Christian Kröger Biography

Author: Jens Kröger

Christian Jakob Kröger (February 5, 1903 – March 21, 1993) was a German engineer and businessman who acted as a Treasurer for the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone led by John Rabe.

Christian Kröger, courtesy of Jens Kröger

Born in Altona, now part of Hamburg in Germany, Kröger pursued a career with the trading company of Carlowitz & Co. from 1928 until 1939 in a number of different cities in China, among them Taiyuan, Shanghai and Nanking.

On January 13, 1938, he wrote a report of the Massacre of Nanking during the days from November 1937 until February 1938 for the head office of Carlowitz & Co. in Hamburg with the title “Schicksalstage von Nanking” [Days of Fate for Nanking]. Kröger’s report is
an eyewitness chronicle of the events in and around Nanking.

On February 23, 1938, Kröger left Nanking for Shanghai and resumed his career with Carlowitz & Co. in Hongkong, married Erika Busse and travelled back to Germany in January 1939 with his wife and first son. Having heard of the difficulties which Rabe had in Berlin with the authorities, Kröger abstained from spreading news of the Nanking events. He followed his career until his retirement in 1962.

Due to his remembrance of the events and because of the 50thanniversary of the Nanking Massacre in 1987 Kröger retyped his report in 1986 and sent a copy to the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Germany. This was a time when little was known of the Nanking Massacre, as John Rabe’s diary as well as further books on the subject had not been published yet.

Parts of Kröger’s report were published for the first time in: John Rabe. Der gute Deutsche von Nanking, ed. by Erwin Wickert, Stuttgart 1997, pp. 198-202 (English and American editions “The Good German of Nanking”) and later in a complete version in: John Rabe, Sein Leben – seine Zeit, ed. by Thomas Rabe. Heidelberg 2009, pp. 203-216.

Cite this blog post
Torsten Weber (2019, June 21). Christian Kröger Biography. John Rabe's Nanjing Diaries. Retrieved June 14, 2024, from

2 thoughts on “Christian Kröger Biography”

  1. My grandfather also confirm’s Kröger’s return to Germany in 1939. Here is text from his memoir:

    Engineer Kröger also got married, gave notice and traveled to Germany with his wife. Both he and Dr. Bauer were sucked into the quagmire in Europe. Nevertheless, they did survive. Nothing tempted me to return to Germany. I was only hoping for my wife and child to find safe passage back to China.

  2. Thank you for posting. My gradfather Hans Melchior was Kroeger’s boss in the Nanjing office. He left for Wuhan and Kroeger did not get out. Below is a relevant paragraph, translated from German by me, from my grandfather’s memoir.

    As soon as I arrived [in HongKong in 1938], Hermann left for Kunming to set up a small office there, which had become necessary in order to bring our imports for the government into to China through Burma. As for my part, I concentrated on outstanding transactions. Cashing in on old contracts now seemed more important than obtaining new contracts. My colleague, Heitmann, from Shanghai and Engineer Kröger , whom the Japanese kept stuck in Nanking for months, assisted me. Kröger was not able to get out of Nanking in time and described to me the gruesome behavior of drunken Japanese soldiers towards the civilian Chinese population that he witnessed day to day in the city.

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