University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Vienna to Shanghai to Toronto: The Journey of Jewish Refugee Susan Muller

Muller weddingMs. Susan Miller, arrived as a refugee in Shanghai in 1939 at the age of 12.Bellow she writes about the visa policy to Shanghai, which was generally considered an "open city" where no visas were needed.

"When we left Vienna in January, 1939 no visa to Shanghai  was required. Only after the  Japanese occupation in 1940 was a visa needed  I have such certificates  asking such permission for entry into the Japanese-occupied part of the  International settlement of Shanghai, north of Soochow (Suzhou) creek for my aunt and  grandmother datd April 18,1940 but unfortunately by then it was too late, Also, there was a lot of money required which we did not have.

Consequently  my family was deported to Poland Grandmother was 85 at the time) and perished there. Ex-Shanghaiers in Canada are mostly from Austria, coming here as visititors illegally at the time, because even in 1949 long after the war,we had no place to go except to Israel.  Canada had a motto: "None is too many" For  the USA one had to have relatives willing to make certain you didn't go on welfare or fit into the Quota  system at the time (note: based on country of origin according to a percentage of the 1890 US Census) . I remember Werner Michael Blumenthal (Blumenthal became Secretary of the Treasury during the administration of President Carter) from school. Without  relatives or sponsors with an avidavit you could not enter the USA."

Wedding photo of Susan and her first husband.

Going to the wedding

Wedding photos

Left: Going to the wedding. Above: Wedding at the Ohel Moishe Synagogue (The cost of renting the synagogue was $10.00, a fortune in those days.)


Please click on links to see photographs of documents.

Contact Information

Susan Mueller