Saturday, March 14, 2009

China: Jewish cemeteries in Harbin and Hong Kong

There were two recent mentions of Jewish cemeteries in Hong Kong and Harbin.

Ed Cohen writes in his
blog about Hong Kong's Jewish cemetery.

I wish I had seen this while I was in Hong Kong. There are lots of interesting little pockets of Jewish history in Hong Kong that can easily slip past detection. Though it might not always be an immediate association, Judaism has a pretty decent history in Asia and especially Hong Kong. A few roads on the Eastern side of Hong Kong Island (around University of Hong Kong), such as Victor Sassoon Road and Michael Kadoorie Street.
See more photos at

Harbin figured in this
German blog which referred to the Heidelberg University Harbin Project.

The project was carried out by the History Department, Centre for European History and Culture (ZEGK), University of Heidelberg, led by Professor Madeleine Herren in cooperation with the School of Western Studies, Heilongjiang University, guided by Professor Dan Ben-Canaan.

During the 1920s Harbin turned into a multiethnic centre in which the Jewish community played a decisive role. The Harbin Jewish Cemetery established in 1903 was located at No.54, Dongda Zhi Street. During the 1920ies it was extended and relocated to Tai’an Street. With its 2,420 m2 it was the largest among alien residents’ cemeteries at that time in Harbin. In 1958, the Chinese authorities decided to move the Jewish Cemetery to the Huang Shan Public Cemetery located at the outskirts of Harbin´s municipal boundaries. From approximate 3000 graves of which 1200 with tombstones, 853 were selected and transferred to an area of 6,532.00 square meters in an eastern suburb about 10 km from the centre of Harbin. During the Cultural Revolution, maintenance of the cemetery ceased: Slabs subsided, tombstones inclined, cracked or damaged, and some of the slabs disappeared. The Jewish community stopped functioning on December 31, 1963, and until that date 23 graves were added to the new location, bringing a total of 876 graves to the site. Maintenance was restarted in 1991, and 450 gravestones could be identified today."


  1. There is a complete listing (in Cyrillic) of all the identifiable gravestones in the Harbin Jewish Cemetery on the website of Igud Yotzei Sin, the Association of Former Residents of China in Israel. The website, located at also has a lot of good information about the Jewish presence in many Chinese cities. The Harbin cemetery roster is here:

  2. Hi, Scott.

    Thank you for those URLs. I've written about this previously but forgot to add them in. I'm always happy when readers provide more details.


  3. For more information and photos from the Cemetery in Hong Kong see Cemetery Project. Included are mini family trees of the individuals where possible. Although the GenPals Cemetery Project was set up for recording cemeteries in the UK we couldn't resist adding these photos taken by a friend when he visited there.