Fieldwork Shanghai

Part two: Arriving at the Broadway


Pudong © Mareike Hetschold

Alfred Dreifuß learned on board of the ocean steamer “Comte Rosso” that brought him to his temporary exile in Shanghai, the city had a street named Broadway. The sound of this name immediately invoked cineastic sceneries of the bustling, noisy and skyscraper lined street in New York. Yet, when Dreifuß landed at the banks of the Huangpu River in 1939 and got a first glimpse of the Shanghai version (where the ocean steamer actually docked) his expectations were instantly disappointed. Unlike his imagination of the the New York version he could not locate more than one “pompous skyscraper” that sat right behind the Garden Bridge which separated the Bund from the Broadway. When loaded onto trucks, as he remembered several months later, while writing an article about his arrival, he and his fellow refugees were driven through almost empty streets to their first shelters. In Shanghai it is still the Bund that is one of the most famous and busiest places. Once the seat of colonial, financial power and imagery of the modern metropolis, today the perspectives have changed.

Tourists an the Bund in 2019 © Mareike Hetschold