News / Asia

Race Against Time to Interview China's Nanjing Massacre Survivors

Race Against Time to Interview China's Nanjing Massacre Survivorsi
X
December 20, 2013 9:20 PM
In 1937, Japanese forces swept through Nanjing, China, and systematically killed civilians and soldiers. There is now a joint effort to collect video testimonies from the survivors of the Nanjing Massacre. And it is being carried out with a sense of urgency, because only about 200 survivors are still alive.

DISCLAIMER: THIS VIDEO REPORT CONTAINS IMAGES THAT MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME

Elizabeth Lee
In 1937, Japanese forces swept through Nanjing, China, and systematically killed civilians and soldiers. There is now a joint effort to collect video testimonies from the survivors of the Nanjing Massacre. And it is being carried out with a sense of urgency, because only about 200 survivors are still alive.

Xia Shuqin remembers a day seared in her memory. She said a Japanese soldier climbed up and dragged her mother out from under a table. He then snatched her one-year-old sister and bludgeoned her to death with his gun. In her video testimony , she said she is one of the few remaining survivors who can still recall the horrors of that day, when the Japanese entered Nanjing on December 13, 1937.  

Karen Jungblut, director of research and documentation at the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation, said, “For the next six weeks, Japanese forces engaged in a wide-range massacre, murdering over 300,000 mostly civilians and armed soldiers within the capital in an almost systematic way.” She said survivors participating in the video history project want the world to know what they experienced.   

Yang Cuiying, 88, agreed to share her memories of the massacre. She said her father was holding her two-year-old little brother when she kneeled and begged the Japanese not to kill her father. She said the Japanese killed her father, her brother and two other relatives.

Lu Yanming, a researcher for the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, conducted the interview and 11 others.

“It was also very traumatic experience for me to learn from the history of the Nanjing Massacre,” he said.

Lu said the aim of the project is to collect at least 50 testimonies, to not only find the truth about what happened, but also to pay tribute to the victims and survivors.

“We are now losing our survivors day by day. They are in the very old age. That is also our biggest challenge,” said Lu.

The Shoah Foundation has experience collecting such accounts. The organization says it has collected nearly 52,000 testimonies from survivors of atrocities and genocides from around the world.  

The foundation is working with the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall on the project.

Jungblut said the video testimonies will add broader historical perspective.

“What the museum has done in the past was focusing on the actual events and the interviews pertain to the actual events," she said. "Our methodology that we brought to the table is also to think about the life before the events started.”

And to find out what it’s like to live with the experience afterwards.

“The older they get the more traumatic for them to recall the experience," said Lu.

Lu said what moved him most is that all the survivors he interviewed held no hatred toward the Japanese as a whole.

“They want to cherish the peace. They want to cherish the peace between the two peoples and hope the tragedy will never happen again,” he said.

Researchers say they hope these testimonies will help them understand what can be done to prevent future crimes of mass violence like the Nanjing Massacre.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid