Standing before a stele on which hundreds of names are engraved
to commemorate the victims of Japan's germ warfare, Aaron De Groot
was looking for traces of the atrocities committed on the Chinese
people during World War II.
Groot was a member of a US delegation of 17 high-school history
teachers mainly from California and New Jersey which paid a visit
to Japanese germ warfare sites on Thursday in Congshan Village of
Yiwu, a city in east China's Zhejiang Province.
"Though I know little about Japanese germ warfare in China, I
share the same feelings as you," Groot, who has been teaching
history for 24 years, said to Wang Jindi, a 73-year-old villager
whose uncle and two brothers died after having been purposefully
infected with the plague.
"One of my extended family members was killed by the Nazis in
the Second World War. That is why I am here. I feel I have a
special connection with those who suffered a lot at the time,"
Back to 1942, the Japanese troops dropped germ bombs in Yiwu,
killing more than 1,200 people, including 404 in Congshan
"It hurt so much. I cannot forget the looks on their faces
before they died," said Wang in tears.
Wang Peigen, 76, who survived the Japanese germ war, told the
American teachers the fate of former villager Wu Xiaonai.
"Wu was only 18 years old when she was infected with the plague.
She came to Linshan Temple where the Japanese troops kept the sick
people and asked for medical care. However, the Japanese tied her
up in a chair wrapped up her head in bandages and then cut open her
chest," Wang said.
Organized by the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of
WWII in Asia (GA), the delegation arrived in China on June 28. They
have talked with "comfort women" who are still alive in Shanghai
and visited the memorial hall of the victims of the Nanjing
"I am deeply moved by what I have seen in Congshan Germ Warfare
Museum. I would like to bring the material back to Britain and let
more people know about it," said David Brown, a media officer from
Aegis Trust UK Holocaust Center.
Kerreen Brandt, who has been teaching European history for 17
years in San Rafael High School, said, "All of us have learnt a lot
from the tour. I am privileged to be here and to speak to the
survivors personally. This brings history alive. I will educate my
students with all I have seen in China and make sure that such a
tragedy will never ever happen again."
(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2007)