Descendants of Nanjing rescuers stress peace
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.
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.