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John Rabe's Former Residence Opened to Public
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 The former residence of John D. Rabe, who saved the lives of thousands of Chinese during World War II, opened to the public after renovation in east China Nanjing city on Tuesday.

The weather-beaten house will serve as "John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall" and "John Rabe International Research and Exchange Center for Peace and Reconciliation", according to Zhang Rong, vice president of Nanjing University.

Zhang said it provides a platform not only for the commemoration of Mr. Rabe, but for the research on world peace and cultural exchanges.

Dr. Wolfgang Rohr, German Consul General in Shanghai, said, "It is with respect and humility that we view the achievements of John Rabe. We may rightfully be proud of a German who became a citizen of Nanjing and stayed on in difficult times to help protect his Chinese friends."

Rabe, as Siemens business representative in Nanjing during 1932-1938, lived in the three-story house at No.1 Xiaofenqiao in downtown Nanjing.

The house, one of 25 Nanjing Safety Zones, served as a refugee shelter during World War II. It alone had saved over 600 Nanjing refugees in 1937 when Japanese invaders occupied Nanjing and slaughtered more than 300,000 civilians and unarmed soldiers there.

As president of Nanjing Safety Zones, Rabe was believed to have saved thousands more, but there was no exact official statistics on that number.

He recorded the atrocities committed by the Japanese troops he witnessed on a daily basis in the "Rabe's Diary" from September 1937 to the following February.

Zhang Rong said that over 1,000 historical materials, photos, and more than 800 copies of original "Rabe's Diary" from German Foreign Ministry, Rabe's kinfolk and other places in China have been collected for display at the house.

Zhang added that during the early period, the house will also show to the public over 300 pictures, 50 objects and four video documentaries.

"By renovating Rabe's former residence, we sincerely hope to promote Sino-German friendship," said Prof. Dr. Klaus Wucherer, member of the Corporate Executive Committee of Siemens AG.

Siemens AG contributed a major part of the renovation funds which totaled 2.25 million yuan (US$ 285,500).

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2006)

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