Taiwan's Jewish First Lady No One Saw

Interesting short history review of President Chiang Ching-Kuo and his wife.


Did not know Faina Ipat’evna Vakherevich was Jewish. Thank you for sharing.

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am absolutely fascinated by her story, and about how little coverage she gets from Taiwanese media

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Is she practicing? Does she observe shabbat?

She’s dead.

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I’m a Chinese speaker. I don’t do tenses, especially when it’s obvious from the context.


She was an orphan. How did the author find out she was Jewish?

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She gets little coverage but she has been mentioned here quite a few times over the years.

I’ve actually read up about Faina Ipat’evna Vakhreva a lot because it was part of understanding KMT and Chiang Kai-shek’s close relations with the Soviet Union.

There are Chinese articles talking about her favorite restaurants in Taipei.


Faina stopped visiting Astoria after Chiang Ching-Kuo became the premier in 1969.

She was never liked by Chiang Kai-Shek’s last wife, Soong Mei-ling. Her husband died in 1988, 3 out of her 4 sons died before her. She lived on till 2004.


Maybe she identified as one?

There are pictures of her in there, if I remember right.

The author of this short history review has serious problems with geography and attention to details. The blatant mistakes are the following:

  1. Her name is Faina Ipat’evna Vakhreva, not Faina Ipat’evna Vakherevich.

  2. According to Wikipedia, she was born in Orsha, which is in Belarus. So apparently she was of Belarusian/Jewish descent, not Lithuanian/Jewish descent. Vakhreva is definitely not the Lithuanian name.

  3. Yekaterinburg is in the Ural region of Russia, not in Belarus for the f… sake! I am from Belarus and it hurts my brain…

The majority of urban population in Belarus before the Second World War was Jewish. Particularly in small towns like Orsha (called shtetl in Yiddish).


I think it’s interesting that he was held hostage in Russia for 12 years where he met her. And also that his three sons all died shortly after his own death. Almost like someone was worried about communist influences.

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The author has provided a link in the Findery comments that answers some of your questions.


I think there’s something about a “curse” on the family killing all the sons.

Thanks for the info. Does that mean they speak something like Hungarian there?

Nowadays the majority population there are Russians. The indigenous Khanty and Mansi reindeer herders speak languages related to Hungarian. Hungarians migrated from Ural mountains region at some point in history, therefore the language family that includes Hungarian is called Uralic.

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I’m not going to Google it, but Yekaterinburg was where they shot all the royals, wasn’t it?

Fascinating stuff. Wonder how much political influence she had, and in what way? I wonder if she was reclusive by nature, or because of “propriety”?

I know very little about Chiang Ching-Kuo, but I really ought to find out.



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