Author: Jens Kröger
Last updated: 10/07/2019
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.
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 50th anniversary 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.