Guide to the Rena Krasno Collection, 1922-2009

Special Collections & Archives

Oviatt Library

California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330
Phone: (818) 677-2832
Fax: (818) 677-2589
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Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: Rena Krasno Collection
Dates: 1922-2009
Identification: OCH/RKC
Creator: Krasno, Rena, 1923-2009
Physical Description: 9.04 linear feet
Language of Materials:






Repository: Old China Hands Archives
Abstract: Rena Krasno was born in Shanghai in 1923. Her parents, two stateless Russian Jews, fled Russia two years before her birth. Krasno grew up in a Jewish community in Shanghai, but fled to Israel in 1949 just before communist forces took control of Shanghai. She held a prestigious position as translator for the United Nations, and was a published author. Krasno wrote several books about World War II in Shanghai, her life in Japan, and her Jewish heritage, as well as essays regarding Jewish and Chinese history. The collection consists of documents, correspondence, presentation notes, and research papers regarding Rena's life in Shanghai, Japan, and in the United States, and documents her research, involvement with various Jewish organiations, and experiences living in wartime Shanghai.

Biographical Information:

Rena Krasno was born in Shanghai, China in 1923. Her parents, two stateless Russian Jews, fled Russia two years before her birth. Krasno grew up in a Jewish community in Shanghai and attended the French Municipal College where she earned her Brevet Superieur and Baccalaureate (Philosophy Section). She later entered the Faculty of Medicine at the Jesuit Aurora University (now called Shanghai School of Medicine #2), where she studied for two years during World War II. She left Shanghai for Israel in April of 1949, just one month before communist forces took over the city.
Due to Krasno's language skills in English, French, Russian, Hebrew, Spanish, and German, she was able to obtain a prestigious position as translator for the United Nations. She also worked as a freelance interpreter for international organizations (Unesco, ILO, FAO, the Olympic Committee at the Winter Games in Sapporo, etc.) in Europe and Asia. In Japan, Krasno was a frequent interpreter for the National Institute of Educational Research (Tokyo) and worked for Simul International and I.S.S., and also served as Honorary Chancellor of Austria in Seoul, Korea.
Krasno was also a published author. She wrote several books about wartime in Shanghai, her life in Japan, and her Jewish heritage as well as essays regarding Jewish and Chinese history. One book in particular entitled, That Last Glorious Summer, 1939: Shanghai-Japan , is based on Krasno's diary as a young teenager on a summer vacation in Japan on the eve of war. Additionally, Krasno shared her life experience and historical knowledge as a guest speaker for numerous organizations such as the Jewish Working Women's Network of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region. Krasno died in 2009.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Genre/Form of Material:

Paper records
Photographic material
Video recordings

Administrative Information

Processing Information:

Tim Kaufler, 2012
Jessica Geiser, 2013

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open for research use.

Preferred Citation:

For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

Related Materials:

Arrangement of Materials:

Series I: Personal Materials, 1928-2009
Series II: Professional Works and Presentations, 1948-2009
    Subseries A: Presentations, 1995-2007
    Subseries B: Authored Works, 1948-2009
Series III: Research Materials, 1922-2009
    Subseries A: Articles and Publications, 1927-2009
    Subseries B: General Research, 1922-2005

Scope and Contents

The Rena Krasno Collection is divided into three series: Personal Materials (1928-2009), Professional Works and Presentations (1948-2009), and Research Materials (1922-2009).
Series I, Personal Materials, includes correspondence, photographs, biographical information on Krasno, documents related to her family, including her father D.B. Rabinovich, and articles about Krasno.
Series II, Professional Works and Presentations, is divided into two subseries: Presentations (1995-2007) and Authored Works (1948-2009). The Presentations subseries consists of correspondence, articles, transcripts, advertisements, and other documents related to multiple presentations and speeches given by Krasno. The Authored Works subseries contains drafts, corrections, reviews, press, and other documents related to articles and books written by Krasno, most notably Strangers Always - A Jewish Family in Wartime Shanghai , Struggle in Shanghai: Historic Journals of Fred Marcus , and Once Upon a Time in Shanghai: A Jewish Woman's Journey Through the 20th Century China .
Series III, Research Materials, is divided into two subseries: Articles and Publications (1927-2009) and General Research (1922-2005). The Articles and Publications subseries consists of publications, including both newspaper and scholarly articles, related to Krasno's research. The General Research subseries consists of articles, correspondence, programs, narratives, and other documents collected by Krasno on Shanghai, Jewish refugees, and other Old China Hands.

Collection Contents


Series I: Personal Materials, 1928-2009

Box 1, Folder 1

Articles on Rena Krasno, 1993-2007

Box 1, Folder 2

Biographical Information

Box 1, Folder 3

Rabinovich Family Documents, 1916-1949

Box 1, Folder 4

Building Plans for Jewish Prayer House Designed by Gabriel Rabinovich, 1928

Box 1, Folder 5

Correspondence from D.B. Rabinovich regarding Japanese Officials that Helped Jews During World War II, 1968

Box 1, Folder 6

Shanghai Oral History Project, 1994

Box 1, Folder 7

Correspondence with Sheila, 1943-1946

Box 1, Folder 8

General Correspondence, 1949-1979

Box 1, Folder 9

General Correspondence, 1992-1999

Box 1, Folder 10

General Correspondence, 2003-2009

Box 1, Folder 11

Correspondence with Christopher Choa and Tess Johnston regarding Jewish Memorial in Shanghai, 2004-2005

Box 7, Folder 1

Photographs, circa 1915-circa 1945

Box 7, Folder 2

Photographs, 1930-1939

Box 7, Folder 3

Photographs, 1940-1949

Box 7, Folder 4

Photographs, 1994-1997

Box 7, Folder 5

Photographs, 2007

Box 7, Folder 6

Photographs, 2009

Box 11, Item 1

McTyeirean Yearbook, 1941

Box 11, Item 2

Krasno, Rena; Berlin Identification card, 1997

Box 11, Item 3

Krasno, Rena; KMVT interview DVD, 2005

Box 11, Item 4

Legendary Sin Cities Shanghai DVD

Box 11, Item 5

Shanghai Cloth


Series II: Professional Works and Presentations, 1948-2009


Subseries A: Presentations, 1995-2007

Box 1, Folder 12

Exile Shanghai Documentary, 1997

Box 1, Folder 13

"Flucht Nach Shanghai" Conference - Salzburg, Austria, 1995

Box 1, Folder 14

"From Kaifeng to Shanghai - Jews in China" Colloquium - Sankt Augustin, Germany, 1997

Box 1, Folder 15

Miscellaneous Presentations Given by Krasno

Box 1, Folder 16

"Paris et l'émigration russe" Colloquium - Paris, France, 2000-2001

Box 1, Folder 17

Shanghai Speaking Events, 2007


Subseries B: Authored Works, 1948-2009

Box 2, Folder 1

Honor Scroll - Shanghai Askenazi Jewish Community by Leo Hanin and Rena Krasno, 1994

Box 2, Folder 2

Miscellaneous Essays and Articles by Rena Krasno, 1948-1980

Box 2, Folder 3

Once Upon a Time in Shanghai - Manuscript

Box 2, Folder 4

Once Upon a Time in Shanghai - Supporting Documents and Photographs

Box 2, Folder 5

Stranger Always - Corrections, 1992

Box 2, Folder 6

Stranger Always - Event at St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco, 1997

Box 2, Folder 7

Stranger Always - Press and Related Events, 1992-1999

Box 2, Folder 8

Struggle in Shanghai by Audrey Friedman Marcus and Rena Krasno - Draft Copy, 2007

Box 2, Folder 9

Struggle in Shanghai - Events and Publicity Documents, 2009

Box 2, Folder 10

Struggle in Shanghai - Fred Marcus Memorial Program, 2002


Series III: Research Materials, 1922-2009


Subseries A: Articles and Publications, 1927-2009

Box 3, Folder 1

Articles on the Jewish Population of Shanghai, 1927-2007

Box 3, Folder 2

Articles on Jewish Populations Worldwide, 1976-1992

Box 3, Folder 3

Articles on Kaifeng Jews, 1984-1987

Box 3, Folder 4

Articles from Magen David, 1939

Box 3, Folder 5

Articles on Other China Hands in Shanghai

Box 3, Folder 6

Articles on Shanghai's History, 1945-circa 1980

Box 3, Folder 7

Articles on Various Individuals, 1988-2006

Box 3, Folder 8

"A Brief History of McTyeire School for Girls" by Jean F. Craig, 1982

Box 3, Folder 9

"Le Calendrier Chinois" by Rachel Casey, 2007

Box 3, Folder 10

"The Censorship of Hebrew Books" by William Popper, 1969

Box 3, Folder 11

"The Centenary Book of Dr. Louis Hugo Frank", 1993

Box 3, Folder 12

"The Centenary Book of Dr. Louis Hugo Frank", 1993

Box 3, Folder 13

"The Centenary Book of Dr. Louis Hugo Frank", 1993

Box 4, Folder 1

"The Centenary Book of Dr. Louis Hugo Frank", 1993

Box 4, Folder 2

"The Centenary Book of Dr. Louis Hugo Frank", 1993

Box 4, Folder 3

"The Chinese Jews and the Jewish Diasporas in China from the T'ang Period through the early 1900s - A Classified Bibliography" by Frank Joseph Shulman, 1993

Box 4, Folder 4

"Directory of Individuals Interested in the Jews and the Jewish Communities of East, Southeast, and South Asia" compiled by Frank Joseph Shulman, 1993

Box 4, Folder 5

Excerpts from Various Memoirs

Box 4, Folder 6

"Les Fils de Jacob chez les fiels du ciel Des Juifs sur les rives du Wampoo" by Frederic Viey, 2004

Box 4, Folder 7

"The Fourth Marines in Shanghai, China" by Fred Greguras, 2008

Box 4, Folder 8

French Articles

Box 4, Folder 9

Igud Yotzei Sin Bulletins, 1954

Box 4, Folder 10

Issues from Various Bulletins, 1994-2009

Box 4, Folder 11

"The Quest for Status: Polish-Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, 1941-1949: A Personal Memoir" by Joseph R. Fiszman

Box 4, Folder 12

"Report on the Investigation of the Circumstances of the Death in Prison of Mr. Hugo Carl Frank" by Makoto Honobe, 1989

Box 4, Folder 13

"Shanghai Jewry and the Plight of European Jewish Refugees: Another View" by Henrietta Reifler, 1992

Box 4, Folder 14

"The Story of Joseph P. Weber" by Joseph P. Weber, 1987

Box 4, Folder 15

"Tubabao Russian Refugee Camp: Philippines 1949-1951" by the Russian Historical Society in Australia, 1999

Box 4, Folder 16

"White Russian and Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, 1920-44 As Recorded in the Shanghai Municipal Police Files" by Marcia R. Ristaino, 1989

Box 4, Folder 17

"A World of Difference" by Jim and Beverly Friend, 1991

Box 4, Folder 18

"Zionism in Shanghai (1903-1949)" by Pan Guang

Box 8, Folder 1

Shanghai Jewish Newspapers - Photocopies, 1942-1946

Box 8, Folder 2

Shanghai Jewish Newspapers, 1942-1986


Subseries B: General Research, 1922-2005

Box 5, Folder 1

Abraham Morris "Two-Gun" Cohen, 1990-2003

Box 5, Folder 2

Cartoon about Shanghai

Box 5, Folder 3

Center of Jewish Studies, Shanghai - Professor Pan Guang, 1992-1993

Box 5, Folder 4

Documents Regarding Japan, 1932-2003

Box 5, Folder 5

First Hand Accounts of Leaving Shanghai

Box 5, Folder 6

First Hand Accounts of Life in Shanghai

Box 5, Folder 7

General Information on Shanghai

Box 5, Folder 8

Kadoorie Family, 1922-1998

Box 5, Folder 9

Kitchen Fund, 1942

Box 5, Folder 10

Miscellaneous Documents about Shanghai

Box 5, Folder 11

Museums and Exhibitions on Jews, 1998-2005

Box 5, Folder 12

Notes and Annotations from Books on China and China Hands: A-M

Box 5, Folder 13

Notes and Annotations from Books on China and China Hands: N-Z

Box 5, Folder 14

Radomishelsky, Boris Lvovich, 1947

Box 5, Folder 15

Shanghai Almanac, 1946-1947

Box 5, Folder 16

Shanghai Ashkenazi Collaborating Relief Association (SACRA), 1944

Box 6, Folder 1

Shanghai Ashkenazi Jewish Communal Association, 1945-1953

Box 6, Folder 2

Shanghai Volunteer Corps, 1933

Box 6, Folder 3

Sun Yat-sen's Views on the Jewish Population in China, 1947-1995

Box 6, Folder 4

World Jewish Congress, China Section, 1946-1995

Box 6, Folder 5

Yearbooks, Programs, and other Documents from Shanghai, 1936-1953

Box 6, Folder 6

Zionism in Shanghai, 1922-1947

Box 9, Folder 1

Internment registry (in Japanese)

Box 9, Folder 2

Internment registry (in Polish)

Box 9, Folder 3

Internment registry (in Polish)

Box 9, Folder 4

Internment registry (in Polish)

Box 10, Folder 1

Internment registry (in Polish)

Box 10, Folder 2

Internment registry (in Polish)

Flat File Cabinet 2, Folder 1

Shanghai Maps, 1937