Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, was one of 25 delegates from the organization who came to China at the invitation of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries to visit six cities that are known to have protected Jews.
He recalled that when Jews fled persecution in Russia in the 1910s, they found a refuge in the northeastern city of Harbin and built a community.
When Nazism almost destroyed the Jews, China again provided a haven in Shanghai for thousands of Jews, he said.
Foxman told China Daily on Thursday: "In many other places where Jews have lived, everything was wiped out as if it never existed. But what we saw in Harbin was a conscious effort to preserve the memories."
Foxman referred to the newly rebuilt synagogue in Harbin and to the city's Jewish cemetery which he said was "clean and well-preserved."
Meeting with senior Chinese officials, including Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, the ADL delegates offered their help in improving relations between China and the United States.