John Rabe

Last updated: 12/07/2019

Short Biography

Gedenktafel John Rabe” by DrSivle, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0, image extracted from original

John Rabe (1882-1950) was a German business man. Originally from Hamburg, he moved to China in 1908 and spent most of the following decades there as a representative of the Siemens company. When the Japanese military began its attacks on the city, Rabe decided to remain in Nanjing. Together with other foreigners, he formed the International Safety Zone and served as its chairman. In this position as ‘de facto mayor’ of Nanjing, he helped save thousands of Chinese from death of starvation, cold, or atrocities committed by the Japanese military (‘Nanjing Massacre’). During the critical period from September 1937 to February 1938, Rabe kept a detailed diary comprising more than 1800 pages.


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