Growing Up Jewish
of Jewish life in China
during the first half of the twentieth century
DOLLY BEIL SPENT THE FIRST PART OF HER LIFE in the Chinese cities of Tsingtao (Qingdao), Mukden (Shenyang), Harbin, and Tientsin (Tianjin). Her father, owner of a jewellery store and a businessman, descended from the prominent family of Solomon Guterman, who owned an estate in Irkutsk, Russia. Her mother was one of three daughters of Grigory Lazarovich Gershevich, who built the first hotel in the northern city of Harbin, located on Pacific Road.
The year of Dolly’s birth – 1927 – meant that she and her family, part of the country’s small Jewish community, would live through events that would change China, and them, forever: the Japanese occupation, liberation by Americans at the end of World War II, civil war between Nationalist and Communist forces, and the flight of foreign nationals from an increasingly closed society.
Beil’s entertaining stories will draw you into an unusual blend of European and Asian life in the country of her early joys and sorrows – China, the country that she loves so much to this very day.