Historic Jewish building in Hongkou district
I was met in the Peace hotel foyer by Dvir Bar-Gal: the man responsible for this tour of the rich Jewish history of Shanghai
. When the group had all gathered he lead us up to the 8th floor of the hotel and sat us down on the plush red leather sofas. I was unsure how deep into Shanghai's Jewish history Dvir planned to go but almost immediately any fears of it being underdeveloped were assuaged. He lucidly took us through an outline of the Jewish influence in Shanghai before launching into a tirade of information about the Peace hotel itself. From the art deco features of the dining room to the historys of the three main Jewish families in Shanghai, Dvir's knowledge seemed to know no bounds. However, even infinite knowledge can be useless if inferred in a boring way. Dvir's delivery was both exciting and easy to follow with jokes and rhetorical questions keeping all members of the party engrossed throughout. We were taken around the upper reaches of the Peace hotel before being shown to the rooftop; you got the feeling that the staff were more than used to his presence. From the roof Dvir proceeded to point out all buildings of Jewish significance that we could see (and some we could not, yet with a bit of imagination and Dvir's delivery the past came flooding back).