Between 1938 and 1940, Japanese and Italian cruises carried thousands of European Jews to depart from Europe, cross the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and arrive at the free port in the East – Shanghai.
On accounts of the survivors, the voyage was a surreal luxurious experience compared to the horror they left behind and the hardships they faced ahead.
While we now have the birds-eye view of history, at the time, the Jewish passengers had no idea that Japan would join the Axis powers, gaining control of Shanghai and later forcing them into the infamous Shanghai Ghetto.
Were they worried about their new lives in a strange land, or were they just happy to have survived? What was it like to live in a bubble in the middle of the ocean, not knowing where to call home?
What we know is, it was a pivotal point of their fate that allows us to explore vulnerable human conditions outside of battlefields and concentration camps.