Little archival material remains of the Jewish community in Mukden.
At the peak there were about 250 Jewish families living and working there. Though small the community was well organized and had its own chapters of WIZO (quite active in that city), The Jewish Congress. The community ran its own Club and kindergarten (the older children were sent to Harbin to attend school).
Notwithstanding its small size representatives of the community attended the Zionist conference held in Harbin in 1937, 1938, 1939 led by Koliaditsky and M. Yanovich
An elected committee of seven members governed the affairs of the community. The committee members were elected annually. The names of Alexander Boltiansky and N. Koliaditsky were mentioned in the Jewish press of the day.
The size of the community shrank during the war years to about 100 souls.
The community ceased to exist as a legal entity in 1948 when most if not all the Jews departed Mukden.
It is unclear whether the Jewish families living in Mukden during the Japanese occupation of Mukden, but it is reasonable to assume that as, in Harbin, the leaders of the community maintained contact with the authorities and had constant dialog with them. It must be remembered that the Japanese Army or the civil authorities we not Anti-Semitic. As long as the Jews obeyed the civil law they were, on the whole left to their own devices.
Because Mukden played such a vital role in shaping the history of modern China a short description of the City's history is important for the understanding of the events that governed the life of the Jewish Community there.
Mukden was the ancestral capital of the Manchu's, who ruled China from 1644 to 1911. Mukden was the largest city in Manchuria. The Japanese occupied it in 1905 (after the Russo Japanese war), however by 1911 it was ruled by Chinese warlords and had reverted its ancient Chinese name: Shenyang.
Mukden was the center of Manchuria's roadways and rail lines. The Japanese reestablished control over the city in 1931 and built up the city industrially.
In 1938 it had a population of 772,000, mostly Chinese, with 90,600 Japanese and 17,500 Koreans. In 1945, Chiang Kai-shek's regime took possession of the city, and lost it to China's communists in 1948. By 1954, Shenyang's population was 2.2 million. Its industrial base had been damaged, and during the 1950s it was being rebuilt. In 1994 its population was 4.7 million.
Manchurian Incident or Mukden Incident, the 1931, confrontation that gave Japan the impetus to set up a puppet government in Manchuria. After the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), Japan replaced Russia as the dominant foreign power in South Manchuria. By the late 1920s the Japanese feared that unification of China under the Kuomintang party would imperil Japanese interests in Manchuria. This view was confirmed when the Manchurian general Chang Hsüeh-liang, a recent convert to the Kuomintang, refused to halt construction of railway and harbor facilities in competition with the South Manchurian Railway, referring Japan to the Nationalist central government.
When a bomb of unknown origin ripped the Japanese railway near Shenyang (then known as Mukden), the Japanese Kwantung army guarding the railway used the incident as a pretext to occupy South Manchuria (Sept., 1931). Despite Japanese cabinet opposition and a pledge before the League of Nations to withdraw to the railway zone, the army completed the occupation of Manchuria and proclaimed the puppet state of Manchukuo (Feb., 1932).
The last emperor of China was Henry P'u Yi, pronounced ''Poo yee.'' His name is also sometimes spelled P'u-i, Puyi, Pu-Yi, or Buyi.
At that time the Japanese military and the Japanese government were at odds. The government had never been happy about P'u Yi's association with the Japanese military, and it wasn't too happy about the invasion of Manchuria, either. But P'u Yi was delighted. He accepted the army's offer to smuggle him into Manchuria. One night he put on a Japanese military uniform and hid in the trunk of a car. He was taken to a river where he boarded a boat which, unknown to him, was rigged to explode if attacked by the Chinese. But he safely reached the open sea and boarded a Japanese ship which took him to Manchuria.
The Japanese set up a new country in Manchuria called Manchukuo. They made P'u Yi the Chief Executive, which angered him - he wanted to be emperor. The Chinese government called Manchukuo a fake country and P'u Yi a traitor to China. The only major countries to recognize Manchukuo's existence were Japan, Italy and Germany.
It was 1934 before the Japanese agreed to make P'u Yi the Emperor of Manchukuo. He took the reign title K'ang Teh, or ''Tranquility and Virtue.'' The Japanese provided him with a palace and money, and also made all the decisions for him. The emperor was a figurehead with very little say even over his personal life. The Japanese pressured him and his brother to marry Japanese women, which, of course, would put Japanese spies inside P'u Yi's family. P'u Yi resisted by taking a new Manchu consort named Yu-ling, or ''Jade Years.'' But his brother, P'u Chieh, gave in and married Hiro Saga, the daughter of a Japanese nobleman. They had two daughters.
Six years after her marriage to P'u Yi, Yu-ling died. P'u Yi believed that the Japanese had poisoned her. Once again he was asked to take a Japanese wife. Finally he agreed to marry a Manchurian girl from a Japanese-run school. Once more he was given photographs and told to choose a bride. He picked a 15-year old, thinking that she might be less indoctrinated by the Japanese than an older girl. Her name was Li Yuqin or Yu-Ch'in, ''Jade Lute.''
The Japanese also ordered P'u Yi to convert to Shintoism. Again he quietly rebelled. Publicly he embraced the Japanese religion, but secretly he became such a devout Buddhist that he refused to let his servants kill flies.
During World War II Japan developed Manchukuo as a military-industrial base. At the end of the war Soviet forces invaded Manchuria. Again P'u Yi fled his palace with only a suitcase of jewels and an imperial seal. He retreated to a small town with his family and entourage. When he learned of Japan's surrender he abdicated the throne of Manchukuo. Manchuria was eventually returned to Chinese control.