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Jews in China: Yul Brenner, or Brunner, or Brynner



I have got Paul Simon's goat again by posting the Encyclopedia Britannica version of the life of Yul Brynner. He says¨I think the account in the Encylopaedia is a Hollywood biographic invention. My source is a VERY authoritative, 500 page, heavily footnoted history of Japan and Russia in the Far East of China, called The Tide at Sunrise by Dennis and Paggy Warner (Angus and Robertson, 1974). The authors are noted Asia scholars. Dennis Warner, a meticulous researcher, was a Neiman fellow at Harvard, and a correspondent for numerous major papers. I'll put them up against the encyclopaedia's Hollywood myth". This is very interesting. I may send it to the Britannica (which became a US publication a long time ago) to see where it got the information. Did it just reprint a Hollywood blurb?

Paul has two goats; one of them is Jewish (I don't know whether he has two cows). He writes defiantly: "I can see where I'm going to have to source everything I say, since I'm being taken to the woodshed even when right. Jews in Shanghai: I refer WAISers to the excellent chapter in Betty Peh-T'i Wei's book Old Shanghai", "Jewish influence in Harbin". Tess Johnson's books on architecture in China are a good start (Tess is a retired FSO who lives in Shanghai); I can further refer anyone interested to several Mandarin-language books. I cap all the above with a really great discussion on religion in Harbin with Dr. Zhang, director of the Harbin Academy of Social Sciences, on February 28, 2000. More on Shanghai from attending a talk on religious freedom in China given by Rabbi Schneier, head of a major religious freedom group, in September 1997". Paul: In give you back your Chinese-speaking goat. Hollywood has the other one.

Ronald Hilton - 2/10/02


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