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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


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.

Elisabeth 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 that 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.

MENGFEI LI: 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 all the memories here.

ELISABETH LINTON: 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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