Nina’s family

- Jakub Wertans
Nina’ s father, Jakub Wertans, was born in Warsaw on August 17, 1890. He graduated from high school in his native city, then studied electrical engineering in Karlsruhe, Germany. Unfortunately, Jakub was never able to practice his profession as he was required to lead the family business. In 1930, Jakub married Judzif, and in 1932, their daughter Nina was born.

After World War II broke out, the family was forced to take refuge in Shanghai from 1941 to 1947. As Jakub could not find a job, he spent his time educating their daughter. Nina has fond memories of the time she spent learning under her father’s supervision and guidance.

Besides sending his daughter to the Shanghai Jewish School, Jakub paid close attention to her education at home. He taught Nina reading and writing in Polish and Russian. He devoted his time to long talks with his daughter on a wide range of subjects, including Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. They examined the Atlas and played geography games. Jakub told Nina about the places he had visited to make her feel she was part of the whole world. Nina took her studies seriously and was always at the top of her class. Jakub encouraged the joy of learning throughout the war.

After World War II ended, the family immigrated to the USA. As a student at UC Berkeley, Nina met her future husband, Nahum Admoni, an Israeli student. The couple eventually immigrated to Israel.

Nina remembers her childhood in Shanghai, “My father often mentioned to me during our stay there and afterwards that we should be very appreciative of the time spent in the city and of the warmth of the Chinese people with whom we had daily contact. They tried to assist us in every way they could during the war.” Her father spoke often about the possibility of returning to Shanghai, but never got the opportunity. Jakub died in New York in 1960.

In 1992, Nina came back to Shanghai to fulfill her father’s wish. She published her reflections on the trip in the Journal of the Association of Former Residents of China in Israel. She recounts how thrilled she was to find her former house at 266 MacGregor Road (now Lintong Road) was still there. She also recalls the hospitality of the neighbors, which left a deep impression on her.

“It was an emotional experience and the Chinese residents and I had tears in our eyes upon parting, sensing a kinship resulting from the Japanese occupation to which we all had been subjected.”