|Died||5 January 1950 67) (aged|
|Known for||Saving about 250,000 Chinese civilians during the Nanjing Massacre |
Establishing the Nanking Safety Zone
|Political party||Nazi Party|
|Relatives||Thomas Rabe (grandson)|
John Heinrich Detlef Rabe (23 November 1882 – 5 January 1950) was a German businessman and Nazi Party member best known for his efforts to stop war crimes during the Japanese Nanjing Massacre (also known as Nanking) and his work to protect and help Chinese civilians during the massacre that ensued. The Nanking Safety Zone, which he helped to establish, sheltered approximately 250,000 Chinese people from being killed. He officially represented Germany and acted as senior chief of the European-U.S. establishment that remained in Nanjing, the Chinese capital at the time, when the city fell to the Japanese troops.
Born in Hamburg on 23 November 1882, Rabe pursued a career in business and worked in Africa for several years. In 1908, he left for China, and between 1910 and 1938 worked for the Siemens AG China Corporation in Shenyang, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and later Nanjing.Rabe suffered from diabetes by the time he worked in Nanjing, requiring him to take regular doses of insulin. At the time of the Japanese attack on Nanjing, Rabe was a staunch Nazi and the party's local head, serving as a Deputy Group Leader in the Nazi Party.
Many Westerners were living in Nanjing, the Chinese capital city, until December 1937, with some conducting trade and others on missionary trips. As the Japanese army approached Nanjing and initiated bombing raids on the city, all but 22 foreigners fled, with 15 American and European missionaries and businessmen forming part of the remaining group.On 22 November 1937, as the Imperial Japanese Army advanced on Nanjing, Rabe, along with other foreign nationals, organized the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone and created the Nanking Safety Zone to provide Chinese refugees with food and shelter from the impending Japanese massacre. He explained his reasons as: "there is a question of morality here… I cannot bring myself for now to betray the trust these people have put in me, and it is touching to see how they believe in me". The zones were located in all of the foreign embassies and at Nanking University.
The committee was inspired by the establishment in November of a similar neutral zone in Shanghai which had protected approximately 450,000 civilians.Rabe was elected leader of the committee, in part because of his Nazi party status and the German-Japanese bilateral Anti-Comintern Pact. The committee established the Nanking Safety Zone in the western quarter of the city. The Japanese government had agreed not to attack parts of the city that did not contain Chinese military forces and the members of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone attempted to persuade the Chinese government to move all their troops out of the area. In this they were partly successful. On 1 December 1937, before fleeing the city, Nanjing Mayor Ma Chao-chun ordered all Chinese citizens remaining in Nanjing to move into the Safety Zone. When Nanjing fell on 13 December 1937, 500,000 non-combatants remained in the city. Rabe also opened up his properties to help 650 more refugees.
According to Rabe, the Nanking Massacre resulted in the deaths of 50,000 to 60,000 civilians. Rabe and his zone administrators tried frantically to stop the atrocities. Modern estimates of the Death toll of the Nanking Massacre vary but some put the number of murdered civilians as high as 300,000.Rabe's appeals to the Japanese using his Nazi Party credentials often only delayed them but the delay allowed hundreds of thousands of refugees to escape. The documentary Nanking credited Rabe with saving the lives of 250,000 Chinese civilians; other sources suggest he saved 250,000 to 300,000. In his diary, Rabe documented Japanese atrocities committed during the assault on and occupation of the city.
In a series of lectures he gave in Germany after his return, Rabe would say that "We Europeans put the number [of civilian casualties] at about 50,000 to 60,000".Rabe was not the only person to record Japanese atrocities. By December 1937, after the defeat of the Chinese force, Japanese soldiers often went house-to-house in Nanjing, shooting any civilians they encountered. Additional evidence of these violent acts came from the diaries kept by some Japanese soldiers and by Japanese journalists appalled at what occurred.
On 28 February 1938, Rabe left Nanjing. He traveled first to Shanghai, returning to Berlin on 15 April 1938. He took with him a large number of source materials documenting Japanese atrocities in Nanjing. [ citation needed ]Rabe showed films and photographs of Japanese atrocities in lecture presentations in Berlin and wrote to Hitler, asking him to use his influence to persuade the Japanese to stop further violence. Rabe was detained and interrogated by the Gestapo; his letter was never delivered to Hitler. Due to the intervention of Siemens AG, Rabe was released. He was allowed to keep evidence of the massacre (excluding films) but not to lecture or write on the subject again. Rabe continued working for Siemens, which briefly posted him to the safety of Siemens AG in Afghanistan. Rabe subsequently worked in the company's Berlin headquarters until the end of the war.
After the war, Rabe was arrested first by the Soviet NKVD, then by the British Army. Both let him go after intense interrogation. He worked sporadically for Siemens, earning little. He was later denounced by an acquaintance for his Nazi Party membership, losing the work permit he had been given by the British Zone of Occupation. Rabe then had to undergo lengthy de-Nazification (his first attempt was rejected and he had to appeal) in the hope of regaining permission to work. He depleted his savings to pay for his legal defence.
Unable to work and with his savings spent, Rabe and his family survived in a one-room apartment by selling his Chinese art collection but it was insufficient to prevent their malnutrition. He was formally declared "de-Nazified" by the British on 3 June 1946 but continued to live in poverty. His family subsisted on wild seeds, his children eating soup and dry bread until running out of that as well. 23,000 in 2022). The city's mayor traveled to Germany via Switzerland, where he bought a large amount of food for the Rabe family. From mid-1948 until the communist takeover, the people of Nanjing also sent the family a food package each month, for which Rabe wrote many letters expressing deep gratitude.In 1948, Nanjing citizens learned of the Rabe family's dire circumstances and quickly raised a sum of money equivalent to $2,000 USD ($
On 5 January 1950, Rabe died of a stroke. In 1997, his tombstone was moved from Berlin to Nanjing, where it received a place of honour at the massacre memorial site and still stands today. In 2005, Rabe's former residence in Nanjing, the John Rabe House, was restored to its former state; it houses the John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall, opened in 2006. The Austrian Service Abroad was later invited to send a Peace Servant there.[ citation needed ] Rabe's grave in Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Cemetery in Berlin-Charlottenburg was re-erected in 2013.
Rabe's wartime diaries were published in English as The Good German of Nanking (UK title) or The Good Man of Nanking (US title) (original German title: Der gute Deutsche von Nanking).
John Rabe has been portrayed in numerous films:
The Nanjing Massacre or the Rape of Nanjing was the mass murder of Chinese civilians in Nanjing, the capital of the Republic of China, immediately after the Battle of Nanjing in the Second Sino-Japanese War, by the Imperial Japanese Army. Beginning on December 13, 1937, the massacre lasted for six weeks. The perpetrators also committed other war crimes such as mass rape, looting, and arson. The massacre was one of the worst atrocities committed during World War II.
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is a bestselling 1997 non-fiction book written by Iris Chang about the 1937–1938 Nanking Massacre, the massacre and atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after it captured Nanjing, then capital of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. It describes the events leading up to the Nanking Massacre and the atrocities that were committed. The book presents the view that the Japanese government has not done enough to redress the atrocities. It is one of the first major English-language books to introduce the Nanking Massacre to Western and Eastern readers alike, and has been translated into several languages.
Wilhelmina "Minnie" Vautrin was an American missionary, diarist, educator and president of Ginling College. She was a Christian missionary in China for 28 years. She is known for the care and protection of as many as ten thousand Chinese refugees during the Nanking Massacre in China, at times even challenging the Japanese authorities for documents in an attempt to protect the civilians staying at her college.
The Nanking Safety Zone was a demilitarized zone for Chinese civilians set up on the eve of the Japanese breakthrough in the Battle of Nanking. Following the example of Jesuit Father Robert Jacquinot de Besange in Shanghai, the foreigners in Nanjing created the Nanking Safety Zone, managed by the International Committee for the Nanjing Safety Zone led by German businessman and Nazi party member, John Rabe. The zone and the activities of the International Committee were responsible for safely harboring 250,000 Chinese civilians from death and violence during the Nanjing Massacre.
John Gillespie Magee was an American Episcopal priest, best known for his work in Nanking as a missionary, and for the films and pictures he shot during the Nanking Massacre. He is also credited with saving thousands of lives throughout the event.
The International Committee was established in 1937 order to establish and manage the Nanking Safety Zone.
Nanking is a 2007 documentary film about the Nanking Massacre, committed in 1937 by the Japanese army in the former capital city Nanjing, China. It was inspired by Iris Chang's book The Rape of Nanking (1997), which discussed the persecution and murder of the Chinese by the Imperial Japanese Army in the then-capital of Nanjing at the outset of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45). The film draws on letters and diaries from the era as well as archive footage and interviews with surviving victims and perpetrators of the massacre. Contemporary actors play the roles of the Western missionaries, professors, and businessmen who formed the Nanking Safety Zone to protect the city's civilians from Japanese forces. Particular attention is paid to Nazi Party member John Rabe, a German businessman who organized the Nanking Safety Zone, Robert O. Wilson, a surgeon who remained in Nanking to care for legions of victims, and Minnie Vautrin, a missionary educator who rendered aid to thousands of Nanking's women.
The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe is a collection of the personal journals of John Rabe, a German businessman who lived in Nanjing at the time of the Nanking Massacre in 1937–1938. The book contains the diaries that Rabe kept during the Nanking Massacre, writing from his personal experience and observation of the events that took place. It also excerpts Rabe's experience in immediate post-war Berlin, then occupied by Soviet troops. Rabe's diaries were made known and quoted by author Iris Chang during the research for her book, The Rape of Nanking; they were subsequently translated from German to English by John E. Woods and published in the United States in 1998. The diaries of Rabe could only provide witnesses of a small corner of the Nanking Massacre, because of the limitation of his activity in the safe zone.
The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders is a museum to memorialize those that were killed in the Nanjing Massacre by the Imperial Japanese Army in and around the then-capital of China, Nanjing, after it fell on December 13, 1937. It is located in the southwestern corner of downtown Nanjing known as Jiangdongmen (江东门), near a site where thousands of bodies were buried, called a "pit of ten thousand corpses".
Robert O. Wilson, MD was an American physician born to Protestant missionaries Wilbur F. Wilson and Mary Rowley Wilson in Nanjing, China. Wilson attended Princeton University and subsequently obtained his medical training at Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1929. He returned to Nanjing in 1936, where he assumed a housestaff position at Drum Tower Hospital of University of Nanking. Amidst the chaos and bloodshed that followed in the months leading up to the Japanese occupation of Nanjing, Wilson worked tirelessly at his post, eventually becoming one among only a handful of physicians who had not left the city by 1937.
City of Life and Death is a 2009 Chinese drama film written and directed by Lu Chuan, marking his third feature film. The film deals with the Battle of Nanjing and the following massacre committed by the Japanese army during the Second World War. The film is also known as Nanking! Nanking! or Nanjing! Nanjing!. The film was released in China on April 22, 2009, and became a major box office success in the country, earning CN¥150 million in its first two and a half weeks alone.
John Rabe is a 2009 biographical film directed by Florian Gallenberger, based upon John Rabe's published wartime diaries.
Don't Cry, Nanking, also known as Nanjing 1937, is a 1995 Chinese film about the 1937 Nanking Massacre committed by the Imperial Japanese Army in the former capital city Nanjing, China.
The John Rabe House (拉贝故居), located at Xiaofenqiao No. 1 (小粉桥1号) in Nanjing, China, was where John Rabe stayed during the Nanking Massacre and protected more than 600 Chinese refugees in this house, and within its garden, from Japanese persecution. Today it accommodates the “John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall” and the “John Rabe Research and Exchange Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.”
Nanjing Massacre denial is the denial of the fact that Imperial Japanese forces murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians in the city of Nanjing during the Second Sino-Japanese War, an extremely controversial episode in the history of Sino-Japanese relations. Some historians accept the findings of the Tokyo tribunal with respect to the scope and nature of the atrocities which were committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the Battle of Nanjing, but others do not. In Japan, however, there has been a debate over the extent and nature of the massacre. Relations between Japan and China have been complicated as a result, as denial of the massacre is seen in China as part of an overall unwillingness on Japan's part to admit and apologize for its aggression, or a perceived insensitivity regarding the killings. Estimates of the death toll vary widely, ranging from 40,000 to 200,000. Some scholars, notably revisionists in Japan, have contended that the actual death toll is far lower, or even that the event was entirely fabricated and never occurred at all. These revisionist accounts of the killings have become a staple of Japanese nationalist discourse.
Lewis Strong Casey Smythe [pronounced "Smith"] was a sociologist and an American Christian missionary to China who was present during the Nanking Massacre.
George Rosen was a Rhodes Scholar, German lawyer and diplomat, best known for his assistance in helping to organize the Nanking Safety Zone during the Second Sino-Japanese War, while working for the German Foreign Office.
The total death toll of the Nanjing Massacre is a highly contentious subject in Chinese and Japanese historiography. Following the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese Imperial Army marched from Shanghai to the Chinese capital city of Nanking, and though a large number of Chinese POWs and civilians were slaughtered by the Japanese following their entrance into Nanking on December 13, 1937, the precise number remains unknown. Since the late-1960s when the first academic works on the Nanking Massacre were produced, estimating the approximate death toll of the massacre has been a major topic of scholarly debate.
Hubert Lafayette Sone, (1892–1970), Soong Hsu-Peh in Chinese, was an American Methodist missionary in China. He was a professor of Old Testament at Nanjing Theological Seminary during the Japanese invasion in 1937. Sone was among the small group of foreigners who remained in the city and provided aid to the Chinese victims of the Japanese atrocities. He served with John Rabe on the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone and was Associate Food Commissioner. On 18 February 1938 the name of the committee was changed to the "Nanjing International Relief Committee." After the departure of George Fitch, Sone was elected Director of the Nanjing International Relief Committee. For their actions in support of the Chinese people, Sone and thirteen other Americans were awarded "The Order of the Blue Jade" by the Chinese government.
Estimates of the population of Nanking in December 1937 vary widely from source to source. Scholars have been heavily engaged in attempting to calculate Nanjing 's population at this time because of its relevance to estimating the death toll of the Nanjing Massacre.