Georg Rosen

Based on: Fei Fei Li, Robert Sabella, David Liu, Nanking 1937: Memory and Healing. Armonk 2002
Suping Lu, A Mission under Duress: The Nanjing Massacre and Post-Massacre Social Conditions Documented by American Diplomats. Lanham, Maryland 2010
Thomas Rabe, John Rabe. Sein Leben, seine Zeit. Heidelberg 2009
Timothy Brook, Documents on the Rape of Nanking. Ann Arbor 2003

Last updated: 23/07/2019

Georg Rosen was born in 1895 near Tehran, Persia (Iran). Both his father and grandfather were Oriental scholars and diplomats. His father, Friedrich Rosen, briefly served as Foreign Minister of Germany in 1921. After the end of the First World War, Rosen graduated and passed the first legal state exam. He entered the diplomatic service in 1921. Rosen had two Jewish grandmothers which would lead to difficulties when Hitler became Chancellor in 1933.

In 1933, he was transferred to the legation in Beijing. From 1935 to 1936, he was first put in charge of managing the Consulate General in Tianjin and then of the Consulate in Mukden (Fengtian/Shenyang). Rosen also served as secretary and consul in Beijing and Nanjing. During his time as legation secretary in Nanjing, Rosen wrote at least six reports on the situation in Nanjing between December 1937 and March 1938. However, he  had left Nanjing temporarily on 9 December 1938, accompanying his colleagues and the German nationals that had remained in Nanjing. He stayed on board the British gunbaot Bee and the H.M.S. Cricket on the Yangtze. Rosen returned on 9 January 1938 and along with Scharffenberg and Hürter reopened Germany’s Embassy in Nanjing.

Rosen is described as a straightforward, sometimes irritable man who disliked compromises. This interactions with Japanese diplomats seemed to have been difficult as he was less diplomatic than Rabe. He also suffered greatly under the discrimination he faced because of Hitler’s racial laws.

When Rosen returned to Germany he was first transferred and later dismissed from foreign service. He immigrated to London, where at the start of the war he was put into an internment camp. In 1940, he was able to emigrate to the United States. In 1949, he returned to West Germany. He subsequently reentered the diplomatic service and became ambassador in London and Montevideo. Rosen retired in 1960 and died in July 1961 in Detmold.

Testifying and Contesting War Experiences in China and Japan