Oral Histories can take on diverse forms. A memory that is a personal note/impression of events in a place can either be a happy (or otherwise) recollection, an anecdote or a song associated with a place and at times folklores and even urban legends. Oral Histories substantiate traditional history and add drama to an otherwise bland representation (not always!) of facts, events, milestones, etc

In the context of Sikhs in Shanghai, there are few anecdotes and some Oral Histories that make for an interesting version of unreported facts. In the 1980 Susanne Goldfarb (1933-1987)  recording on Holocaust survivors by  WisconsinHistory.org,  her Oral Transcript offers a glimpse of an interracial wedding held in the Sikh gurdwara in Old Shanghai. Susanne was six years old when she moved to Shanghai with her family in 1939 from Austria.The family took refuge in Shanghai fleeing from the Nazis.

On being asked on the topic of intermarriages of Jews in Old Shanghai , Susanne spoke of a marriage between an Indian man and a Jewish girl (from a Orthodox Jewish family)  in the Sikh gurdwara (presumably the Dong Bao Xing Lu gurdwara as that was the most prominent one) where the parents (Bengshens) of the girl sat in shiveh (seven-day mourning). Sitting in shiveh was a clear expression of the family’s disappointment in her choice of a Non-jewish suitor. The newly married couple later settled in Hong Kong.

Source:Wisconsin History.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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