Clara Sharp (née Wittenberg) grew up in Berlin. Her parents had come from Poland and were stateless. Her father had a knitwear factory. Clara went to Theodor Herzl school and later learnt hat-making. The family sailed to Shanghai on a boat run by the Italian Lloyd Triestino lines in 1939. When the Japanese occupied the city, the Jews were interned in a part of Shanghai called Hongkew.
Clara married in 1946 to a fellow refugee and had a daughter in 1947. In 1948 they emigrated to Israel, and in 1952 moved to the US. After her husband died in 1962, Clara came to the UK where her sister had settled, and married again. She has kept in touch with other people who spent the war in Shanghai and has attended several reunions.