John Rabe's Diary

Is the diary of Rabe telling the truth ?Masaaki Tanaka

When John Rabe Sees Nanking: A Critique of John Rabe's Diary

Is the diary of Rabe telling the truth ?
Masaaki Tanaka

Material Enough To Prove The Really Of The “Great Massacre”?

  Mr.Imai , New York branch reporter of Kyodo Tsushin (Correspondence) Inc.reported on January 13, 1998, that Rabe's (German) diary, who was a chairman of the  International Committee of Nanking Safty Zone during the 1937 Nanking battle, was found, headlining  A New Material on the Nanking Massacre Found followed by the subheads  Tragedy of Nanking at Full Length / Reported to Hitler / An Article Left Behind by Nazi's Local Leader / Presumed 50,000 to 60,000 Non-combatants Killed . Local papers in Japan jumped at this shocking news and reported with heavy headlines without any reflection.
The like of a certain newspaper in Kansai district acknowledged its high historical value,going so far as to carry the following comment by Mr.Ikuhito Hata, professer of Chiba University.

   A German who was friendly to Japan describes the then situation objectivery. In that sence, I think its value as the historical materials is higher than the testimony of the American clergyman (John Maggie), who was allegedly hostile to Japan .

  Further, Tokushi Kasahara, Professor of Utsunomiya University , who has being propagandizing the really of the Nanking great massacre, also highly esteemed for its admissibility, and made a comment  Not only its material value is important as the first record by a German who stayed on the scene, but also significant is his appeal th Hitler.
The very fact that a man who lay in a position like his dared to appeal to the top leader of Japan's ally is well enough to endorse the reality of the great massacre. Although he estimates the number of dead civilians to be 50 to 60 thousand without showing its ground, its reliability is nevertheless high in view of the fact that he had taken care of 250 thousand citizens. 
Unlike these two professors, I have been suspecting that the alleged  Diary of John Rabe was rather phony (fishy) and haven't been ready to trust it at all. In the first place, the diary is said to cover about 5 month from September, 1937 up to February, 1938. Report by Mr. Imai was its resume. So I had been refraining from criticizing it until its detail has been published. In the meantime, the details of  Diary of John Rabe   was disclosed over 24 pages on November issue of  Gendai 
(Modern Times) with a review by Elvin Wickelt, editor. Its titles read:  Scoop! A Nazi Party Member Called 'a Shindler in Nanking' Discoverd   The Truth of Nanking Massacre After 60 Years , J.Rabe,Branch Manager of Siemens in Nanking Describes  Massacre, Rape and Looting' in Detail .

I read this carefully and began to write its criticism. In the meantime, the whole text of his diary titled  The Truth of Nanking was published from the same publisher on Oct 9. Its foreword reads:  After returning home, Rabe made a fair copy of his diary and compliled it into three volumes of 800 pages together with materials titled  Nanking Bombed .
This Book is the abstract of this  Nanking Bombed  which is deemed most the important portion.  I read it carefully, too.

What Is Behind The Omission Of The Important Matters?

  As is typical of those written by Germans, this book makes a delicate and elaborate enough description including some touching paragraphs here and there, but it hung on my mind that in the excess of his favoritism to China, he confused excesses such as looting or assault by Chinese remnants with alleged ones by Japanese army.
  Besides, first of all, the question is that while he claimed it to be the diary the nitty-gritties are omitted which, in the first place, does strikes us that he is avoiding the following crucial matters intentionally, which otherwise would have led us up to a definite conclusion favoring negation of the reality of  great massacre: 
The International Committee proposed to Japanese army to turn the safety zone into a  unarmed national zone , but on December 9, the letter declined the proposal officially through the U.S.embassy. The reasons were as follows.

(a). Nanking city itself was already turned into a fort, and yet the safety zone lay in its center, where neither national obstacle nor boundary could be told apart distinctly.

(b). There were numerous official residence for governmental VIPs or top brass, and it was suspected that every possible kind of weapons and communication equipments were hoarded inside. 

(c). The very committee had no physical force, and it was hard to expect it to hold a strictly neutral attitude enough to reject armed or plainclothes soldiers.('See Note 1)
  Rabe does not refer to them at all, but only writers:  On Dec. 3, new trenches or anti-air gunbases are being built up at three points within the safety zone. I threatened Tan Shenzhi's messenger, saying  If you don't stop immediately, I'll step down from my office and dissolve the committee,too. 
Then he sent a maggee in writing to withdraw them all according to our desire with a proviso that that is would take a little time to.  This would certainly be the vivid evidence enough to endorse the fear of the Japanese army.

(d). On Dec. 9, Commander Matsui recommended ceasefire and scattered handbills from over the sky throughout the city, calling for surrender to Tang Shengzhi's army within the castle.  Meanwhile, Matsui stopped attack and waited until the noon of December 10 for Tang Shenzhi's messenger to arrive at the Chungshan Gate.  Oddly enough, however, Rabe writes:  On Dec. 9, the gunfire and shooting of the machine guns are heard from the Chunghua Gate sounding throughout the safety zone. The lights are put off, and I see the wounded walking in darkness as if dragging their feet....  As you can see from above, in his diary, no bills for recommending surrender or ceasefire are referred to whatsoever, but the battle is supposed to be still well under way !?

 Durdin, reporter of New York Times, reported with a title  Festival of Burning Away by Chinese Army  as follows:  Marching of the Japanese army across Chulon on Dec 7 served as a sign for the Chinese Army to launch the burning-away festival....  In the rural districts up to 15 miles leading to Nanking, almost all buildings were set fire.  The entire village was burnt away, and the agricultural institute, police academy and other numerous institutions were reduced to ashes.
They set fire to the areas around the South Gate and Shakan as well. The damages caused by burning away by Chinese army will amount to as much as 30 million dollars. This is greater than those by the airraid continued over months by Japanese army. 

  In short, he is referring to nothing but the notorious  scorched-land tactics  by Chan-kai-shi, the head of Nationalist party. Doctor Baytes (American), professor of Jinling University, who was also a member of the International Committee, appeared on the International Tribunal for the Far East (1947) in his capacity as witness, and testified about the horror of burning the city streets outside the Nanking castle (see A = page 212). However, strangely enough, Rabe hardly refers to this, either.

  The diary describes that Chan-kai-shi and Ma-chaojun, major of the city, fled by airplane on Dec.7 while the castle defense commander Tang Shengzhi flew at his heels on Dec. 12, referring a bit to their irresponsibility for having left 200 thousand citizens and about 50 thousand remnants behind. 
Although Matsui did not acknowledge the safety zone to be well qualified for being neutral, he nevertheless strictly forbid to bomb it, and on Dec, 14, the day after occupation, posted soldiers on sentry at its all gates, forbidding entry of the unauthorized people for its protection. This fact is not referred to in the diary, either.

  Colonel Jiro Wakizaka, who was famous for the first rider in a change, testified in the tribunal that although he tried to enter the safety zone on Dec. 14, he could not because of the sentry's refusal, which does show how strictly human passage was controlled.

  However, Rabe writes on Dec. 16, Compared with the terror I am feeling, that of the bombardment or a succession of gunfire so far counts for nothing. There is no shop or store outside the safety zone that did not suffer looting. Now, not only looting but rape, murder and violence are about to rush even to the inside of this safety zone. Whether there is any national flag of foreign countries or not, any vacant house, if any, was broken open and ravaged.  He further writes, I see bodies of dead woman all over with their privates thrusted in by bamboo stick. It makes me sick and choking. Even the woman over seventy were raped over and over again.  Far from it ! In Japan, the practice of thrusting bamboo stick into privates could not categorically be seen, although well popular in China for sure.

  Moreover, Rabe says,  Japanese soldiers carried a Mauser gun (page 318) , but at that time, Japanese army had no Mauser gun. It is probably due to his mistake of Chinese for Japanese.

  In the document submitted to the Tokyo Military Tribunal, Mr.Espy, the then U.S. vice-consul in Nanking, remarked as follows:  What I must call attention to is the very Chinese soldiers had committed looting themselves before the Japanese army entered the castle. Undoubtedly, for the last several days, the assault and looting stormed upon people and estates were committed by them. While the Chinese soldiers took off their uniform and changed into plainclothes in a great hurry, various accidents did take place, among which murders must have been committed to peel off the clothes from citizens (see A = page 290 to 291).
  Rabe's diary, however, does not mention such facts even a line as several thousands of remnants' stealing into the safety zone to kill or injure citizens in order to rob clothe or to go to the extreme of looting, assault and killing.

Safety Zone Was In Peace and Calmness


  Here is one more serious omission. Rabe sent a following letter of appreciation to the commander of Japanese army' on behalf of the International Committee(Dec. 14).
   Dear Sirs. we express our appreciation to your artillery's praiseworthy act of having not attacked the safety zone and for becoming able to communicate with you (commander Matsui) about the future plan for supporting Chinese citizens in the same area.  (Stenography No.210).

  Why is it that he did not refer to this  letter of appreciation  even a single line in the diary he wrote himself? On the contrary, he says Japanese army ran the gamut of outrage and Wicket, editor, adds  there is a view that the hunting for plainclothes soldiers involved many common citizens thus resulting in a great massacre. Anyway, Japanese soldiers got into so far as the safety zone and repeated killing. 

  J. McCallum, doctor of the Jinling University hospital, wrote in his diary submitted to the Tokyo Tribunal:   Japanese army that came into the safety zone theated us courteously and respectfully. There were some very merry soldiers. 
Sometime, I witnessed Japanese soldiers helping a few Chinese or hugging up Chinese babies in order to play..  (See stenography No.210)

  Even Maggie, clergyman, who grudged hatred against Japan, wrote:   The safty zone might have been a paradise for refugees (see note 2) !

  Doctor Smith (American), general secretary of the International Committee), also wrote in his survey report:  Almost all inhabitants got together there.... There was no single fire and it was calm within the refugee zone. (See stenography No.210) Nevertheless, Rabe's diary elaborates on his  picture of hell , saying the fire and rape carried on within the safety zone almost every day. Which on earth is true ?

  The late Yuji Maeda, then correspondent of Domei Correspondence ( former managing director of Japan Press Center ) remarked in  World and Japan (published by Naigai News Inc.):  The so-called Nanking Massacre is supposed to point mainly to the alleged case in which a great number, let alone 200 to 300 thousand, of women and children were killed. But the very women and children who should have been killed were all in the  refugee area  protected by the security headquarters of Japan. The former branch office of  Domei Correspondence  I worked for was in it, and on the fourth day after the Japanese army entered the castle, we all moved to this branch, where we lodged for coverage of news. In other words, the inside of the refugee area was our life zone, where people opened shops and stores recovering their normal life. The information about the living guarters had met our eyes and ears one by one.
Under these circumstances, it could not have been possible that massacre even to the tune of the order of thousand or hundred, let alone ten thousand, were committed. That is to say, there was  execution of the plainclothes soldiers , but it should be discussed in terms of the framework of a regular battle action. There was no massacre of non-combatants. It should not be made light of that it was reported as if it had actually happed and that, amazingly, it is printed even on the Japanese textbook. Why was the history thus distorted? It is probably due to the post-war view of history stemming back from the wrong judgement of the Tokyo Tribunal. 
  This Maeda's testimony is reasonable enough to rely upon. Even  Time , American magazine, which had then been reporting anti-Japan articles intentionally, commented:  Japanese army cherished 'safety zone' a little .

  In those days,  Asahi , Japanese newspaper, serialized a feature of cut-in photos as large as half a page more than five times in less than one month starting from Dec. 13, when Japanese army entered the castle, until Dec 30.
  In the first series headlined  Peace Revives in Nanking (Dec. 17), one could see refugees returning home successively as early as that date and restarting farm work. In the second series headlined  Heartful to Yesterday's Enemy  (Dec.22), one could see Japanese soldiers healing wounded Chinese soldiers and feeling surrenderers. In the third series headlined  Nanking Smiles: A Sketch of the Inside of the Castle (Dec 25), one could see Japanese soldiers playing with children and about 50 women singing chore. In the fifth series headlined  Greeting the New Year Shaking Hands (Dec.30), one could see a scene of   Friendship between Japanese and Chinese Deepening Day by Day , in which a Chinese shoemaker is fixing Japanese soldiers' shoe and a bearded captain is distributing milk to women. This would be the first-rate material then photographed on the actual scene.

  The number of reporters and cameramen who entered the castle simultaneously with the fall of Nanking is said to amount to about 1500 including 5 overseas reporters. Other then those, noted critics, poets and writers, such as Soichi Oya, Shuichi Noe, Heisaku Sugiyama, Tsuyoshi Kimura, Yaso Saijou, Shinpei Kusano, Fumiko Hayashi, Tatsuzo Ishikawa, entered the castle, and collected news materials in- and outside the Nanking castle narrower than Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, making an on-site inspection. None of them saw the massacre of non-combatants. On Dec 23, General Iwane Matsui inspected the inside of the city which has recovered peace, and returned to Shanghai to give interviews to the foreign press corps twice, Even at those occasions, the like of  massacre  didn't come up in the conversation whatsoever.

  Nevertheless, to my sorrow, in recent Japan, the history textbooks for junior and senior high schools have been bragging about  Nanking Massacre  by Japanese army by even placing enormous figures such as 200 or 300 thousand. 
If we continue such a falsified education hostile to the very homeland, Japan rather than to say masochistic, then she shall be doomed to get ruined.

Rabe in a Position of the Arms Merchant

  Let us return to the subject matter.  The International Committee headed by Rabe (organized by five Americans, five English men, two Germans, one Dane, fifteen members in all) embarked upon the crime survey after the occupation of Nanking by Japanese army, using the Red Cross or YMCA. They recorded minutely the criminal acts allegedly committed by Japanese soldiers from Dec 13(entry day) until Feb 9, 1938, and typed them to pass out to the Japanese embassy as well as U.S. and German embassies. These  official document   which should be called complaints against the misconducts by the Japanese army consists of 61, which include 425 cases in all. When you are going to consider them, it is necessary to bear in mind that there were following four historical backgrounds behind.

  The aforementioned two professors, Kasahara and Hata both passed a judgement that Japan and Germany were then allied with each other and that just because Rabe was an ally, his story must be reliable. However, it is not until 1938, when Ribbentrop has taken the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that Japan and Germany actually entered into alliance. In fact, Germany had assigned a military adviser corps along with U.S. and U.K. to aid Chan-kai-shek, and gave a lead to take up positions. Thanks to this, the sacrifice of Japanese army was great. Siemens, which Rabe worked for, was a noted company for manufacturing arms and communication equipments. The anti-air guns delivered by Rabe were as superior as Japan couldn't find then, and Rabe was working as the chief of the Nanking branch in order to sell these arms.

  (1) Therefore, either of 15 members that constitute this committee were hostile nationals to put it in the old term.

  (2) And yet these 15 members were all passed out a licence, which allowed them to freely pass through and monitor the battlefield other than the safety zone.

  (3) Under this committee, the Red Cross, YMCA and the anti-Japan propagandists of the Chinese Fifth Column were on the go.

  (4) The materials made by the committee include numerous hear-says and rumors.

  The recipient of these complaints on the Japanese side was mainly Mr. Tokuyasu Fukuda of Japanese embassy, who later worked as the secretary of the prime minister Shingeru Yoshida filling various posts such as the chief of Defense Agency and the minister of Posts and Telecommunication, and was very friendly to me. He died six years ago, but when he was still alive, he spoke to me recollecting those days.
  “At that time, when I get in the headquarters of the committee in the Ninghai street, young men rush into the room one after another, and tell Japanese soldiers are now raping girls by turns somewhere in the city or robbing of merchandise. Those type Maggie or Fitch one after another. I have protested over and over, saying, Just wait ! You shouldn't type without inspecting the spot. I feel embarrassed if you make protests against it.  He also said that when Mr.Fukuda went to the scene once personally for inspection, the warehouse in question was locked and that no trace of theft and robbery was left. By the way, he also said,  I belive that the original source of the usual Tinperlet's  Japanese Terror in China  is nothing but an accumulation of such hot airs typed by Fitch and Maggie .

  Now, among 425 misconducts of Japanese army which the International Committee charged, some are episodes which are neither misconduct nor anything else, and some are mere hear-says, rumors or conjectures as mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, if, for trial, we assume that they are all actually guilty and classify them into several categories, then the following result is led up.

  Rape.....361(gang rape.....3, rape by a few men.....6)
  Takeaway.....390(among them, many.....1, several.....1)
  Looting and others.....170

  These figures is the sum of the alleged misconducts by Japanese army over Dec 12, 1937 to Feb 9, 1998 which was recorded by the International Committee.(See note 3)
  As can be seen from above, the number of murder cases is 49, the like of the  great massacre  being propagandized now can be found anywhere. Rabe nevertheless insists 50 to 60 thousand were murdered and that 20 thousand were raped, and he doesn't show their evidence anywhere at all.  

Nanking's Population Increased After Japanese Army Entered The Castle

  As a matter of fact, it might sound reasonable if the population in Nanking decreased by the massacre. However, it did not decrease actually, but, on the countrary, it did increase! According to the record on the Nanking's population during the case, the International Committee had noted 200 thousand on Dec 17, 21 and 27 respectively while on Jan 14, one month after, it increased to 250 thousand, a plus 50 thousand. From this date on up to the end of February, it remains 250 thousand, which will go to show that the public peace and order of Nanking had been rapidly recovered and that citizens who had taken refuge around began to return in succession. Chinese people have a mysterious perception, and even if they didn't have the TV set or radio, because of their peculiar information network, they could know that the public peace and order was recovered within the city. With the New Year just around the corner, people who had evacuated to the suburbs began to get back successively calling for each other. As a matter of fact, the aforementioned photo feature of the Asahi includes that scene. ( An abstract of the specific parts on the population from among 61 public documents, which were addressed to the Japanese, U.S. and German embassies by the International Committee which had felt it necessary to know the population to feed refugee)

  On the other, the judgement of the Tokyo military tribunal reads:  after occupation of Nanking, a devilish festival such as massacre, assault, looting, rape or the like continued over six weeks . Even from this single case, it would be readily known that is a sheer hoax.

  The Nanking guarding headquarters, in order to separate the plainclothes soldiers, who had stolen into the safety zone, and the regular citizens, passed out  good citizen's certificate  in the presence of Chinese from Dec 24 up to January 1. The number of the certificates which was passed out added up to 160 thousand which, however,  does not include the number of children under ten and old men and women over sixty. Therefore, the total number might as well be considered to be 250 to 270 thousand.  inferred Dr. Lewis Smythe, chief secretary of the international committee as well as the professor of Jinling University. About two thousand plainclothes soldiers found out at this time were all sent to the prisoner's camp ( see A=page 143 )
  Commander Matsui's  Field diary  also include a passage: I see more or less people getting back already.  which was a scence witnessed in Nanking one week after the occupation.

  According to a shady testimony made by a certain witness in the Tokyo military Tribunal,  Japanese soldiers, in a group of five or six, shot humans to death, and raped women as soon as they saw. They did their own way to loot and set fire, as they please, and bodies were piled up like a mountain, blood flew like a brook as if one saw a picture of hell.  This is what the Tokyo Military Tribunal charged the accused regarding the scene of the Nanking City one week after the occupation. In that case, why should people have got back to such a horrible city? And why doesn't Rabe's diary mention this fact of increased population at all?

Three Thousand Citizen's Processions with Flying Flag Ignored, Too

資 料 昭和
人 数
備 考

T 6号
T 9号



13. 1.14
13. 1.17
13. 1.18
13. 1.19
13. 1.22
13 1.28
13. 2.10

J :
徐 淑希


ドイツ   〃  〃

許 伝 音

R・O・ウィルソン 21.7.25 戦前100
同 上

  Rabe's diary reads on Dec 30:  A newly-established self-governing committee made the five-colored flags a lot. A great public announcement is to be made on Jan 1. These flags are to be waved then...  The fact is that the inaugural ceremony of the Nanking self-governing committee headed by Tao-Xi-Shan, chairman, was held on Jan 3, in the temple on the Zhongshan street. This day, about the temple, apporoximately three thousand citizens proceeded enthusiastically with the five-colored flags and the Rising-Sun flags both in hand to celebrate the formation of the committee. This was a remarkable event for sure.

  However, Rabe did not refar to this even a single line, but writes:  Yesterday ( Jan.3 ), three houses were set fire to in the neighborhood once again. Even at this moment, smoke is going up in the south all over again. Setting it aside, the inside of the city still remains enclosed by darkness, generators in Hsiakwan should be safe, though. I am protesting to Japanese side over and over, but I hear nothing at all. Since the military police was placed for cracking down, the public peace and order may certainly have improved. However, there is some questionable bunch even among the policemen, who not only pretend not to see, but also even work evil sometime. ( Jan 4 )

  A man of Rabe seems to be a pretty screwy crank. When he is seeing three thousand citizens celebrating the formation of the self-governing committee with flying flags right before his eyes, he is keeping such a strange diary. In another page, he is objecting to the transfer of duties to the self-governing committee. More than that. The fact is that the electric service resumed itself from Jan 1 all over the city while the waterworks were reactivated. Rabe is lying in his diary.

  On Jan 3, the Asahi reported  Nanking in Peaceful Morning  extensively with a five-column headline, and carried a telegram by special correspondent Kondo issued Jan 1 titled   Blessing The Reconstruction Under Way/Light and Water for the New Year's Gift/Cheers! Light and Water Service Have Revived . Its lead reads:  Nanking, the capital city who had kept on gasping heavily for light and water has now begun to take a mighty breath greeting the New Year as if she revived. Unexpectedly, main streets within the Nanking City were lit up from 5 p.m., on the New Year's Eve, and at the same time, even the tap water gushed out lively. That is to say, right by the year end, the cooperating Japanese army and Chinese workers have reactivated waterworks or substations destroyed by Tang Shengzhi's army while withdrawing.

  According to the reporter Kondo, in Nanking, from Dec 10, the water service was stopped, no light was not turned on and Nanking was turned into a city of water famine and darkness. Upon entry into the castle, Japanese army got down to their reconstruction. He says that eighty technical officers and seventy Chinese electric engineers embarked upon the task in parties of 150 without taking a sleep or rest, forgetting heavy fatigue after the battle. The Asahi also carried a set of photos evidencing that scene over a half-page.

  Rabe's diary ignores such a Japan-China cooperating system or Japanese army's efforts to make peace completely. On the other hand, he put an extreme street on the alleged violence and misconducts by Japanese army. This is why I first said this diary is fishy enough.
  It strikes me understandable why Hitler put no trust in Rabe's manuscript but that, on the contrary, he threw him in jail.

  Note 1:  An abstract of an oral statement by Councilor Hidaka in the Tokyo Military Tribunal
  A1 : 'Nanking Case',Part 1,  Materials on Japan-Chinese War Vol 8 ( published by New Kawade Shobo Inc )
  Stenography : Proceedings of the Tokyo Military Tribunal
  Note 2:  Page 84,  Nanking Case by Ikuhiko Hata
  Note 3:  Minutely classified by Yoshiaki Itakura, student of the Nanking Case.

When John Rabe Sees Nanking: A Critique of John Rabe's Diary

Five months have elapsed since John Rabe's diary The Facts of Nanking was
published. Being the chairman of the International Committee for the
Nanking Safety Zone, his diary has drawn considerable attention. The
subject of his diary has already been discussed at length, however, I
believe the six specialists have yet to deal exhaustively with it.
Rabe's diary, as it is referred to, is in a general sense composed of two
portions. The first portion is the diary itself. Rabe, who returned to
Berlin, published his account written in Nanking under the title of Bombing
of Nanking. It is a two volume work that was published in October 1942. A
period of four and a half years had passed between leaving his duties in
Nanking in February 1938 and the completion of his dairy. One wonders if
there was deletions and additions while he was rewriting his account. This
is the first question that comes to mind.
The next portion of Rabe's diary is a report to Hitler. There would be no
problem if the contents of his diary and his report to Hitler were the
same. Yet, were they the same? This is the problem that we must turn to

Perspective for examination

We shall now take up the subject in question. In what manner should we
examine Rabe's diary? As for the method that I will employ, I will focus
on the only eyewitness account of the execution found in his diary (January
9) and exemplify on it.
He writes:
At eleven o'clock, Kroeger and Hatz come to the headquarters. They had
come to report a small scale execution that had by chance caught their
attention. A Japanese officer and soldier had driven a Chinese man (a
civilian) into a pond on the Shansi Road. The soldier lied down behind a
sandbag and fired at the man until he sank into the water.
The same account is found in other sources. We shall list these sources
so that they may not go unnoticed. They are the following:
1. H. Timperley(ed), The Japanese Terror in China, Case No. 185, 1938, 1969,
p. 159f;
2. Hsu Shu-shi (ed), Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone, Case NO. 185,
1939, p. 78 (Contained are a series of protests by the International
Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. They are signed by Rabe. Later these
protest are compiled  under the Auspices of the Councill of International
Affairs, Chungking );
3. Hora Tomio (ed.), Nicchu Sensou Nanking Dai Zangyaku Jiken Shiryoshu Dai
Ni Kan (Contained is a translation of Timperley's work listed above).
In each of these three sources the account by Kroeger and Hatz appears as
case no. 185. Do their contents match perfectly with Rabe's diary? Not
necessary so. Each of these sources cites the findings of the
International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. They clearly refer to
Rabe's definition of 'execution' as 'legitimate executions'. It should be
noted here that Rabe's diary makes no mention of these findings. Through
his deletion he suggests that the executions were butchery and ill egal.
 Executing  in sources no. 1 and 2 is mistranslated into Japanese as
gyakusatsu, 'massacre'.
In this article I have employed the method of investigating the
differences between the same accounts to prevent an oversight from among
the many records. The documents that remain are English documents
circulated in those days by the Republic of China, accounts by Americans
residing in Nanking, the Deutsche Botschaft in China:
Japanisch-Chinesischer Konflikt (official documents of the German Embassy
in Nanking in microfilm). An analysis of these would not be an impossible
task. From my investigation I conclude that Rabe's Facts of Nanking is
composed of the following items:
1. A description of what really took place;
2. An excessive dramatization of facts;
3. Deletion of the vital points;
4. Accounts that sanction the validity of false rumors spread by the
The discussion which follows illustrates the above points.

The discrepancies between Rabe's private diary and official documents

On page 98 of Rabe's diary is a record of the casualties from shrapnel
fallen in the Safety Zone:
Howitzer shells had fallen. They had landed in front of and behind the
Foo Chong Hotel. Twenty persons were killed and twelve were injured.....In
addition, another shell landed [this time the shells had fallen in the
buildings of a middle school]. There were thirteen deaths.
Rabe did not clearly state whether the casualties were soldiers or
civilians. A clever maneuver. The facts of the matter is that the damage
in the Safety Zone by stray shells was  very litle . And this was
certified by none other than Document Number 9 of the International
Committee which is signed by Rabe.  Very litle  could not have been used
if the casualties included civilians. What Rabe regarded as the dead are
soldiers. An important matter has been omitted. In Robert Wilson's
letter, dated on December 14, 1937, it is written that  in the firing of
guns the Japanese Army has apparently made special efforts to keep the Saf
ety Zone intact . And we find in the document an expression of thanks by
Rabe, the committee chairman, to the Japanese Army. Although Professor
Hata Ikuhiko makes no mention of this message of thanks, Professor Watanabe
Shoichi affirms its existence. It is found in the Document Number 1.
We come to thank you for the fine way your artillery spared the Safety
Document Number 1 begins with these words. A matter that deserves our
attention is that in the Japanese translation the portion  the fine way 
has been deleted, which is probably the reason why Professor Hata missed

The inconsistencies of Rabe's excessively dramatized diary

Rabe's entry for December 13 (the first day after surrender) provides
ample materials for consideration.
We proceed along the main street with extreme caution. Turning to the
Shanghai Road we found there also the dead bodies of many civilians. When
we looked ahead we saw Japanese soldiers approaching from the other side.
Among them was a military doctor who spoke German. He informed us that the
Japanese commander would be coming in two days (p. 109).

There is mention of many dead bodies. If the burial account of the Red
Swastika Society is correct, the number for the Shanghai Road would amount
to twenty. In other words there were only twenty bodies there. Were they
the corpses of  civilians  as Rabe describes?
When defeated, regular soldiers of the Chinese Army would regularly throw
away their uniforms for civilian clothes and flee. The supervising unit of
the Chinese Army normally shot their own troops in the back. A Chinese
officer in the proximity of Rabe, who was urging the Chinese troops to give
up their arms, fired his carbine. Perhaps the dead bodies were fleeing
Chinese troops shot by that officer.
On December 8, Tang Sheng-chih issued an evacuation order. The order
restricted civilians to the Safety Zone. Mention of this order is found in
Japanese and American accounts. Nevertheless, none is found in Rabe's
On the other hand, Document Number 9 of the International Committee,
signed by Rabe, states:
[o]n the 13th when your troops entered the city, we had nearly all the
civilian population gatherd in a Zone.
We are led to believe that nearly all of the civilians had moved to the
Safety Zone. And they could not have been in the battleground between the
Shanghai Road and the Chung Shan North Road. This leads us to believe that
'civilians' in Rabe's account were in fact 'soldiers'.
If it is true that Japanese soldiers shot civilians, a record of the
appeal by fourteen American residents of Nanking to Espy of the American
Embassy, should have mentioned the shooting. Yet there is nothing in that
account. This would mean that the Japanese Army did not shoot at

Rabe's conspicuous falsification

Rabe of course did not specifically state that Japanese soldiers shot
civilians. We should pay close attention to the fact that the contents of
Rabe's diary change subtly in his report to Hitler.

According to a Japanese soldier on outpost duty who was riding bicycle,
the supreme commander would be arriving as early as three days later. Here
and there were the dead bodies of Chinese civilians. Upon examining
several of them, I found that they had been shot in the back at point-blank
range. Perhaps when they were trying to flee (p. 312).
 Japanese soldier on outpost duty who was riding a bicycle ;  shot in the
back at point-blank range ;  perhaps they were trying to flee  -- these
portions differ from Rabe's earlier account. It would be less objectionable
if the differences were subtle ones of two or three days. But Rabe's diary
in his report to Hitler includes mention of civilians shot in the back at
point-blank range. His original diary does not include this account. The
act of altering the reports of others for one's convenience is called
'falsification', and here it would be the undisguised falsification by Rabe
himself -- his magnified publicity. It would not fit the claim that Rabe
made a  plain description  of the facts (Fukuda Kazuya.

The Report to Hitler - Fictitious Stories

Rabe's report to Hitler further alleges:
On the pretext of being former soldiers...thousands of persons were
killed by machine gun fire or by hand grenades ;
Gasoline was poured on them and they were burned alive ;
Women from ages eight to seventy were raped...and beer bottles and bamboo
could be seen protruding from the privates of the dead bodies. I had seen
these victims within my own eyes;
I wonder if half the population of the city has died from the pestilence.
In his entry for December 24, Rabe was proud to express his desire to
someday testify as a witness to Nanking and to do so he wished to confirm
the events with his own eyes. Those who comment on the Facts of Nanking
do not look carefully into these stories but extol it to be  the
absolute document on the subject which
is verified by Rabe himself . The facts remains, however, that his original
diary does not contain the statements  thousands of persons were killed by
machine gun fire or by hand grenades ;  gasoline was poured on them and
they were burned alive ;  beer bottles and bamboo ; and  pestilence . It
would be all the better if his report to Hitler were based upon an accurate
report of each day's events. Nevertheless, his report contains details
that are not found in his diary. Wouldn't this ordinarily be referred to
as 'fabrication'?

Extensive use of the Safety Zone by the Chinese Army

Several hours before the surrender at 18.30 hours on December 12, Chinese
soldiers came running like mad from the Chung Hwa Gate to the Safety Zone.
Rabe witnessed this event. The escape by Chinese soldiers into the Safety
Zone was not an emergency evacuation but a prescribed plan of action.
Should this be an overstatement, we could probably call it a plan of action
given tacit permission. As they approached the Zone, soldiers got back
their mental balance and began to walk in a leisurely manner. This leads
us to the following important conclusion. Except for the soldiers who died
fighting in the fortress and those who were shot by their supervising unit
around the southern gate (Chung Hwa Gate) and the northern gate, the small
number of troops that escaped from the walls, and those who had from the
very start been stationed in the Safety Zone - except for these troops,
almost all of the soldiers in the fortress (numbering in the tens of
thousands) had escaped into the Safety Zone. And from the very start it
sees that the neutral zone for refugees had become the zone for Chinese
soldiers. Shields, the manager of the Nanking branch of the China
Industrial Foreign Trade Association, was later to admit that such shameful
use of the Safety Zone was a failure. While possessing the authority to
ignore the Safety Zone, the Japanese Army protected it. The Safety Zone
was to be the cause of the Nanking problem.

The Head of the Neutral Zone Committee assists the hiding and escape of
enemy soldier

At 20.00 hours on the 12th December, about the time when the commander of
the Chinese forces Tang Sheng-chih escaped, Colonel Lung and Colonel Chow
visit Rabe again. They asked that he shelter them. Rabe, who has no pangs
of conscience, took them in.
Here, there is no trace of the enraged Rabe who two days earlier was angry
with badly wounded soldiers invaded into the Safety Zone on the ground
that it was a violation of agreement. If the presence of wounded soldiers
is a violation of agreement, isn't presence of high ranking officers in the
Safety Zone an even more serious violation? Rabe's seeming indifference
indicates his bereft reason.
His actions did not end there. From the very time after the surrender, he
had hidden such persons as Loh Fu-hsian (real name: Huang Kuang-han). In
his diary, he made mention of this act seventy-one days later in his entry
for February 22 on the following year. If a diary is supposed to be an
honest record of each day's events, Rabe's diary is not necessarily that
kind of diary. At a later date, his experiences were carefully compiled
from a certain perspective, and while rearranging them he produced a diary
that would serve his desired purpose. In his garden called 'Siemens Camp'
there were 650 refugees that I think included Huang Kuang-han and many
other soldiers.
Later, when Rabe returned to Germany, he got on board a steamship with a
Chinese named Huang Kuang-han whom he reported as his servant and helped
him escape to Hong Kong. He sheltered high ranking officers and assisted
their escape. Rabe saw himself as a triumphant soldier, yet we see here a
chairman of the neutral zone committee with his rational faculties
What did the colonels do during their sixty-four days of illegal residence?

In his entry for February 15, 1938, Rabe wrote,  Lung and Chow left my
home last night . The Chinese officers were illegal residents of Rabe's
home for a sixty-four day period. The efforts of the Japanese Army to
unmask Chinese soldiers were a far cry from  an operation of
thorough annihilation .
Colonel Lung stated,  I and Chow had been left behind to look after the
wounded and injured . As his statement indicates, their superior, Tang
Sheng-chih, had intentionally made them remain. And if that was the case
they should have gone directly to the diplomatic office where the Red Cross
hospital was arranged for the Chinese. But they went to Rabe's house. I
wonder what their purpose was.
The January 4, 1938, New York Times article provides us with a powerful
clue. Ara Kenichi pointed out that the article had been around. So I
searched for the article in the Nanking Jiken Shiryoushuu Dai 1 kan Amerika
Kankei Shiryouhen(Collected materials of the Nanking Incident, vol.1,
Materials Relating to America), which contains articles on the incident
from the New York Times. The said article could not be found. I
discovered it, however, in the microfilm, 'Ex-Chinese Officers Among U.S.
Refugees - Colonel and His Aids Admits Blaming the Japanese for Crimes in
It reads:
American professors remaining at Ginling College in Nanking as foreign
members of the Refugee Welfare Committee were seriously embarrassed to
discover that they had been harboring a deserted Chinese Army colonel and
six of his subordinate officers. The professors had, in fact, made the
colonel second in authority at the refugee camp.
The officers, who had dofted their uniforms during the Chinese retreat from
Nanking, were discovered living in one of the college buildings. They
confessed to their identity after Japanese Army searchers found they had
hidden six rifles, five revolvers, a dismounted machine gun and ammunition
in the building.
The ex-Chinese officers in the presence of Americans and other foreigners
confessed looting in Nanking and also that one night they dragged girls
from the refugee camp into the darkness and the next day they blamed
Japanese soldiers for the attacks.
The ex-officers were arrested and will be punished under martial law and
probably executed.
The throwing off of uniforms and the hiding of weapons and ammunition is
an obvious violation of international law in time of war. The
International Committee asserted repeatedly   [w]e can safely asure you
that there are no groups of disarmed Chinese soldiers in the Safety Zone 
(Document Number 10). Their assertion was not the facts that were revealed
in the New York Times article.
There is no mention in Rabe's diary about the looting and assault by
Chinese officers. The Record of the Nanking Safety Zone that is signed by
Rabe also does not include such an information. Why is this? While Rabe
visited the Japanese Embassy almost daily to state his protest, the details
of the New York Times article went unchallenged. The facts were admitted
and ignored, and finally they were buried in darkness.

Secret anti-Japanese activities by Chinese officers

In the official records of the German Embassy in Nanking, January 25 issue
of the China Press, an American English newspaper in Shanghai, is found.
An article that is identical with what was reported in the New York Times
is found there. According to the China Press article, up to December 28,
1,575 Chinese soldiers, which included 23 officers, were discovered in the
Safety Zone, and machine guns and rifles had also been hidden there. Among
the officers was the commander of the Nanking peace preservation corps,
Wang Hsing-lau who pretended to be Chen Mi. Being in command of the fourth
branch detachment of the International refugee zone, Chen Mi committed
 looting, intimidating and raping  together with three subordinates.
On the other hand, a diary kept on January 4 by Major General Iinuma
Mamoru reports the Vice Commander of the Chinese 88th Division was
arrested. The entry to indicates that the Vice Commander, Lieutenant
General Ma Pou-Shang, had been active in  instigating anti-Japanese
disorders  in the Safety Zone.
Refugees in the Safety Zone were apparently aware of these happenings.
Some came forward to attest to the fact that the looting, arson, and
assault had been committed by Chinese soldiers.
Certain Chinese refugees swore to the fact that those who readily
committed such crimes as looting, arson, and rape were the Chinese Army,
and not the Japanese Army .
This is a line from McCallum's diary (January 8, 1938) that was submitted
to the Tokyo War Crimes Trial but not read. The act of breaching public
peace is  disturbance . We probably could not deny the fact that Colonel
Lung and Colonel Chow had been left behind to instigate disturbances.
Rabe's home and Tang Sheng-chih's residence may have been the likely
headquarters for such activities.
The formal announcement of the closing of the Safety Zone was made on
February 8. For the colonels, Nanking was a dangerous zone without the
Safety Zone and they saw no point in staying there. It was six days later
that they disappeared into the night from Rabe's home. Who was Colonel
Lung? And for the identity of Colonel Chow? Rabe's diary revealed that
Loh Fu-hsian's real name was Huang Kuang-han. But there is nothing said in
Rabe's diary and even in his later report to Hitler about the identities of
these colonels whom he had hidden in his home for sixty-four days. Rabe
must have been concerned that a statement about their identity may have led
to a serious problem.

Arson committed nearby Rabe's residence

Reading Rabe's diary, one is almost puzzled by the occurrence that arson
and rape cases concentrated in the vicinity of his home. For example, it
is recorded on December 19 that a large fire broke out at the south and
north of Rabe's residence. On December 20, there was another arson. On
January 3, three houses nearby were burned. On January 5, there was also
an arson, and and again flames were rising from the neighbor on the 9th.
When Rabe and his servant visited the Japan-China joint-store on December
27, a time when business were probably not open, a fire broke out as soon
as they arrived. Rabe must have witnessed the fire. From his diary,
however, there is nothing to prove conclusively that the fire were set by
Japanese soldiers. In spite of the lack of evidence, Rabe writes,  there
is already no reason to doubt that Japanese soldiers are burning away the
city . The flames that seemed to be reaching out for Rabe had a telling

Self planned feigned assaults?

How very strange are Rabe's allegations!  The History of the Battle of
Nanking Based on Testimonies (8)reported that the city behind the
fortress was off the limits to Japanese soldiers. Yet many 'Japanese
soldiers' visited Rabe's home to commit rape. Their restriction, however,
was limited to the extent that when they came to the wall, there was police
cordon and also a warning whistle. In spite of this Rabe's claims that in
the manner of raging waves,  the Japanese soldiers pounded at my back door,
but when I went out to see, they ran away hurriedly .
In all times and places, the offender fears the presence of a witness.
Would it therefore not be the case that an assault would be conducted in a
desolate place and away from a boisterous crowd? Why did the Japanese
soldiers select the very moment when Rabe was just at home? Why did they
not aim at the moment when he was away?
On one occasion, Rabe returned home to find that a 'Japanese soldier' had
broken in, as if almost waiting for his arraival. The soldier was about to
commit assault, but Rabe saved the victim from danger  by a hair's breath .
These visits were well-timed or even miraculous. We cannot help
suspecting that these were intentionally made by someone who was very
knowledgeable about Rabe's schedule. My inference is that they were
feigned assaults planned by the two colonels who were hiding at Rabe's
house. Siao Tao Yuen, the area of Rabe's residence, had the vast vegetable
garden, the plantation, and the Nanking Language School that was a refugee
camp. It was an ideal place for the Chinese soldiers to hide themselves
after their sortie. Moreover, the westerners in the district could not
clearly distinguish between Japanese and Chinese. Chinese soldiers could
disguise themselves as their Japanese counterparts without their identity
being known.

Rabe, who believed the rumors and gossips to be true

The assaults on women that seemed to ambush Rabe finally convinced him
that the groundless rumors were actual facts.
It is said that last night a thousand women were raped. Alone in the
Ginling Girls College, more than a hundred young women were said to be
This is what Rabe put down in his diary on December 17, the day of the
ceremony marking the entry of the Japanese Army into Nanking. Since Rabe
had gone to the trouble of recording the rumor of the rape of a thousand
women, wouldn't his account of the attack on more than a hundred women at
the College lone be part of the rumor? Professor Nakamura Akira inferred
about this possibility, however, it was disclaimed by Professor Hata.
A recall of Professor Minnie Vautrine, who created the largest refugee
camp for women in the campus of Women's College under question, appear in
the combined July-August issue of the Chinese Recorder in 1938 under the
title 'Sharing the 'abundant life' in a refugee camp'. While it is
impossible to cite her entire article here as the space does not allow, we
find in her writing no record of more than a hundred young women having
been raped at Women's Collrgr alone. In other words, mention of this rape
had been omitted (denied) as being untrue. These rumors were probably the
work of the colonels who were hiding in the College. As Secretary
Scharffenberg also stated,  Und bei all den Ausschreitungen wird ja immer
nur eine Seite geh rt.  or  And in all the cases of violence only the
one-sided reports are always heard .

The invalid account of wartime international law violations

Document Number 4 of the International Committee (December 15) declares
that the International Committee considered the regular soldiers of the
Chinese Army to be the 'lawful prisoners of war'. This is to be their
first and the last claim. And this was not because of their being
indifferent to wartime international law as claimed by Professor Hata.
Rather it came from resignation to the fact that the Chinese soldiers did
not fall under the category of prisoners in wartime international law. For
this reason, the International Committee did never again touch upon wartime
international law. Why is it that the Chinese soldiers did not fall under
the category of prisoners? Though we are keen on this matter, Rabe remains
Yet, even if the Chinese soldiers were executed  without a trial , no
one was able to claim that the Japanese Army had violated the wartime
international law. Any attempt to do so got nowhere: it just ended up in
repeating Bates' allegation that in the fall of 1938 the Japanese Army
slaughtered 30,000 prisoners. To substitute the facts fraudulently, Rabe
and others alleged continuously that the Japanese Army executed 'former
soldiers' (i.e., civilians). By so doing the Japanese Army would be found
guilty of killing civilians. Yet, the fact remains that they could do
nothing but withdrawing their allegations about violations of wartime
international law.

Burials were the fifteen thousand bodies at the most

Let us leave Rabe's diary for a while and examine the five records about
the burials held during the time. In these records, the only burial
organization is the Red Swastika Society. There is also the Report of the
Nanking International Relief Committee (Summer 1939) which was issued while
Professor Bates was the chairman. The report states:
For example, $2,540 was used to complete the necessary burial
enterprises undertaken by the Red Swastika Society, which covered over
40,000 bodies otherwise uncared for.
The burying in Nanking had absolutely no relation with the
Suuzendo(Tsun-shan-tang). It was completed by the Red Swastika Society.
Moreover, the Report of the Nanking International Committee claims that the
work was done in  some 40 working days . On the other hand, Mr. Maruyama
Susumu, a member of the Nankin Tokumu Kikan (the Special Service
Agency)and a Manchuria Railways employee in Shanghai office, who
supervised the burial work, stated at my interview with him that the burial
began during the first part of February and ended about March 15.
In October last year, when I first started to read Rabe's Facts of
Nanking, I read on hoping to find his account of the burials. When I
discovered his inadvertent remark that the burying began on February 1, I
was struck with surprise. Rabe's diary supported Maruyama's testimony.
As already mentioned, the actual burial work took some forty days. The
work started on February 1 and ended on March 15, or at the very latest, on
the 20th. In other words, December, January and after March 15, Red
Swastika record of the burial is a made-up story.
What about the actual number of bodies buried? I assume that in February,
over a 25 day period (Rabe claims that 200 bodies were buried a day in
February, while Maruyama says that the number was normally 180), 5,000
bodies were buried. In March, basing my estimate on Secretary Rosen's
report that  the Red Swastika Society daily buried 500 to 600 bodies  over
a 15 day period (600 bodies a day), 9,000 bodies were buried. The most
inflated calculation could therefore not exceed 15,000 bodies. This leads
us then to the following conclusions.
1. The Red Swastika Society's report of having buried about 43,000
bodies was a counterfeit which padded more than thrice the actual number of
the dead bodies.
2. Rabe's contention that we foreigners assume the number of the
murdered to have ranged from 50,000 to 60,000 was an excessively
sensational report. There would be no murder without a dead body.
3. There is no basis for Professor Hata's theory that 40,000 were
In that case, were the estimated 15,000 bodies the victims of a massacre?
Because of the limited space available, let me here only point out the fact
that Bates' theory of 40,000 massacred has been repeatedly erased (denied)
from the Republic of China's official record. I have to leave a further
discussion of his theory for another occasion, since I have already
exceeded the limitations upon the space for this article.


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