Curtis Hort

an open door in Shanghai

Curt was 17 years old when life in Germany became too threatening to stay. Following his father’s release from a concentration camp, Curt’s parents made the decision to leave the country before it was too late.

In 1939 they were unable to obtain papers to enter the U.S., so Curt and his family fled to Shanghai. Between 1938 and 1941 thousands of refugees found temporary refuge in this Japanese occupied Chinese city.

The Jews were settled in the poorest part of the city, the impoverished Hongkou District. Despite aid provided by an international committee established by Victor Sassoon and the Hungarian, Paul Komor, living conditions were disastrous; crowded shabby apartments, meager food rations and little or no sanitation.

The Hort family, along with the other Jews of the Shanghai ghetto, were saved by the bombing of Hiroshima. They left Shanghai in 1947 for San Francisco feeling “free and grateful.”

“Many of my family were killed during the war. I have a feeling of responsibility to tell people that this should never happen again. That is why I am speaking out.”