De­scen­dants of Nan­jing res­cuers stress peace

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

De­scen­dants of two for­eign na­tion­als who saved hun­dreds of thou­sands of in­no­cent lives dur­ing the Nan­jing Mas­sacre yesterday said that com­mem­o­ra­tive events are an im­por­tant way to re­mem­ber the past and pro­mote peace.

Dece­dents of Ger­man busi­ness­man John Rabe and Amer­i­can mis­sion­ary Min­nie Vautrin, who flew to Tai­wan to par­tic­i­pant in a se­ries of com­mem­o­ra­tive events to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of the R.O.C.’s vic­tory over Ja­pan in the Sec­ond Sino-Ja­panese War, said at a press event held in Taipei that such cer­e­monies are cru­cial so that peo­ple can learn from the past.

“I think that time pe­riod should be com­mem­o­rated and that it should be tai­lored in such a way that you are honor­ing the lives of many peo­ple who were killed at that time,” said Cindy Vautrin, a great-grand­niece of Min­nie Vautrin.

Such com­mem­o­ra­tive events could be a great op­por­tu­nity to show how war is not good, she noted.

Stress­ing that peace is ul­ti­mately what peo­ple are sup­port­ing, Vau- trin said hold­ing these cer­e­monies will help all to re­mem­ber what hap­pened and “teaches us what not to do in the fu­ture.”

Thomas Rabe, the grand­son of John Rabe, also stressed the im­por­tance in rec­og­niz­ing the past.

One has to think about the past to ac­cept what had hap­pened so that they can make friends with their old en­e­mies, he noted.

But ul­ti­mately pro­mot­ing peace is the most im­por­tant goal, he said.

John Rabe and Min­nie Vautrin were cred­ited with sav­ing the lives of hun­dreds of thou­sands of civil­ians dur­ing the 1937 Nan­jing Mas­sacre.

The two were in­stru­men­tal in the es­tab­lish­ment of the Nan­jing Safety Zone, which kept ap­prox­i­mately 200,000 Chi­nese from be­ing slaugh­tered by the Ja­panese.

The Nan­jing Mas­sacre, also known as the Rape of Nan­jing, was an episode of mass mur­der and mass rape com­mit­ted by Ja­panese troops against the res­i­dents of Nan­jing dur­ing the Sec­ond Sino-Ja­panese War when tens of thou­sands of Chi­nese civil­ians were killed by the Im­pe­rial Ja­panese Army.

Thomas Rabe and Cindy Vautrin were in­vited by the gov­ern­ment to visit Tai­wan to re­ceive a com­men- da­tion from Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou on their an­ces­tors’ be­half.

The honor is part of on­go­ing cel­e­bra­tions Tai­wan is cur­rently hold­ing in com­mem­o­ra­tions of the 70th an­niver­sary of the R.O.C.’s vic­tory over Ja­pan in the Sec­ond Sino-Ja­panese War.

The gov­ern­ment has also in­vited de­scen­dants of for­mer United States pres­i­dents, Franklin D. Roo­sevelt, Harry Tru­man and Dwight Eisen­hower to join in the se­ries of com­mem­o­ra­tion events.

Joseph Yeh, The China Post

Cindy Vautrin, a great-grand­niece of Min­nie Vautrin, left, and Thomas Rabe, the grand­son of John Rabe, right, pose for pho­to­graphs dur­ing a press event in Taipei yesterday.

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