “so utterly bestial and corrupt as to be practically inhuman” according to Nazi General Walter Schellenberg, head of the foreign intelligence section of the police and spy agency. But Meisinger had married one of Himmler’s mistresses (or secretary) ￼￼￼￼￼in 1941; he was excused and sent by Heidrich to Japan ”for a rest” but charged with exterminating the Jews.
In May 1941 Meisinger arrived in Tokyo. A few weeks later he travelled to Shanghai to find his way around, meet the Japanese officials, make initial contacts, study the habits and living arrangements of the Jewish refugees, then returned to Tokyo.
The next installment will introduce you to Baron Jasco von Putkammer and Lothar Eisentraeger (aka Ludwig Erhardt) of the Erhardt Bureau of Spies.