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The True Story of a Jew Who Escaped Hitler, Met Watchman Nee, and Found Jesus in Shanghai

The True Story of a Jew Who Escaped Hitler, Met Watchman Nee, and Found Jesus in Shanghai Read Transcript

Well with the end of summer fast approaching,

many vacationers are still trying

to get in their last minute trips.

One Australian woman recently took a short journey

to Shanghai, China.

But not for sightseeing.

Instead, she wanted to complete the unfulfilled

dream of her father.

Mengfei Li has the story.


MENGFEI LI: It was part of history that no one can forget.

During the reign of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler,

Jews lived under daily terror.

Their Synagogues were burned and millions were

sent to concentration camps.

Six million perished.

Some nations opened their doors to the fleeing Jews.

China was one of them.

Many Jewish families applied for visas to come to China.

All of a sudden, cities like Shanghai

became home of the Jewish refugees.

Many were relieved that China was a safe place.

A country that changed their lives.

Elizabeth Linton was born in Austria.

She and her husband recently visited Shanghai, China.

Not for sightseeing, but in memory of her deceased father,

Michael Weiss, who came to Shanghai after fleeing

the Holocaust.

Weiss was born in Vienna, Austria,

after Hitler overran the country.

As a Jew, he realized that he couldn't safely

remain in the country.

After he came to Shanghai, he was working as an engineer.

He had graduated from the University in Vienna.

He was about 25 years old, at the time.

When I hear stories about how the nations, many

of the nations, including America,

turned away Jewish people seeking refuge.

It really is heartbreaking when you think about it.

But look at what the Chinese people did.

They opened their arms to a persecuted people.

Some came without visas, some came without passports,

without proper documentation.

And soon after, he met American missionaries.

The Sterns family, Theodore and Carol Sterns.

They had four children and they introduced him to Watchmen Nee,

in the church, in Shanghai.

MENGFEI LI: Watchman Nee was a church leader

and Christian teacher who worked in China at the time.

Exposed to many Chinese Christians,

Weiss was deeply touched by their help and love for him.

He learned about the Bible from the Chinese Christians.

I think it was 15th of November, 1939,

he was baptized by Watchman Nee.

Watchmen Nee gave him the name, Johannes,

as his Christian name.

And Johannes stands for John.

Just when Weiss thought things would get better,

the Japanese military invaded Shanghai and he

was taken prisoner and sent to a concentration camp.

During the imprisonment he was threatened numerous times

with death.

However Weiss only did two things,

read the Bible and pray.

Weiss could not return to Vienna until the end of World War II.

He immediately started a new life.

And he prayed, I have many prayers that he wrote down

for his children.

That we would come to know God early in life

and embrace the faith and God with all our hearts.

MENGFEI LI: Today, as she walks around the Shanghai Jewish

Refugee Museum, she was drawn to old memories here.

ELIZABETH: It made it real, That he was here.

And especially the name of John that

was given to him as his Christian name.

MENGFEI LI: Johannes Michael Weiss passed away in 1983.

With a degree in theology study he never

stopped giving praises to Jesus.

And thankfulness for the Chinese who introduced him to the Lord.

And my father told me that the word of God kept him alive.

MENGFEI LI: Mengfei Li, "CBN News."

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