The Good Man of Nanking
The Diaries of John Rabe, a Nazi, who built an safety zone in Nanking to try and save the Chinese people from being killed by the Japanese Army.
Nanking's population in 1937 was around 1.3 million. It's revealed that Nanking had actually gone through an earlier massacre. The Taiping Rebellion (1852-1864) led to Imperial Troops retaking Nanking from them, killing almost all the civilians in the city and burning it to the ground, so the Japanese massacre was not the first one at all.
The book then goes into the diary entries by Rabe, and they are quite interesting, revealing details of what happened from someone who was actually there at the time.
In one of his entries, he notes that Soochow was being plundered by retreating Chinese troops. He also notes about someone he knows whose father would have risen in the diplomatic ranks more if he had not had a Jewish grandmother.
There were also numerous telegrams to Japan to get the safety zone made official, but there was a lot of trouble with that. One wire said " To whatever extent possible, Japanese wish to spare the city, national government, lives, property, foreigners, as well as a peaceful Chinese populace."
Rabe writes that he saw groups of Japanese soldiers, ten to twenty in a group, enter the city and plunder the various shops. There are also numerous references to reports of Chinese being taken out by the Japanese and executed. He also writes about the numerous rapes of women, including 1,000 in one night alone.
This included nurses at hospitals.
He includes how some of the Chinese girls were selected by the Japanese to work at a brothel. He also writes about many people who were bayoneted to death.
The book goes on and on with example after example of the atrocities, and also has numerous photographs that are quite gruesome.
For those who argue that the Rape of Nanking did not take place, I'll point out that this book, with its numerous reports and photographs, was written by a Nazi who was reporting to his superiors in Germany. At the time, Germany was an ally of Japan, so there is no reason Rabe would be lying about what the Japanese were doing.
This is a very, very upsetting book, but, at the same time, it's a very valuable historical reference.
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