Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China











18 December 2022

The East India Company of Merchants was made up of the Babylonian and Iranian class parading as jewish, having secured the control over governments that had big Naval power. In this report we shall look at two families of particular interest, the Sassone/Sassoon and the Kadoorie. In 1831 it is said that David Sassoon entered Bombay as a refugee, alone and without any form of connection to a foreign land and yet would become the wealthiest family in India. Such insistence that the audience accept a fantasy has been a signature throughout the histories written of themselves, by the priesthood of Babylon, it adds to the mysticism of an exalted race.

The idea that such patrons of the craft excel at a rags to riches fairytale has to be seen as the cover for a network installed and ready to become public knowledge, here is the front for that network, in this case the Sassoon family to which all eyes will be guided allowing the network itself to remain in the shadows. For the hapless reader there is only one emotion invoked, God must be involved in such a miracle. A kudos not born of reason becomes the mystical tale of what are no more than priests of mammon. The world is hoodwinked history becomes embellished.

Within the livestreams I present each Sunday at 9pm we have covered the archeological evidence based sojourn into all things Egypt and ancient Israel, Assyrian’s, Iranian’s (Holy See), Babylonians, Druids, Scythian’s, Greeks, Romans, Britons, Prussian’s, the technology applied and how the priesthood itself has full control over the existing religions, as we seek to understand what the 7 Laws of Noah, or the Noahide system is really all about.

We understand that the Noahide has been installed via Freemasonry, the 21st Degree being the Prussian Knight, Noahide Judge along with all other secret societies operational in your nation. The system itself claims supreme morality in all things spiritual and temporal and claims right to enslave all non Babylonian blood under the Noahide regime, with the priesthood standing above the system and also the judge of everything beneath. On that basis alone it is imperative we shine a light upon the families and organisations claiming the supreme throne of man so we may see if their claim matches their actions.

The following is the transcript (edited by myself) of an interview with Jonathan Kaufman on the public life of two Baghdad families that made good in India, China and the British Isles.

My book came out about a year ago and so I feel a little bit like i’ve been living under a yiddish curse which is me. Your book come out during a pandemic when all the bookstores are closed so it’s nice to have events like this where I can really talk to people about the book directly and share with you some of the incredible history here you know people often ask me how did you get interested in this topic because the whole idea of jews in China is not something that kind of springs to mind as a possible topic and it all really started back in the late 1970s when I was right out of college and I was a young foreign correspondent in China and I was in Shanghai and as I say it was the late 1970s and this was back when China was still Red China.

Now chairman Mao had died.

Just a few years before there were far more bicycles than cars on the street everybody was wearing those blue mouse suits that we remember kind of looking identical as they as they walked around and did their work and I was in Shanghai walking along the bun that famous waterfront area with the big art deco buildings and I had to use the bathroom and so I stepped into a hotel and it was like walking into a 1930s movie set there were marble floors beautiful chandeliers on the leaked crystal wall fixtures. 

A bellhop dressed all in white came up to me and when I asked him in english where the bathroom was he responded to me in French and so I left there thinking this is an odd thing what’s this kind of slice of the 1930s glamour doing in the middle of communist China, and someone told me that this hotel had actually been built by a wealthy jewish playboy a man named Victor Sassoon who had once been one of the richest men in the world and had built this hotel and his family had built synagogues and the way reporters work is we often are kind of filing away these stories while we’re rushing off to cover something else and I tucked that one in the back of my mind a few years later I was back in Shanghai and at that point we were all assigned minders, basically government officials who went along with us to make sure we didn’t ask any embarrassing questions and kind of you know tried to make sure that we only covered things they wanted us to cover and this fellow said to me he wanted to show me the children’s palace and the children’s palace he explained was a place where Chinese parents would bring their children for violin lessons on the weekend dance lessons that kind of thing so I thought sure you know that could be a nice little feature story and so I followed him and once again there was this incredibly incongruous scene…

This children’s palace looked like an English manor house in the middle of Shanghai surrounded by manicured lawns it looked like something out of Downton Abbey not china and I went inside and sure enough they were Chinese kids taking their music lessons taking their dance lessons but the inside of the house was magnificent the ballroom was the size of a football field there were sweeping staircases going up to the second floor this had clearly been a grand house that that someone lived in at one point and as I left I noticed a small plaque right on the entry to the house which said this had once been the home of the Kadoorie family well I knew the kadoorie family because they were the richest jewish family in Hong Kong where I was living at the time they were very prominent very influential very powerful and but I hadn’t known that they had actually gotten their start in Shanghai living in this magnificent mansion. 

A few years after that I got posted to Beijing as the Wall Street journal’s Beijing bureau chief and my wife and I went over we had three little kids at the time and they loved going to Shanghai, Shanghai for them was exotic it was exciting and they loved exploring the city and so one weekend we went out to explore kind of a poorer part of the city and as we walked down these alleyways past these tenements I noticed that on the doorpost of many of these tenements there were the shadows of Mezuzahs not the businesses themselves but the shadows of where they once had been and once again I tried to make sense of this what were these Mezuzahs doing in the middle of Shanghai?

I found out they were the Mezuzahs that had been put there by some of the 18000 jewish refugees who had been saved in Shanghai from the Nazis had found refuge there so all these kind of moments collected in my brain and I decided at one point to find out what was going on what was the story here and the story took me to Baghdad now you know we know the story most of us come from the story of jews in Europe that’s you know coming living in jews who were born into ghettos very poor often discriminated against and who gradually worked their way up through the 19th and 20th century to positions of prominence and wealth and academics and throughout society but these jews in Baghdad were different these are jews actually that we read about in the Bible in the Bible where we read about by the rivers of Babylon where we wept when we remembered Zion Babylon was Baghdad and the jews of Baghdad had been kidnapped by Nebuchadnezzar (Chaldean king) after the destruction of the temple and taken as captives to Baghdad and it was there that they began to live their life.

In fact the jews in Baghdad did extraordinarily well they were very gifted in business and in commerce and as a result they became a really elite class in Baghdad and had so much financial and other success that when they had the chance to return to Jerusalem most of them decided not to go they enjoyed the life that they had in Baghdad they became so wealthy and influential that one family was named the head of the jewish community called the Prince of the Captivity and this person was brought to meet on a regular basis with the rulers of Baghdad typically they were Turks – Ottomans through the years and whenever this head of the jewish community was brought to meet with the Pasha he was carried on a sedan chair through the streets and everyone jew or gentile alike would bow their head in reverence as he passed because he was seen as this eminent person from this eminent family, that family was the Sassoon family.

The Sassoon’s were the most successful traders in Baghdad they had trading networks all throughout the Middle East and the near east and they consulted regularly with the Baghdad government advising them almost like the secretary of the treasury.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

Now as often happens in jewish history at a certain point in the early 1800s things began to turn against the jews the rulers of Baghdad, the Turks, who ruled Baghdad began to kidnap wealthy jews and hold them for ransom and this is how David Sassoon who was 37 years old at the time was preparing to take over this family dynasty instead found himself in prison, his father rushed down to ransom him out but he knew that things were not going to go well for the jews and so he wanted to get his family to safety, and so from the jail he gathered up his son took him down to the waterfront put him on a small boat and set him sailing away from Baghdad into safety but before he sailed away David Sassoon’s father took a cloak that he had sewn in pearls and precious gems and draped that over his son’s shoulders so he would have something to start with when he started his new life.

So when I look at the origins of this story, we all know the story of fiddler on the roof and that’s a story that you know tells the story of many of our parents grandparents great-great-grandparents but i think the story of the Sassoon’s is in many ways almost Shakespearean, it’s the story of an almost royal family of incredible power and influence that lost everything and then spent the next century or two trying to get it all back, so David Sassoon leaves Baghdad leaves his family his wife his children and he washes up in India and he arrives in India just at the time when the British or the British colonialists are arriving in India and are about to make India a colony. David Sassoon looks around and he decides that Britain is the future and that he wants to become part of the British empire even though he himself never learns English he decides that he will embrace Britain however he can he’s very successful as a businessman from the very start even though he’s on his own he has all the Sassoon networks he has these gems that have been sewn into his into his cloak and he’s able to get his family out of Baghdad to safety in India and he begins to trade and within a few years has become a millionaire and is considered one of the leading businessmen in India but he also decides that all his children are going to be British.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

He enrols them in British schools he teaches them brings in tutors to teach them English and when queen Victoria ascends the throne he insists that they all stand out on the waterfront of Bombay in their Arabic robes and sing god save the queen to show that they’re going to be loyal to Great Britain, this pays off very well for David Sassoon he becomes very successful and he also realises that there’s a great deal of money to be made in China and in opium now. China at this point was still a closed country, it didn’t want anyone coming in who did not have permission most of its cities were closed to foreigners and the main reason for that was that the British firms were dealing in opium and smuggling opium into China. 

Opium was incredibly profitable as a very profitable business for these British firms but the Chinese were very afraid of it at about this time about 12% of china’s population was addicted to opium, as a comparison these days about two percent of Americans struggle with opioid addiction and we know the kind of pain and suffering that that opioid addiction has caused in the United States and elsewhere well imagine if it was six times as bad this was the situation that China was facing and so they really wanted to keep opium out of their country. 

The British companies saw enormous profits could be made and so they lobbied the British government to essentially go to war with China over opium, these were the opium wars of the late 1830s and early 1840s when British gunboats sailed up into China defeated the Chinese empire and demanded that China open up its cities for trade, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou all the great cities of China, so the British could trade opium and eventually other products. 

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China
Crest David Sassoon

David Sassoon looked at this and he realised there was an incredible business opportunity to be made,  he had eight sons and he essentially deployed his eight sons across China to establish a beach head for the family business and the Sassoon’s became very successful in trading opium in large part because they were technologically very innovative. 

I sometimes think of China at this time like the silicon valley of its time where young men could go and make a fortune very quickly, the Sassoon’s decided to invest in steamships and what that meant was that they could take the opium which was grown in India and get it to China faster than their British rivals who were using sailing ships. They were the first family to invest in the telegraph and that allowed all the sons of David Sassoon to communicate with each other and to communicate with their father back in Bombay and discuss what the price of opium was doing should they bring the ships now should they wait until the price rose and because of these innovations in this kind of entrepreneurial thinking within about 10 or 15 years the Sassoon students were able to dominate the opium trade and to drive all their British rivals out of business.

When I was working on the book I was able to see the business records of many of the British companies who were dealing with the Sassoon’s Jardine Matheson and others and they were just kind of stunned by the how swiftly the Sassoon’s were able to take over the opium trades, they kept on referring to these dirty jews you know where were they coming from these hook nose traders but the fact was by 1860 1870 the Sassoon’s essentially controlled the opium trade to China. 

The communists in 1949 were able to conquer China, they seized the Sassoon business records in Shanghai and I was able to see them, the Chinese concluded that the Sassoon’s probably made about a billion dollars, b for billion in profits from the opium trade and that money then was kind of used to buy other property build hotels build factories and so forth, you know I think the whole question of opium is a difficult one because certainly as jews many of us feel that the idea of jewish values is something that’s going to influence all your life and your business decisions as well and we like to think of jewish businessmen as being perhaps more moral than others and so I asked the Sassoon descendants today about the opium trade and about their feelings about it and they pointed out quite rightly, opium was legal, it had been made legal after the opium war it was legal in Britain it was legal in India in fact the British government taxed opium to help pay for the colonial government in India.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

One way the Sassoon’s became so influential is that they would entice members of the British aristocracy including the Prince of Wales to invest in opium as a way for them to make a quick profit as well and so what the Sassoon’s would say to me is that you know opiate it was like cigarettes or like alcohol you know these were this was a vice and you know the Chinese wanted it and so the Sassoon’s saw it as a business decision and while that’s true I don’t think it tells the whole story, the Sassoon’s knew how dangerous opium was they themselves never used opium and in fact while they were growing their opium trade there were numerous efforts in London United States and elsewhere to stop the opium, trade doctors would mobilise to speak out against it.

There would be campaigns to try to make the opium trade illegal and when I went through the Sassoon business papers they often are having to fire Chinese workers who would become you know helpless because they were addicted to opium so the Sassoon’s sort of knew what they were doing and I think at some level sadly they sort of had a British or an imperial or a colonialist mindset which is that the suffering this was causing the Chinese didn’t matter as much to them as the profits did you know there’s a famous quote I think it’s from Balzac who said you know behind every great fortune there’s a great crime and I think in the case of the Sassoon’s that crime was opium.

So as I mentioned David Sassoon had eight sons and he sent them across China but he also soon realised that if they were going to succeed as a global dynasty as a global business they had to get a foothold in London, so he began to send his sons to London where they were buying British manor houses they enrolled their children in Eaton they began to have these lavish parties where they would woo members of the British aristocracy and others and in fact the Sassoon’s became very close to the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria’s son who had a gambling habit which this assumes kind of gave him money so he could gamble it away they would go on rescuers with him to various spas around Europe and they became quite influential both in the government and among the royal family and Buckingham palace in fact when the Prince of Wales became King Edward VII. In the early 1900s Winston Churchill who knew the Sassoon’s from all these parties wrote to a friend and said I wonder if the king is going to bring his jews with him to Buckingham palace.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China
Abdullah/Albert Sassoon in 1872 was knighted by QV

I mean this was a sign of both how influential the Sassoon’s were but also the kind of anti-semitism that they ran into where the British wanted to do business with them they wanted to eat their food and enjoy their hospitality but there still was a kind of social anti-semitism, in fact when I would read many of the diaries of these British aristocrats they would describe going to these incredible parties the Sassoon’s held but then saying I would never let them into my house I would never want to associate with these with these jews. By the late 19th century or by around 1900 the Sassoon’s were incredibly influential in England but they were losing people they were losing sort of the talent that needed to run the company.

In India most of the sons had moved to England at this point and one of the remaining ones in Bombay died unexpectedly and at this point I want to talk a little bit about the women in the Sassoon family and also in the Kadoorie family because I think the story of women in history but especially in history from the 19th and 20th century is often forgotten and it’s really fascinating looking at how women fared in these families so when one of the Sassoon sons died in Bombay the family was thrown into crisis they didn’t quite know who was going to run things because all the other sons were in London living the life and hanging out with the king and spending money but not earning it so at this point Flora Sassoon who was the wife of the Sassoon brother who died basically said she offered to run the family business in Bombay for a few years until her son who was a teenager came of age and could kind of resume the male line of succession, and her brothers-in-law in London thought that was fine because they thought well you know she’s a woman and she’ll be a caretaker we’ll be able to control her and then you know things will go back to the way they should be when her son takes over.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China
Flora Sassoon took command of business in Bombay

As it turned out Flora has soon was a brilliant businesswoman she was very well educated she spoke several languages was extremely well read and it turned out also had an incredible gift for business now this was at a time when women not only didn’t have the vote they literally couldn’t be seen in public, in India they live behind what was called purda and so Flora Sassoon began running this global empire from her living room but gradually she began to step out more and it was considered somewhat scandalous but she began going to the Sassoon offices visiting the Sassoon factories you know putting a public face of a woman in charge of this big company and in fact in a time kind of much like what we’ve been going through ourselves a Bubonic plague came to Bombay and the Sassoon workers were so terrified about getting sick that they refused to go to work and this really threatened the stability of the family business and so Flora reached out and paid for several European scientists to come to Bombay to find a vaccine for the bubonic plague and they succeeded.

Then Flora insisted that she be given the vaccine first and even more dramatically that she that a photograph be taken of her with her sleeve rolled up getting the shot so her workers would see that this vaccine was safe and that they should take it so again the idea of a wealthy British woman rolling up her sleeve you know in public and having a photograph taken as she got a vaccine was shocking to many people in India but it worked her workers trusted the vaccine they began coming back to work and the Sassoon fortune in many ways was saved by what flora did but all her actions began to make her brothers-in-law very nervous they realised that this was not a woman who was easily controlled she wouldn’t just be a marionette who would do what they wanted her to do and so they essentially staged a boardroom coup that kicked her out of the company and they took complete control again flora Sassoon ended up sailing to England she settled there she became a very well-known philanthropist and a jewish scholar but she never set foot in the Sassoon businesses again as a friend of mine said she hit the bamboo ceiling you know the point at which you know women could not rise.

For a century, as the Sassoon family’s fortunes rose, so did the city’s:

Kadoorie family :

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

Another woman who’s fascinating around this time is Laura Kadoorie (nee – Mocatta) (married to Elly Kadoorie) now the Kadoories are the other family that i write about in my book and they were from Baghdad as well and they had originally worked for the Sassoon’s as the Sassoon’s expanded their empire in China they needed people they could trust to work with and so the Sassoon sent word back to Baghdad that if teenage of families wanted to send their teenage boys to India the Sassoon’s would train them give them an education give them an apprenticeship and accounting or other business skills send them to China give them a job but not only that they were building jewish hospitals jewish synagogues so that these jewish employees from Baghdad would be able to if they got sick they’d get medical care they’d get an education and they built jewish cemeteries so in case they died they would have a jewish burial.

Laura Kadoorie descended from Portuguese Jews. The Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue in Oporto is named in her and Elly’s honour. She died in 1919, in “dramatic conditions”. Elly died in 1944. Both Elly’s and Laura’s graves are located in the Song Qinglin Memorial Park near Hongqiao Road, Shanghai].

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

Many families in Baghdad saw this as a way to kind of bring money home to their families who had fallen on hard times in Baghdad and so the Kadoorie family had been upper middle class their father had died and they were they had fallen on hard times and so Laura Kadoorie decided to send several of her sons to Bombay to work for the Sassoon’s.

Elly Kadoorie was 18 years old when he arrived in China he was 15 years old when he left Baghdad so just imagine what it must have been like for a 15 year old boy to leave Baghdad leave everything he knew go to work and be trained in Bombay and then at 18 found himself in a small town in China Elly Kadoorie didn’t speak Chinese he had never been to China before and yet he suddenly realised there was enormous potential to make money in China it was this kind of gold rush that was going on and so he quit the Sassoon’s and began working on his own making his way down to Hong Kong and investing and by the time he was 30 he had become a millionaire and like many you know young men decided it was time to find a wife so he sailed to London and in London he met Laura Kadoorie Laura Mocatta was her name she was from a very prominent jewish family a wealthy jewish family and the two of them fell in love and they got married.

Now typically at that time what would have happened was that she would have gotten pregnant Ellie would have returned to China to make his fortune and develop his business and he would have come home maybe a couple of times a year to visit to visit his children but Laura was a very different kind of woman she had traveled she was in fact older than Ellie and her family was worried that she was going to become a spinster but she was very spirited and after she married Ellie she announced that she was going to go back to China with him and so the two of them sailed back to Hong Kong she quickly gave birth to two boys and then even more remarkably she announced that she was going to travel around China with her husband while he did his business deals and luckily for me she actually kept a diary she kept a diary for about 15 years that kind of tracked all the things that she saw the poverty she saw the civil war that was tearing China apart the ways in which Chinese people were suffering and in many ways I think she became the conscience of the Kadoorie family.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

While her husband was off doing all these business deals Laura concluded that one of the reasons China was suffering so much why there was so much poverty and so much pain among the Chinese was that girls didn’t have a chance to get an education she thought girls education was incredibly important and so she began to persuade her husband to fund the creation of girls schools for Chinese girls in China now this was all around 1900 and this was unheard of no one not even the Chinese were building schools for Chinese girls, she also became involved in building schools for girls in Baghdad because she believed that it was important to raise the stature of women in the middle east as well and so these schools began to pop up and Laura Kadoorie became very involved in charity that was designed to give charity to Chinese who were suffering which again was something that none of the other British wives or families were doing.

The Kadoorie’s eventually settled in shanghai in a beautiful mansion there and one day a fire broke out and Laura Kadoorie ran out but she was convinced that the governess the Chinese servant she had hired to take care of her two boys was still trapped inside in the flames so Laura Kadoorie ran back into the fire looking for her Chinese servant as it turned out the governors had gone out by a different door Laura got disoriented she was overcome by the smoke and she died in the fire.

This was obviously a tremendous blow to the Kadoorie family but it was also something that the Chinese talked about and to this day still talk about this idea that a wealthy British woman would run into a burning building to save a Chinese servant was something that was almost unbelievable to them especially at a time when China was being occupied by so many colonial powers and I think it shows not only her commitment to sort of the real China but also had an incredible impact on the family and on her sons and on the kind of decisions that they would make in the years to come now the Sassoon’s at this point were very prominent in England they were powerful in China they were spreading across the world and it’s at this point I want to introduce Victor Sassoon if there’s ever a movie that’s going to be made about this book Victor Sassoon is going to be the star.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

Victor Sassoon was born in Europe went to Cambridge and was a charming rogue he was considered one of the most eligible bachelors and playboys in London when he was growing up when he was at Cambridge university he had one of the best wine cellars in Europe he was always seen with a chorus girl on each arm he loved going to the races and everyone thought that Victor Sassoon would be one of the Sassoon’s who would spend a lot of money but would never really show much interest in business but during world war one he was a fighter pilot and his plane crashed and he became crippled he lost the use of his legs and he fell into a depression and basically concluded that he would not be able to have the kind of grand social life he had envisioned that he had so looked forward to because of his disability so he decided to go to India and China to see if there was anything in the family business that he might be able to do and as it turned out he had a brilliant knack for business he very quickly decided to move all the Sassoon money out of India and to move it to Shanghai and he almost single-handedly turned Shanghai into one of the most glamorous cities in the world.

He built the cafe hotel the hotel that I went into all those years later to use the restroom along with many of the other buildings that really define the Shanghai waterfront today he revolutionised Shanghai and really made it a spot on the grand tour of Europe you know these days we’re all sort of planning our post-pandemic trips if this were back in the 1930s we’d all be planning to go to Shanghai because it was exotic it was it was surprising it was a little bit naughty and people from all around the world began to go there, Charlie Chaplin would sail to Shanghai to stay at Victor Sassoon’s hotel Noel Coward wrote private lies in a suite at the cafe hotel, Wallace Simpson who would a few years later make the king of England leave his throne was photographed in Shanghai nude except for except for a life jacket which gives you a sense of what Shanghai was like it was as I say it was exotic it was also dangerous but also had this sense of the mysterious orient about it and Victor Sassoon knew how to have a good time.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

He would have these extravagant parties in his hotel where he would dress up as a ringmaster and all the people had to dress up as circus acts he would dress up as a school master and everyone else would dress up as a pupil it was really just a remarkably heady time at one point when I was in Shanghai I went up to see the penthouse suite that Victor Sassoon built for himself kind of was the top of the hotel overlooking Shanghai so he could look at his empire and I was walking around and I went into the bathroom there to see what it was like and the fellow Chinese fellow next to me looked a little embarrassed because there were two bathtubs in Victor Sassoon’s private bathroom and I said to him why are there two bathtubs here and he kind of blushed and he said well he said Victor Sassoon always said he didn’t mind sharing his bed but he didn’t like sharing his bath so that gives you a sense of what of what life was like for Victor Sassoon in Shanghai, but by the late 1930s different people start coming in on these ships that are docking in Shanghai not just Charlie Chaplin and Noel Coward and other celebrities and wealthy people but jewish refugees these are refugees who are fleeing the Nazis by 1938-39 the Nazis have taken over Germany they’ve moved into Austria and jews are desperate to get out of Europe and especially in Vienna and Berlin there were middle class jews who wanted to just go anywhere that would take them in but as we know every country in the world essentially closed their doors and would not accept any more jewish refugees except Shanghai.

Shanghai was occupied by the British by the Americans by the Japanese at that point by the French and by others it essentially didn’t have a functioning government and what that meant was that if you made it to Shanghai you would be safe so as word of this spread especially in Vienna and Berlin middle class jews doctors lawyers merchants musicians professors began to sell their belongings for whatever they could to book passage on these cruise ships that would take them to Shanghai and ultimately 18000 of them made their way to Shanghai and again just to imagine what that was like here are these jews who at one moment are living in Vienna they’re living in Berlin they’re dressed up in their you know German clothes and they suddenly arrive in Shanghai on these ships where no one speaks English or German they don’t speak Chinese there’s incredible poverty that people are literally dying in the streets as these jews came in it was a terrifying prospect for them but a real dilemma for Victor Sassoon and the Kadoorie family what were they going to do with these jewish refugees and much to their credit both families stepped up and they began to turn.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

Victor Sassoon turned several of his buildings into dormitories for these refugees he hired many of them the Kadoorie set up a school for the refugee children which included as it turned out people like Michael Blumenthal who became U.S secretary of the treasury Lawrence Tribe the Harvard professor Peter Max who many of us remember from the 1960s with his posters these were all children of the refugees who ended up going to the Kadoorie school that gave them some stability and some education during the war but Victor Sassoon not only was trying to help these refugees financially he also began negotiating with the Japanese trying to persuade them as they encircled Shanghai not to shut the gates the Japanese were allies of the Germans they had invaded China they had conquered parts of it and they had encircled Shanghai but didn’t want to conquer it because they were afraid that would prompt the U.S and Britain to go to war against them this was before pearl harbour and so the Japanese appointed a colonel an anti-semitic colonel who was in charge of the jewish question in Shanghai and Victor Sassoon met with him and he was a charming man and so Victor Sassoon said to this anti-semitic Japanese colonel you’re welcome just you know stay at my hotel come to my nightclub your officers are welcome at the same time he was having his waiters and bartenders spy on the Japanese officers and report back on what they were saying he himself flew to south America tried to buy land where the jews might be able to find some safety but his main goal was to keep Shanghai open so these thousands of jews who were arriving every month would still be able to find refuge and he pulled it off and in fact he pulled it off so successfully that even when the Germans sent members of the Gestapo to Shanghai to meet with the Japanese and they said to the Japanese look you’ve got these jewish refugees you have a jewish problem here’s what you should do you should gather all the jews up put them on barges and sink the barges in the middle of the river and that will take care of your jewish problem and the you know the Japanese were appalled by this but they also have been persuaded in part by Victor Sassoon that it was a good idea to sort of you know keep these jews maybe as hostages maybe they would have influence and being able to keep you know other countries out of the war.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

It was almost like a con game that Victor says soon was pulling on the Japanese eventually the Japanese caught on and Victor Sassoon had to flee Shanghai the Kadoories were not so lucky they stayed in Hong Kong and Shanghai too long and after pearl harbour they were arrested by the Japanese put in prison camps and Elly Kadoorie the patriarch of the family died while he was in well while he was under Japanese internment.

After the war Viktor says soon returned to Shanghai he thought the parties would resume he thought life would return to normal but of course it didn’t within a few years the communists had surrounded Shanghai they conquered shanghai Viktor says soon fled he got a round-trip ticket from Shanghai but he never returned he lived the rest of his life in a kind of exile in the Bahamas and became quite bitter about Shanghai he once said I didn’t leave China, China left me almost like a spurned lover the Kadoories by contrast decided to go to Hong Kong and Hong Kong was a British colony and there the Kadoories decided to try to rebuild their fortune the Sassoon’s lost almost everything in Shanghai because most of their money was in property and so forth the Kadoorie’s had moved some of their money to Hong Kong and they were able to be really the driving force behind Hong Kong’s resurgence in the 50s 60s and 70s as it became a tremendously successful colony of Britain.

Today the Kadoorie’s are still in Hong Kong even under Chinese rule they are the richest western family in China they’re worth about 13 billion dollars and I think like a lot of westerners now they’re wondering what will happen to Hong Kong what will happen to China as history kind of swerves.

Babylon Priesthood and its Influence in India and China

I have questions that i’ve been getting from you guys it was I have to say I have actually visited I don’t know if you have visited India i’ve been to India i’ve been to Bombay i’ve been to Hong Kong i’ve not been to Shanghai we’ve done programs about the Sassoon’s and Kadoorie’s but this is the clearest articulation of the history of the families I have ever heard and really puts everything into perspective.

Here are some questions that are coming in; why do you think the Sassoon family and the Kadoorie’s but particularly assessments were so successful what was unique about them that you found that you know i think in a way the fact that they were outsiders as jews really contributed to their success a lot of the British there was a lot of anti-semitism in Shanghai and in Hong Kong it was social anti-semitism the jews they couldn’t join clubs and so forth and because they weren’t part of that kind of network that old boy network that was so important in Britain they had to be more entrepreneurial whether it was in selling opium or other investments they worked frankly with the Chinese more than the British did they worked with other immigrants and so I think it’s often the story of jewish history which is that what starts out as kind of a something that’s hard in other words you’re not allowed into certain clubs you’re not allowed into certain businesses becomes an asset because you’re looking and finding other ways to other ways to advance and so i think that entrepreneurial drive that desire to succeed was very strong in both families.

People have asked questions about your research and where you went for your research and who you spoke to, you know what kind of challenges did you have in doing the research and did you talk to contemporary Kadoorie’s for example?

Yeah I did both families were extremely helpful and willing to talk the Sassoon’s are fairly well known in Britain the book just came out in Britain and the Sassoon’s are a little bit like the rockefellers and that people know about them the Kadoorie’s were more private but they had an incredible archive it’s sort of like you know we all try to organise our pictures and our memoirs but when you have 13 billion dollars you can really do it the right way they had an archive with a professional archivist which they opened up to me but the families because they were such global families the papers and the family members themselves were scattered kind of all around the world I mean it’s interesting as I mentioned Victor Sassoon the playboy settled in the Bahamas and he ended up marrying his nurse he never married in China but when he was 65 he married his nurse in the Bahamas.

She was from Dallas Texas so when Victor Sassoon died and when she died his papers ended up going to southern Methodist university in Dallas and so I went down there to look through them and I was going through his kind of business diary which was a list of every day he made a list of all the businesses he was businessmen he was meeting with and so forth and when I was going through these kind of yellowed pages suddenly these pictures of naked women started dropping out and I was a little embarrassed thinking the librarian was going to come over and like you know kick me out or something and I realised that one of the ways in which Victor Sassoon met women in Shanghai was he was an amateur photographer and he had a studio and so he would go down to these ships that were you know bringing all these celebrities and wealthy women to China and he would offer to take their photograph and he would bring them back to his studio and then seduce them and so here were these pictures of all these kind of naked women and what was interesting was a number of them were women from India and women from China in a bizarre way it gave me an insight not only to what it was like to be Victor Sassoon and a rich playboy but the fact that he was breaking some of the social barriers inviting Chinese women and others into his hotel and having affairs.

Some of the research like that could be pretty interesting and unexpected ways how well are the kaduri’s and the Sassoon’s remembered in china right now are they names that are spoken about talked about in many circles are they forgotten names no they’re very well known?

Actually and in fact it’s interesting I think that you know the book is coming out and is going to be translated and will be coming out in China which surprised me given the state of U.S – China relations I wasn’t sure that would happen but I think that’s a sign that that this history is fascinating to the Chinese as well i’ve been going back and forth to Shanghai for you know for decades now and one of the things that’s interesting is that now there are Chinese tourists who go to the cafe hotel it’s now called the peace hotel they want to know this story especially in Shanghai because it explains why Shanghai feels so different you know anyone who’s been to China read about it Shanghai and Hong Kong feel very different and that’s because of the legacy of these very cosmopolitan families and I think the Chinese want to know about that the kadoorie’s also I think and in general when you go to China it’s one of the few places in the world these days where if you say you’re jewish it doesn’t prompt a series of awkward conversations.

The jews are really well thought of in China the Chinese are fascinated by the jews they think we’re good at business but they also i think feel that there’s a connection between the kind of reliance on education on families and a long history that that jews and Chinese share and of course they’re very proud of the fact that they were a refuge for so many refugees during world war, so as part of that I think there is a fascination and interest in both these families even today follow-up question to the jews who were able to find safe haven in Shanghai how did they get out when they needed to get out there was 18000 of them well you know these jews had never planned to go to China right it was just the one place that would let them in and so they had they got there and then as soon as the Americans freed liberated Shanghai they realised that the jews had been completely cut off they really didn’t have much news about what was going on in Europe most of the refugees anticipated they would go back to Vienna back to Berlin back to the lives that had been uprooted by the war but there are these heartbreaking photographs of the American soldiers putting up lists on store windows of all the towns in Europe that have been destroyed and wiped out of families that have been destroyed in Berlin and Vienna and the refugees are gathered around and they’re realising there’s no home to go back to that as hard as life was in Shanghai there wasn’t enough food housing wasn’t you know wasn’t was very crowded there was nothing for them to return to and so most of them ended up going to some to Palestine some to Australia south America and to the United States they basically became another part of the diaspora it’s interesting the Kadoorie’s did a great deal to help resettle the refugees to get them out of China to Hong Kong and then on ships that would take them elsewhere but the Kadoorie’s were vowed that they would never invest more than half their money in China and so as these refugees were leaving.

The Kadoorie’s would go around and give many of them brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash and say when you get to Australia will you buy some properties in our name so we can begin to spread our investments to protect ourselves in case you know China has or Hong Kong is invaded by China and so it became another way in which the Kadoorie’s were able to expand their businesses worldwide.

Barbara asked that did the Kadoorie and Sassoon families intermarry and assimilate or did they kind of stay within the jewish world and their own communities the Sassoon’s assimilated more as I said when they went to Britain they kind of dove in to British society sending their kids to Eaton and

universities and as we know from many of our own experiences when you know jews become part of secular society they often drift away from judaism and that was true for many of the Sassoon’s some of them even converted and it’s interesting when you look at the wills that the Sassoon’s had to file in London the grandparent you know the older Sassoon’s who had left Baghdad who had left  India are thundering in their wills that their children must marry other jews but of course very often they didn’t and i would say today the Sassoon’s in England are much more you know they consider themselves of jewish heritage but they’re not very religious by contrast the Kadoorie’s actually were Zionists the Sassoon’s were accepted very early by Britain but the Kadoorie’s were never accepted fully they kept on trying to become British citizens the British wouldn’t let them they hit on the British kept on making all these comments about allowing too many of those kinds of people into Britain and so early on the Kadoorie’s became Zionists and i think they’re they identify more they’re probably what we would consider reform jews today they go for the high holidays they go to services they support the synagogue in some ways they remind me of sort of you know Michael Bloomberg or jewish executives on Wall Street or in Hollywood where they’re jewish but it’s not they’re certainly not as religious as they were when they left Baghdad.

A couple of the Sassoon’s did go to Jerusalem and have become fairly observant there and have become rabbis but both families really are much more secular these days did either of the families make it to the United States and make it big here at all no they did not they’ve remained really British and they certainly had the ability to and the Kadoorie’s have real estate and they own the Peninsula hotel chain I mean they have business interests in the United States but again they’ve stayed in Hong Kong which is so interesting certainly financially they could live anywhere and the fact that they stayed in Hong Kong and became really very close to the Chinese government they were involved in the negotiations when Hong Kong was handed over to Britain.

They meet regularly with top Chinese officials including Xi jinping the president of China but I think like a lot of westerners now they’re nervous about the future and they’re kind of walking this tightrope where they have incredible business interests and family interests and memories of China but China as it becomes more nationalistic can be a scary place for them the beautiful synagogue in Hong Kong that’s still there it’s like is that was that built by the Kadoorie or the city it was actually built by the Sassoon’s but is maintained by the Kadoorie’s and the Kadoorie’s are the biggest supporters of the jewish community most of the jewish community in Hong Kong now are expatriates Americans Israelis and others but the synagogue is beautiful and there are five synagogues in Shanghai a couple of which are open one of which has been turned into a really remarkably museum on the on the jewish refugees in Shanghai and it’s definitely worth visiting when we can travel again did the Kadoorie’s just as students have any inroads in other major or minor Chinese cities yes well they I mean they ended up going to a number of minor cities but Shanghai was sort of the business hub of China it was sort of like New York or Los Angeles it was the main place where businessmen wanted to settle and it was also the most comfortable place for westerners I mean one of the interesting things about both families is that they lived they were part of Chinese history they sort of stride Chinese history and politics for 175 years none of them ever bothered to learn Chinese which you know may tell you all you need to know about imperialism and colonialism and so essentially Shanghai was a place where you could live like that that there were servants and there were business associates who spoke English and could understand China through that and some other many other people have asked is this are these families covered in a in some kind of documentary or a movie or is there something in the works that you are involved in that you can share with us yeah I mean the book has been optioned to be a movie or a tv series you never know it’s like a very long process for that if you’re interested in the refugee story theres a very good pbs documentary that ran about a year and a half ago called harbour from the holocaust and it’s a pbs documentary i’m sure you can find it online, harbour from the holocaust which is about the refugee crisis from the Chinese point of view it’s a Chinese filmmaker who’s based in the U.S now who found Chinese families who talk about what it was like when these refugees arrived and it’s actually quite touching because one of the things you see is that or ordinary Chinese these jewish refugees showed up out of nowhere and one of the things the jewish refugees talked about was how nice the Chinese were to them even though the Chinese themselves were very poor were being oppressed by the Japanese were suffering they would share food they would take their children for rickshaw rides and so in this documentary you hear Chinese families talking about that and it’s kind of a very nice human story of these two groups during world war II that kind of you know find each other.

As i mentioned i have been to Hong Kong and i’ve been to synagogue we mentioned you mentioned the beautiful synagogue in Hong Kong but I have not been to Shanghai and there’s a question are there synagogues still left in Shanghai and what’s jewish life like there right now well the jewish life is really again it’s expatriates and in fact the Chinese are quite nervous about religion and so they don’t want any sort of organised the history is fine they don’t want any organised jewish religion certainly among the Chinese but what is interesting is that this area where most of the jews left where I saw the Mezuzahs on the tenement doorposts has been turned into i don’t want to say a kind of jewish Disneyland but it has been turned into a kind of a historical site where you can go around and see where the jews lived it was actually called little Vienna because there were so many jews from Europe who were settling there.

Benjamin Netanyahu would often visit and it has this really quite good museum that talks about jewish life and talks about the way in which they call it the Shanghai ghetto but it was not a ghetto like Poland or these other countries in Europe it was a place where jews were able to get married several jews studied to be rabbis there were concerts and so forth conditions were hard there’s no question about that but it’s one of the miracles of world war II that even under the pressure of the Nazis no jews were killed in Shanghai and 18000 survived and so you can see that story it’s called the Shanghai refugee museum and it’s worth some it’s worth looking at.

Rita asked, he said she says the title of your book was about the rivalry between the families the Kadoorie and Sassoon so what was the rivalry? 

The rivalry was you know the Sassoon’s as I said were the pioneers and they became Victor Sassoon was probably the sixth richest man in the world in the 1930s the Kadoorie started out working for the Sassoon’s and so Elly Kadoorie when he broke away as a young man I still think the Sassoon’s looked upon him as sort of the poor relation, they were the big conglomerate they were the kind of the ones who had the ear of the Prince of Wales and so forth and the Kadoorie’s were always strivers and so I think there was always a kind of a rivalry there, it’s interesting when the refugees began arriving Victor Sassoon was not a religious man i often joke that he was much more likely to give money to a synagogue than ever set foot in one, but as these refugees started arriving Elly Kadoorie confronted him went to the cafe hotel to meet with him and he said look Victor you know you’re a playboy I know you don’t care about these things but this is a crisis for our people and you need to step up and to his credit Victor Sassoon did and so I think there was always a sense that the Kadoorie’s had that they were kind of one step behind the Sassoon’s but what’s interesting is that when the Sassoon’s lost everything when the communists took over the Kadoorie’s by staying in Hong Kong essentially were able to surpass the Sassoon’s and when they returned to China in the 1970s they were richer than ever and much richer than the  Sassoon’s so I think part of the rivalry was this sense of kind of the people who started out as the employees as the staff kind of end up making decisions which involved them ahead of the Sassoon’s. interesting we have time just for a few more questions.

Rabbi Marty Lawson asked the question I don’t know if this is true or not but he wants to know how the Kadoorie family come to build a synagogue in Porto in Portugal is that something?

Yeah the Kadoorie name is actually not an uncommon one and so there were various branches of the family or other namesakes I didn’t I assume it was part of the diaspora of these I mean the Baghdadi jews we think of now as the Iraqi jews there’s quite a large community of Iraqi jews around Los Angeles they always saw themselves as the jewish aristocracy when you talk to Iraqi jews i’ve done talks in Montreal and elsewhere where there are large groups of Iraqi jews and you know they say we’re the best jewish business people you know we’re the smartest ones and so I think what you saw were Iraqi jews including probably some members of the Kadoorie clan settling in these different places and then building synagogues and other institutions.

You talked about how you kind of started this research what prompted you to and I assume you read other people’s books I assume there are other books written about the two families that this is not the first book?

Well actually no that nothing’s ever been written about the Kadoorie’s they’ve never been written about and the last book about the Sassoon’s came out you know in like 1960 or so it was a very early book there is actually quite a nice book if you want to know more about the glamour of Shanghai called grant hotel i think a hotel grand by someone who looks at kind of Victor Sassoon in his life at the hotel but surprisingly not that much had been written about these families or about the role that they and other jews played in the development of China.

Charles asks you have quite a few people have read your book which is great and now they’re asking specific questions so in our last minutes i’ll give them the opportunity to get answers to the questions. 

Charles says that you mentioned your book about letters between the Sassoon brothers in judeo-arabic they’re located Hebrew university in Jerusalem and that you worked with dr your own ben nye translating what did you find most interesting in those and will they be published?

I guess the two questions right well a couple of things are interesting about that so you know everybody was arriving in Shanghai in the 19th century seeking their fortune and again you know people communicated by telegraph or by letter but there was an incredible amount of what we would today call industrial espionage they were all trying to spy on each other and find out what deals were being were being done so the Sassoon’s had an advantage because all their employees were jews from Baghdad and jews in Baghdad speak this dialect of judeo-arabic which is essentially Arabic written with Hebrew letters and what that meant was they sort of had a built-in code that was enabled them to sort of communicate with each other and overseas and nobody could break it.

It’s hard for me because only about 12 people in the world these days know how to read judaeo arabic Jerusalem and was trying to figure out what to do and so there’s a professor there who

does speak judeo arabic and we literally sat in his living room for several days while he picked out letters and kind of read the juicy parts to me what was interesting was how quickly the Sassoon’s figured out how the system worked right here they were they were from Baghdad they were living in Bombay it was the first time they’d ever been in London and yet very quickly their you know they’re writing to their father in Bombay saying well we’re gonna have a big party we’re gonna invite the Prince of Wales we’re gonna invite these British aristocrats; their father writes back saying, make sure the newspapers cover this it’ll be good publicity for us they sort of understood the interplay of kind of politics and business from a very early stage and the letters there were thousands of them are very business-like but you see over time it changes from discussions of the price of opium and trade to this kind of social world and the way in which the Sassoon’s get seduced and very successfully manoeuvre through the kind of British society and it was remarkable to me that you know essentially these immigrants figured out so quickly how the world worked.

Charles also asks by the way another question about the goodbyes I don’t know if i’m pronouncing correctly g-u-b-b-a-y-s the goodbye family wanted to know if there are any resources to read about them and what, yeah they’re a well-known family in Hong Kong?

The Kadoorie’s actually intermarry with them you know if you do a google search some of these names will pop up and there’s like you know the encyclopedia judaica there are a couple of books on prominent jews of China that talks about them and a google search if you go down a few levels you can probably find out some more I see Ellen and some other people have written that they actually their families were part of the Shanghai jews I mean they survived she was born there in 1947 so her story is the story that you were talking about oh my gosh people are asking about different Sassoon’s that they know and whether they’re related I mean if we see Sassoon in the United States is that going to be a relation or is the Sassoon name, a name that says the Sassoon name is pretty common you should always ask but I think that it’s far more likely in Britain because that’s where most of the families stayed but it’s interesting because now with the book coming out, i’ve gotten members of the Sassoon family calling me saying you know these were things we didn’t even know because the history you hear over the kitchen table from your family as we know is not often the real history there are a lot of stats out there but the ones who are really influential and wealthy are mostly in Britain these days.

Rita one of our patrons asks did the Kadoorie’s and the Sassoon’s actually ever work together or were they just really in competition most of the time?

No they worked together they did many investments together when they were investing in things like the gas company in Shanghai and things like that because they were the two kind of biggest investors the two wealthiest families they often work together and again I think that was one reason why they were able to succeed is because they were able to think outside the box and they brought in Chinese partners and others that really allowed them to vault ahead and as a result had an incredible impact on the Chinese I mean one thing that’s really striking is how many Chinese businessmen got a kind of training by working with Sassoon and the Kadoorie’s….

End of Interview.
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