The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Refugees in Shanghai: Their Life and Their Education
Refugees in Shanghai: Their Life and Their Education

Refugees in Shanghai: Their Life and Their Education 1945

View film page

Refugees in Shanghai: Their Life and Their Education 1945


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


Refugees in Shanghai: Their Life and Their Education 1945

21 mins United Kingdom

This film contains harrowing scenes of corpses littering the streets and famous landmarks destroyed following an intense air raid of Shanghai by the Japanese in 1937. The only safe haven for local residents was to be found in the city's International Settlement, where children and adults could lead some semblance of ordinary life in refugee camps run by foreign charitable organisations.

From 1937 to 1945, the Japanese carried out indiscriminate bombing of densely populated cities, including Shanghai, by then the most prosperous city in Asia. Refugees flooded the International Settlement (set up by the British and Americans after China was forced to cede extra-territorial rights in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking), as it was safe from attack. The classes, regular meals and clean bedding provided by various international aid agencies and missionary churches were the only chance of a decent life in an otherwise chaotic country torn apart by Japanese invasion and civil war.


Documentary War


Sino-Japanese War Chinese refugees Shanghai Refugee camps


Refugee Week Shanghai - Pearl of the Orient




United Kingdom



Read lessRead more
Part of

1,000s of beautifully preserved films, capturing 120 years of Britain on Film

The map

Explore further

View A City of Chaos
A City of Chaos
Watch for free 1 mins

A City of Chaos 1927

Scenes of panic on the streets of Shanghai as Chinese citizens seek protection from Communist and Kuomintang violence behind Allied barricades.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Marines Arrive in Shanghai
Marines Arrive in Shanghai
Watch for free 1 mins

Marines Arrive in Shanghai 1927

Battalions of the Royal Marines and the Coldstream Guards parade through Shanghai as the Chinese Civil War looms.

1 mins United Kingdom

View The Bombing of Canton
The Bombing of Canton
Watch for free 9 mins

The Bombing of Canton 1938

Harrowing footage of death and destruction in the aftermath of sustained Japanese bombing of the southern Chinese city.

9 mins People's Republic of China

View Parades and air-raids in Shanghai
Parades and air-raids in Shanghai
Watch for free 16 mins

Parades and air-raids in Shanghai 1937

While the bombs fall on Shanghai its foreign expats continue to play, as this unique film shows. But it's only the lull before the storm - because the Japanese are on their way.

16 mins United Kingdom


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later