"A Foreign Perspective of Nanjing Massacre," The Search for Missionaries Who Risked Their Lives to Rescue the Chinese

By Ruth Wang, December 29, 2015 00:12 AM

The Premiere of CCTV “A Foreign Perspective of Nanjing Massacre”

On December 17, a 10-part TV documentary called "Nanjing massacre in the eyes of foreigners" was launched by CCTV "explorations" and carried out ten consecutive days of playing the documentary. Unlike many previous documentaries, the film objectivesly shows that a number of missionaries, pastors, Christian and other international humanitarian  risk their lives to rescue many Chinese people. 

The film was broadcast on December 13, the second National Memorial Day for the Nanjing massacre victims. The documentary was played on CCTV Science and Education channel and Jiangsu TV, as well as the CCTV network video channel "Explore." The film was the first to witness, experience, and explore the alien perspective of the Nanjing massacre to show the works of the Holocaust. 

The film reflected on a large number of raw materials and literature to restore history and reveal the truth. The creative team was divided into seven crews and shooting lasted nearly six months. The crew journeyed to the United States, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and other countries, visiting several foreign witness descendants and finding first-hand testimonies. 

The “Nanjing Massacre in the Eyes of Foreigners” is the first documentary to witness, experience, and explore the foreign perspective of the historical tragedy, the Nanjing Massacre. The ten-set documentary focuses on one character with the first seven sets as records and rescue from missionaries and International Humanists and after three episodes are about reduction and repentance by Japanese soldiers who also witness the Nanjing Massacre. They are ten parts as follows: 

"John Magee: Massacre Video Recorder" “Minnie Vautrin: The Patron Saint of Island Life”

"George Fitch: The Revealer of Atrocities Truth”

“John Rabe: The Nanjing Holocaust Witness”

“Robert Wilson: Suture Wounds for Nanjing”

“Bei Deshi: Historical Evidence”

“Snyder Berg: 106 Days in Nanjing” 

“Shiro Azuma: A Person's Confession”

“Tamaki Matsuoka: Fellow Sufferer” 

“Tokushi Kasahara: Person to Restore the History”

The crew went to the United States, Japan, Germany, Denmark and other countries and visited the several foreign witness descendants, finding first-hand testimony. John Magee, the only surviving son, lives in Scotland, already 91 years old. After repeated efforts did, finally the old man agreed to cooperate. Three children of Dr. Robert Wilson, scattered around the country were also repeatedly invited and finally came to Nanjing. 

The crew also traveled to the Harvard-Yenching Library, Yale Divinity School Library, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the German Foreign Ministry Archives, Japan Yokohama Newspaper Museums, and the State Library of Aarhus etc., in order to get a lot of precious literature, many of which contains content that is presented for the first time in front of TV audiences. 

Experts believe that the film not only has historical significance but a more practical significance and historical value. The perspective of western witnesses is not only the first documentary theme for the Nanjing Massacre but also highlights its objectivity and counter evidences real history. 

"A Foreign Perspective of Nanjing Massacre" also got much attention in overseas markets, in more than 10 countries, such as Britain and Australia with broadcast programs also in negotiations. 

Attached: Documentary shows several missionaries during a historical date: 

Rev. John Magee

Rev. John Magee, an American missionary, was born in 1884 in a family of lawyers in the United States. MageeMagee graduated from Yale University and the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1912 and was sent to China as the American Episcopal priest and missionary. During the massacre in December 1937, Magee served as the President of the Nanjing Committee of the International Red Cross Organization and as a member of the Nanjing Safety Zone Committee. He helped set up a refugee wounded hospital, took part in the rescuing of more than 200,000 Chinese who were facing the possibility of slaughter, insisted on the presence of more than 20 Westerners in Nanjing, and composed a song which touches the humanitarian movement.

During the Nanking Massacre, Rev. John Magee not only took photos but also recorded in words every detail of the lens. At that time, foreigners in Nanjing believed that Japan is a modern civilized nation, that their army should comply with the international convention for basic and human ethics, but this fantasy was soon shattered. The church rationed Magee with a camera to record daily work. On the fourth day after the Japanese broke through the city, John Magee took up the camera and took to the lens the trauma being suffered.

Magee has taken four sets of film, a total of 105 minutes, and these lens are powerful evidences of the Japanese army in the Nanjing massacre and are the only dynamic images retained so far about the Nanjing massacre by Japanese invaders. They have become the best proof of Japanese atrocities.

During the war of America and Japan in 1941, Magee returned to the United States and continued to serve as a priest. In 1953, Magee died in Pittsburgh. Magee had left such a will before she died: "If I am born again to serve Chinese, China will be my home."

Minnie Vautrin

Female with the Chinese name "Hua Qun,", she is an American missionary.

Born in 1886 in the United States, 1912, she first went to China when approached by the Jinling Women's College to serve as the Dean and Director of Teaching and Education. From 1919 to 1940, Vautrin was teaching in the Ginling College and became the Acting President at the Ginling College twice. During the Nanjing Massacre tragedy, she had chosen to stay as a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the head of Ginling College refugees, shelter and protection for more than ten thousand women and children.

At the same time, Minnie Vautrin’s Diary is an important historical material. From August 12, 1937 to April 1940, Vautrin described Nanjing day life almost every day in the way of a diary.

In 1938, the national government also awarded her highest honor rewards for a foreigner, the the blue, white, red three-color Emblem of the Blue Jade. In the Nanjing massacre, during those dark days, Vautrin became a "patron saint" in the eyes of the Nanjing refugees, and was regarded by the people as the "living Buddha." Even in the darkest days of the Holocaust, Vautrin also did not waiver or despair. But the suffering continued to ferment in later days which  gradually overwhelmed her nerves. She had suffered from severe depression and on May 14, 1940, she went back to the United States. On May 14, 1941, Minnie was only 55 years old when she committed apartment kitchen gas suicide.

Minniesaid at last: "If I I had two lives, I would still be willing to serve the Chinese." In Vautrin’s tombstone, with China's official script written on the four Chinese characters, it says, "Eternal life in Ginling."

George A. Fitch

On January 23, 1883, George Fitch was born in Suzhou, China. His Chinese name is Fei Wusheng, the son of Presbyterian missionary, Fei Qi Hong. Fitch graduated from the College of Wooster, Ohio in 1906, and the Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1909. He was ordained as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church and went to work with the YMCA in Shanghai in 1909.

In November 1937, Japanese troops captured Shanghai, and moved westward, encroaching Nanjing. Following the example of Shanghai, Hang LiWu, the Chairman of the Board of the Jinling University, invited aliens and established the Nanjing Safety Zone, a refuge for the refugees. To December 16, the refugees had increased to 25 and later 250,000.

Between December 10, 1937 to January 11, 1938, Fitch compiled a diary of the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army. Later, the diary was taken to Shanghai secretly by the Germans Kroeger. The spread of this diary caused shock both in the Chinese and foreign public media. In June 2, 1938, the Chicago Vision Magazine published Fitch's diary. The eight rolls of film with the running time of 105 minutes is the only video literature about the Nanjing Massacre by the priest John Magee and was sent to the Shanghai Kodak company which made 4 copies. 

In 1967, Fitch wrote a memoir, "My Eighty Years in China" which was published in Taiwan. The memoir detailed the records of his experience in Nanjing from 1937 to 1938 and is now alleged evidence of the Holocaust. In January 20, 1979, Fitch passed away in Los Angeles. 

John Rabe

Born in Hamburg, German businessman John Rabe is known to have saved about 250,000 Chinese people in the Nanjing Massacre and is respectfully called "China's Schindler.” The John Rabe diary that was published in 1997, and translated into Chinese, English, Japanese, and German, is recognized as the largest, most complete historical data of the Nanjing Massacre. 

John Rabe was the representative of Germany's Siemens Electric company in China. During the Nanjing Massacre, John Rabe and a dozen foreigners co-sponsored the International Committee of Nanjing Safety Zone and John Rabe was elected as chairman. In the Nanjing safety zone, Mr. John Rabe, together with other foreign friends, protected the 250,000 refugees. In the meantime, outside the security zone, there are at least more than 300,000 Chinese people who were killed. John Rabe recorded it for the famous "Rabe diary." 

In April 1938, Rabe returned to Germany and wrote a report to government on the Nanjing Massacre to Hitler but the report was not open to public. Interrogated by Gestapo, he still secretly sorted his diary and relevant materials and left them behind for future generations. In January 1950, John Rabe died of a stroke in Berlin. 

Robert Wilson 

Christian, was an American physician. In the winter of 1937, Dr. Wilson, who graduated from Harvard Medical School, bid farewell to his wife and infant daughter, staying alone in Nanjing, eventually becoming one among only a handful of physicians who had not left the city. Wilson wrote in his diary: on December 18, 1937, today marks the contemporary Dante's inferno has entered into the sixth day, it is written in blood and violence in the capital letters. The entire batch of the bulk of people have been killed, tens of thousands of women were raped, there is almost no power to stop these cruel beasts, lust and barbaric phenomenon. 

Before several documentary about the Nanjing Massacre had mentioned doctor Wilson, but there is only a few words about his life. The crew worked hard to find Dr. Wilson's three children, to find his former residence in California, cemetery, churches frequented going, found a precious interview of his wife Marjorie Wilson, found all his letters to her family during the Nanjing massacre, found his doctor’s license, found jade medal awarded by the national government, found him in 1946 to attend the international military tribunal for testimony. For the first time, we know, Dr Wilson embarked on a battle field during world war ii, as the U.S. military medical team.

Bei Deshi, Miner Searle Bates

Christians, male, American Missionaries in China and Missionlogy Scholar. He at the International Military Court for Far East devil crimes committed by the Japanese troops in Nanjing City. 

Bates was born in Newark, Ohio, son of a Christian missionary pastor and the president of the university. He graduated from Hiram College as a Rhodes Scholar to obtain his Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Literature at Oxford University. In 1935, he received the Ph.D. in Chinese History from Harvard University. From 1917 to 1918, Bates did YMCA work in India and the Mesopotamia region. From 1920 to 1950, as a preacher of the United Christian Missionary Society, Bates taught history at the Nanjing University for 30 years. The Nanjing University was founded in 1902 and was part of the merger of three American Christian Missionary Society University. 

From 1950 to 1950, Bates was a Missiology professor at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is a Director of the Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia and a member of the National Christian Council of China Ministry project. After his retirement and until his death, Bates has worked diligently, doing a lot of research on China Christianity history in the 20th century.

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