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
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
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
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.
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
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.
From Monday to Friday 8:30am-4:30pm