You are here

Above the Drowning Sea (documentary)

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
Maria Cardenas
Topic replies: 73
Topic Posts: 9
Above the Drowning Sea (documentary)

            “Above the Drowning Sea” is Documentary about Jewish refugees leaving Vienna. A Chinese diplomat Ho Feng Shan issued about 5,000 visas to Jewish in Austria that allowed them to leave. The Documentary gives you the point of view from the Jewish and the Chinese from Shanghai. The documentary shows images from the pasts that are shown in black and white it also has video footage from the time period.

            This documentary can be shown to students in order for them to see that regardless of who you are there are people that see humanity. It doesn’t matter if they are the same Jewish or Chinese people are willing to help. In this case it was Ho Feng Shan and he helped were other diplomats from other countries didn’t grant access to the Jewish to visas. Students can also see the events that took place during this time period in Asia instead of focusing on Europe.

            Students can make connections as to how Chinese and Jewish has history together from the Silk Road. They can connect what they know about the Silk Road from their history classes. From the documentary students can also compare and contrast the experience of the Jewish  with the Nazis and the experience of the Chinese under the Japanese rule. There are similarities.

            In this documentary students can make connections as to how discrimination happened in the 1930s and it still happens today. Sometimes students can connect to a topic when they can relate to what is being covered. They can also see how two cultures cooperated during this time period.

           I can also inform the students that I learned about Jews in China with this course becuase I didn't realiize that they had fled Europe to Asia. We can discuss about how people don't really know about minorities that are heroes during times of need.

clay dube
Topic replies: 1896
Topic Posts: 604
more on above the drowning sea

Thanks, Maria, this is a great film about a too little known story.

Above the Drowning Sea is available for rent or purchase:

The film includes the story of Otto Schnepp, a longtime USC faculty member. He passed away  He was interviewed in 2000 for USC's oral history program by Stanley Rosen. You can watch the interview at:

The USC U.S.-China Institute screened the film and talked with one of the filmmakers, one of the people featured in the film, and a specialist on the Holocaust from the USC Shoah Foundation.