20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
war horrors, missionary heroism
, April 30, 2008
This review is from: Nanking (DVD)
In August of 1937 Japan bombed and then invaded China's capital city of Nanking. In the ensuing six weeks some 200,000 people, mainly citizens, were slaughtered; tens of thousands of others endured unspeakable atrocities that included mass executions, torture, widespread rape, burning and looting. This documentary film draws on archival film footage, interviews with Chinese survivors and Japanese soldiers who witnessed the atrocities, and then the letters and diaries of a small group of westerners who stayed behind to help the Chinese despite the orders of the American Embassy to evacuate. These westerners, mainly missionaries, saved some 250,000 Chinese by establishing a two square mile "Safety Zone" in Nanking. The film switches back and forth between the Japanese atrocities and the heroism of the three missionaries, George Fitch (whose secret 16mm movies documented the horrors), surgeon Bob Wilson, and Minnie Vautrin who headed the Ginling Women's College; and then their leader, the Nazi businessman John Rabe (whose 800-page diary became a key piece of evidence). To a person the Chinese still venerate these four people as their saviors. After the war a tribunal convicted twenty-five Japanese leaders of war crimes. Warning-- parts of this film are very hard to watch.
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