The Jewish community
The Jewish community in Harbin was one of the strongest and most viable communities in the city. According to Li Shuxiao, deputy director of the Harbin Jewish Research Center with the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, between 1899, when the first Russian Jewish immigrants came to Harbin and 1985, when the last Jewish settler in Harbin passed away, altogether more than 20,000 Jewish people spent their lives at one time or another in the city.
At the entrance of the building, a huge bronze relief symbolizes the struggle of the immigrants. Standing in the main hall, the structure and layout of the three-story building is captivating. Besides pictures and sculptures, passports, graduate certificates, membership cards and documents are on display.
The collection presents a vivid description of Jewish religious, political, economic and cultural activities in Harbin in the early 20th century. Depicting living situations at the time, family settings have been recreated in several small halls, where an old piano, classic clock, artifacts and daily necessities enrich visitors' imagination of life in the city.
Besides tangible legacies, the invisible influence of the Jewish immigrants on Harbin's culture is also still evident. When Jewish communities were booming in the city, a large number of Jewish musicians gathered in Harbin. They either taught local people how to play or presented performances. This greatly aroused local people's enthusiasm for music and today, the influence on Harbin's music education can still be felt.