Survivor lectures on Shoah in China

By Hannah Pupkewitz, August 5, 2013
Joanna Millan with some of her students

Joanna Millan with some of her students

A London-based Holocaust survivor is back from her latest trip to China, where she lectures on the Shoah at the Institute for Jewish Studies in Kaifeng.

For five years, Joanna Millan has been teaching at the institute through a London Jewish Cultural Centre programme, launched in response to growing demand for Jewish historical and cultural education in China. More than 1,000 people have been taught and the scheme is being expanded in both China and Hong Kong.

‘‘There is a huge interest in Jewish people in China,” said Berlin-born Mrs Millan, 70, who was taken as a baby to Theresienstadt, being liberated by Russian forces in 1945. “Our students recognise many similarities between their culture and our own. Both are ancient traditions which emphasise the importance of family, history and education. There is no antisemitism in China. It makes one feel very welcome, especially when coming from Europe with its turbulent history.’’

She added that her students were “fascinated by the strong role women play in Jewish families. They’ve begun to ask incredibly interesting questions.’’

She added that “in the past China has had terrible experiences under the Japanese. There have been massacres and horrific crimes against humanity. As a Holocaust survivor I talk about the importance of first-hand testimonies.’’

Last updated: 10:45am, August 5 2013