Collaborators and Renegades in Occupied Shanghai

1930s Shanghai was notoriously populated by characters of dubious political and moral allegiances. Bernard Wasserstein shows how the Japanese used their contacts among the city’s low-life to assist in their invasion and occupation.

In July 1940, a fresh and exotic face enlivened Shanghai expatriate society. The Princess Sumaire, aged twenty-two, stepped off a boat from India and engaged a suite at the Cathay Hotel. She immediately attracted attention on account of her elegant appearance, her scandalous behaviour and her mysterious origins. Within a short time she had made a wide, multi-national circle of friends. Among them were officers of the local Italian garrison, a number of English and American society girls and a couple of professional dancers who went by the stage names ‘Don and Dolly’. Sumaire’s circle also included some more sinister figures: an abortionist, brothel-owner and sexual extortionist, Dr Albert von Miorini, a monkey expert, narcotics dealer and unqualified ‘doctor’, Hermann Erben, and a shady Franco-American journalist, aviator and pimp, Hilaire du Berrier.

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