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
Zhang said it provides a platform not only for the commemoration
of Mr. Rabe, but for the research on world peace and cultural
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
Rabe, as Siemens business representative in Nanjing during
1932-1938, lived in the three-story house at No.1 Xiaofenqiao in
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
As president of Nanjing Safety Zones, Rabe was believed to have
saved thousands more, but there was no exact official statistics on
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
"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)