China / Society

Memories of blood and terror - Revisiting Nanjing

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-12 20:43

Tang hid beneath a corpse until the executers left.

But he was lucky, as sometimes, the Japanese not only shot the prisoners, but also bayoneted and threw them on a burning pyre afterward.

A Japanese veteran soilder Riichi Kurihara (direct translation) said in his post-war account that they burned the corpses to destroy evidence of their barbarism.

"Not all the bodies were completely incinerated, leaving a black mountain of charred corpses," he said. "It was time-consuming to throw the corpses into the river and that lasted until noon the second day."

The campaign of murder, rape and looting shocked foreigners in the city, many of whom tried to protect the Chinese people, such as German businessman John Rabe.

His former residence, a two-story black building in downtown Nanjing, concealed and protected more than 600 people.

In the guest book, a visitor from the US, Carol Aschu, said: "We have read Iris Chang's book, 'The Rape of Nanking', and we are glad to find Rabe's house. This is an important story, both of atrocity and of aid, that no one should forget."X Another foreigner Wilhelmina Vautrin, then head of the Education Department of the Jinling Women's Arts and Science College, is remembered by a bust erected several hundred meters away from where the Chinese hid.

"We lived in classrooms, it was so crowded that when you wanted to turn over in the bed, you had to tell the person next to you," recalled Wu Zhengxi, 90.

However, these "safe zones" were not always so.

Wu's brother was taken from the college on the claim that he was a infidel.

"Several days later, I found him by a pool, tied to many others," said the old man, tears in his eyes. "He was a middle school student and I recognized his sports shoes. He was dead."

Wu's aunt, who also took refuge in the college, was snatched by the Japanese one day as she tried to sneak home.

"She committed suicide after being raped. I could not tell our family about this."

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