Emile LANDAU [1909-1968] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Emile LANDAU [1909-1968]

c.1909-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)

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During the war, my uncle Emile escaped imprisonment..he was not in the volunteers ..so after 2 years he was captured..my father often explained that for some reason Emile’s wife Rosi and the 2 little boys had not gone to Australia..had not got on the boat but had stayed in HK..when he(Emile) heard he was beside himself with worry and escaped..so the family were on  the run for 2 years..surviving on the streets of HK..Emile was caught by the Japanese, and so was Rosi (but not the boys) they were both put in jail and badly treated.

The boys my cousin Harry and his little brother were on the streets..and in 1944 Alex died ..and Harry was with him..Harry only once told me this story that even his wife had not heard. You will see Alex’s grave in the Jewish cemetery in Happy Valley with Emile and my grandparents.

Emile was very unstable after the war with mental problems…he left for Australia..and then UK..bought a house in Sevenoaks and tried to pretend that he was English…then he came back to Hong Kong to die …I remember him spending many months in bed at my parents flat..

Emile had the Parisian Grill in Hong Kong..this was started by my grandparents in the 1920’s in Hong Kong and Emile took it over..Rosi was a Russian born in Tientsin China..

I've added dates of birth & death from his gravestone (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=60739571).


Many thanks for this very interesting information. 

The Landau family have a proud record of courage and compassion during the Japanese occupation.

Mr. Emile Landau loaned Dr. Selwyn-Clarke HK$10,000 to be used to help the Prisoners of War. This was very risky, because Selwyn-Clarke's work was illegal and the Japanese sometimes punished people even if they helped the British legally (because they believed that this showed they were 'enemy' sympathisers).

Mr Emile Landau made other illegal loans with the same risk attached.

He sent in at least one parcel 'legally' into Stanley Camp - as I've explained, even this was risky.

Phyllis Harrop's book 'Hong Kong Incident' makes several mentions of 'Rose Simpson' and her husband, who run a restaurant before the war and during the early days of the occupation. Philip Cracknell believes that this couple are in fact Mrs Rosi and Mr Emile Landau. There are a few things that don't fit - but this is almost certainly because 'Rose' was obviously helping Harrop with her escape from Hong Kong and the book was published during the war, so Harrop wanted to make sure the Japanese couldn't identify her. 

Mr Aaron Landau was arrested by the Japanese for pro-British activities. As yet, I have not been able to find any details of these.

In addition to Mr Leo Landau's service as a Volunteer, it is possible Emile Landau served too. One account suggests he ended the hostilities in Stanley Fort, where a number of soldiers had gone when their units retreated or were destroyed, and from there persuaded the Japanese to allow him freedom as a Turkish national.

Emile was born in 1909

Here are two mentions of his contribution:

Landau IMG_3106.JPG
Landau IMG_3106.JPG, by brianwindsoredgar


Landau IMG_3124.jpeg
Landau IMG_3124.jpeg, by brianwindsoredgar


Henry Ching writes in with further evidence that Emile served with the HKVDC:

Appendix III to Evan Stewart’s book “Hong Kong Volunteers in Battle” lists 3519 Gunner E.Landau under the heading DID NOT ENTER POW CAMPS OR WHO ESCAPED IN EARLY 1942. 

Ancestry Born 1905 Calcutta West Bengal India Died 30 June 1968 Hong Kong