Profile of the John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall

No.1 Xiaofenqiao, Guangzhou Road, Nanjing was where Mr. John Rabe (1882-1950), representative of the German Siemens China Co. in Nanjing, resided from 1932 to 1938. Since Nanjing fell into the hands of the Japanese troops, this house became one of the 25 refugee camps in the Nanjng Safety Zone. Of the 250,000 refugees who flooded into the Zone to seek shelter, over 600 had been protected by this single house from Japanese persecution. Witnessing the atrocities around him, Mr. Rabe reported them in his daily writings which later became known as “Diaries of John Rabe.”


Shortly before the Japanese occupatioin of Nanjing in December 1937, Mr. Rabe was chosen to be Chairman of the International Committee for the Nanjing Safety Zone. At this critical moment of the Chinese national crisis, he led the members of the Committee in doing everything they could to help protect the Chinese soldiers and civilians against the Japanese terror and saved their lives at the risk of their own safety. Their strong sense of justice and benevolence urged them to reveal war crimes and appeal for world peace. Their respectable deeds reflect the great spirit of humanitarianism and the selfless virtue of human love. The noble ethical qualities they displayed and the function they fulfilled are worthy of being commemorated for ever and publicized far and wide. 

Since 1997, supported by Nanjing municipal government, Nanjing University began to reserve Rabe’s former residence and planned to renovate the former residence into the Memorial Hall. In September, 2003, while the then German President Johannes Rau visited Nanjing University, he showed concern about the former residence of John Rabe. Following President Rau’s visit and great encouragement, Mr. Erdal Elver, Vice President of Siemens China and General Manager of Siemens Jiangsu, and Mr. Roland Gerke, President of BS Home Appliances Co., Ltd., started communication efforts for renovation with Nanjing University since the summer of 2004. Under such joint and relentless efforts from different parties, the renovation project successfully kicked off at the end of 2005. In December, 2005, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai, together with Siemens Ltd., China and Bosch-Siemens Home Appliances Sales Co. Ltd. in Jiangsu, signed an agreement with Nanjing University on joint efforts to construct “The John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall and John Rabe Research and Exchange Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.” The German side was to provide the fund for the construction, while Nanjing University was responsible for the restoration and maintenance of Rabe’s former residence, the construction and management of the Memorial Hall. Organizations and individuals concerned of Jiangsu province and Nanjing municipal government have also made great contributions to the preservation of Rabe’s former residence and the construction of the Memorial Hall. We hereby express our heartfelt thanks to all the donors and aforementioned organizations and individuals. 

The establishment of the John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall and John Rabe Research and Exchange Center for Peace and Reconciliation is meant, firstly, to commemorate Mr. Rabe and the members of the International Committee for their deep love of humanity. The establishment is also intended to refresh people’s memories of and learn lessons paid with blood from this agonizing period of Chinese history so that tragedies of this kind will never recur. Moreover, the project is meant to promote world peace and humanitarianism everywhere, and to further develop friendly communications and cooperations among peoples of China and all other countries of the world. We believe that the establishment has immeasurable significance in inspiring people of the world with the spirit of benevolence and sacrifice, in demanding human peace and in preventing the committing of war crimes. 

Visit Flowcharts

At No. 1 Xiaofengqiao on Guangzhou Road, under the shade of lush green trees, a newly renovated red-tiled house stands quietly amidst the bustling streets of Nanjing; situated on the lawn in front of the house is a bronze bust of John Rabe, a reminder of his humanitarian spirit and his fight for justice. Through joint Sino-German renovation efforts, the former residence of John Rabe has now been converted into the John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall.  


The Memorial Hall has a total area of 1,628 square meters. Its arsenal includes exhibition boards, TVs, touch screen computers, projectors and many other different methods to display the fascinating story of John Rabe and the other members of the International Safety Zone. The John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall includes the following exhibition areas:  

1. Garden: (1) 14 exhibition boards on the enclosure walls presenting pictures and brief introductions of the members of the International Committee and other international organizations: John Rabe, Miner Searle Bates, George Ashmore Fitch, Wilson Plumer Mills, John G. Magee, Charles Riggs, Edward Sperling, Lewis S. C. Smythe, Minnie Vautrin, Robert O. Wilson, Ernest H. Forster, James Henry MaCallum, Bernhard Arp Sindberg and Dr. Karl Guenther.

(2) A bronze bust of Rabe is located on the south eastern side of the house. It was designed and created by Wu Weishan, Professor at the Institute of Sculpture Art of Nanjing University. It has the words “John Rabe 1882-1950” inscribed into its base. The bust shows Rabe wearing a pair of broad-brimmed glasses and a bow tie with a slightly frowned expression. A Rabe seemingly deeply engaged in his own thoughts.

(3)Located at the northwest corner of the yard of Rabe’s former residence is the air-raid shelter Rabe had designed himself during the Japanese invasions. Standing in front the revised air-raid shelter, it is as if one were taken back in time to witness Rabe’s deeds to protect the people of Nanjing.

2. The main exhibition hall in the house shows over 300 valuable photographs, more than 50 historical artifacts and many types of videotape. The first floor of Rabe’s former residence gives information about Rabe’s life, the International Safety Zone, The Diary of John Rabe and Rabe’s former residence; the second floor focuses on the friendly exchange and cooperation between China and Germany.

3. Next to the former residence, there is a video room, which can hold 40 to 50 people. It allows visitors to watch videos related to John Rabe and to organize seminars.


Tel025-83597217; 025-83686306

Opening Times From Monday to Friday  8:30am-4:30pm