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You Listen, So You Understand

By Jianrong Zhou, Volunteer of John Rabe and International Safety Zone

Memorial Hall
On the morning of 13th December 1937, a team of about 30 Japanese
soldiers broke into my home and immediately shot the landlord. Seeing
that, my father knelt down and begged them not to kill the others, but
was shot dead, too.
My mother, arming my one-year-old younger sister, hid below a table,
scared for their lives. Those soldiers pulled her out, took away the
younger sister and smashed her to death. They stripped my mother and
several soldiers raped her. After that, they bayoneted her to death, and
thrust a bottle into her private part.
The atrocities did not end. Several soldiers broke into the next room.
They tried to rape my two elder sisters. My Grandpa and Grandma
desperately tried to protect my sisters, and were shot by soldiers. Then
these soldiers stripped my two elder sisters, raped by turns and then
stabbed to death by bayonets. Afterwards, thrust my Grandmas stick
into my eldest sisters private part.
I hid in the quilt. I didn't dare to cry loudly, but was stabbed three times
by Japanese soldiers. I lost consciousness, but woke up from my fouryear-old sister's cry. The dead bodies of my family were everywhere. We
yelled, Mom, mom, but nobody responded. We two lived with those
dead bodies for the next fourteen days, survived by eating some parched
rice sought out and drinking cool water in the water vat.
Thus, seven of the nine lives in my family were slaughtered by Japanese
army in a short time. I cannot help crying once I thought of that
With a trembling voice, 86-year-old Chinese Grandma Shuqin Xia, who
narrowly survived the Nanking Massacre in 1937, described her horror as
Japanese soldiers barged into their home when she was eight years old.
She bitterly recalled her nightmare at the July 13th, 2015 event in the John
Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall held to promote peace
and historical consciousness among educators visiting from overseas.
Hearing her story, many event participants were moved to tears,

reminded of the atrocities that took place during the Second SinoJapanese War.
The attendants were organized by the New Jersey Alliance for Learning
and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (NJ-ALPHA), as part of the 2015
Peace and Reconciliation Asia Study Tour. The 17 tour participants
included 13 Americans and 4 Canadians, most of whom are educators at
the middle or high school and college levels.
The tours objective was to give educators the opportunity to explore
historical events that have been neglected or misunderstood, to identify
how the past can help us rectify present-day injustices, and to prevent
tragic atrocities from being repeated in the future. It focused specifically
on the history of WWII in Asia, especially concerning comfort women, the
Nanking Massacre, biological/chemical warfare, and slave labor issues.
The group visited 4 cities in China (Shanghai, Nanjing, Harbin, Beijing)
and Seoul in Korea from July 9th through 23rd, 2015. The schedule included
organizing lectures and seminars of the history of Sino-Japanese
relations, visiting museums and historical sites, meeting survivors of
wartime atrocities, and participating in briefings and reflection sessions.
During the Nanking Massacre, John Rabe provided shelter for Shuqin Xia,
who was one of the over 600 Chinese refugees he protected in his house
at that time. He also mentioned Xias name in The Diaries of John Rabe.
In the first-ever National Memorial Day for the Nanjing Massacre on
December 13th, 2014, Chinese President Jinping Xi, along with Xia Shuqin,
and a school child, unveiled a memorial ding, a type of ancient Chinese
cauldron symbolizing state power and prosperity, during the ceremony.
"We should remember how much pain the Japanese aggressors brought
upon us, and we should thus oppose any war and cherish any peace,"
said Shuqin Xia.
For further details, please contact Mr. Shanyou Yang (email:, Director of the John Rabe and International Safety
Zone Memorial Hall.

Pictures to be attached

Shuqin Xia, the surviving victim of Nanking Massacre

Shuqin Xia (in the middle) is telling the horror of Nanjing to participants

Participants in the First Reflection Session with Shanyou Yang (standing

at the front), the Director of Memorial Hall