The Story

A 90 minute documentary

Conte Biancamano

Above the Drowning Sea tells the story of the dramatic escape of European Jews from Nazi-controlled Europe to Shanghai on the eve of World War Two.

As Hitler’s forces sought to expel the Jews from Europe, no other country would open its doors to the refugees. Their lives at stake, the refugees desperately looked for an escape from the coming Holocaust.

Then, a door opened on the east coast of far-away China, in Shanghai, an “open city” itself in chaos from foreign invasion and civil war. But getting there required a “golden” document to get out of Nazi Europe – a visa from China.

Above the Drowning Sea recounts the courageous intervention of Ho Feng Shan, the Chinese Consul in Vienna who defied his own government and braved the Gestapo to issue visas to the refugees.

Jewish refugees and the Chinese residents of Shanghai who helped them survive in China recount their experiences, terrors and deprivations as well as the remarkable friendships forged across cultures, friendships that survive to this day.

Shot in six countries over four continents, Above the Drowning Sea takes you on an inspiring emotional journey across time and across the world. Truly a story that could have been ripped from today’s headlines, the film vividly celebrates the heroism and humanity of ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

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