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About the Production  |  Historical Background & Timeline  |  Safety Zone Committee Members


Miner Searle Bates grew up in Ohio, and with a 1916 Rhodes Scholarship he went to study at Oxford University. He served the YMCA in Mesopotamia until the end of WWI, and then returned to Oxford for graduate work. His missionary work then brought him to Nanking where he taught at the University of Nanking, and when many fled at the beginning of the siege, he was promoted to Vice-President of the University.

George A. Fitch was born in China in 1883 to a missionary family, and he traveled to the US to become a priest. He was ordained in 1909 and returned to China to work at the YMCA in Shanghai, soon transferring to the Nanking branch. Fitch recorded his observations of the rape of Nanking in his diary, and it was the first documentation of the events to leave the city, causing a sensation and outrage in Shanghai.

John G. Magee moved to China in 1912 after being ordained as a minister of the Episcopal Church in the United States. During the rape of Nanking, Magee set up a make-shift hospital to take care of wounded soldiers and refugees. Magee filmed atrocities he witnessed in Nanking on a 16mm camera, and the footage remained hidden in Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

John Rabe was a German businessman who moved to China in 1910 to work for Siemens AG. Rabe was a Nazi party member, and he tried to use his influence to stop the violence in Nanking. During the Japanese occupation of the city, he harbored 650 Chinese civilians on his estate.

Lewis S. C. Smythe moved to Nanking from Chicago in 1934 when the United Christian Missionary Society appointed him to teach at the University of Nanking. In 1937 his wife and children left the city to attend an American school in Kuliang. From December 1937 to February 1938, Smythe wrote sixty-nine letters to the Japanese army, protesting their actions.

Minnie Vautrin moved to Nanking from Illinois in 1912 on behalf of the United Christian Missionary Society. She became the chairman of the education department at Ginling College when it was founded in 1916. When most of the faculty left the country in 1937, Minnie took charge of the campus for the duration of the Japanese siege.

Bob Wilson was born in Nanking in 1906 as the son of a Methodist missionary. After finishing medical school at Harvard, he returned to China to work at the University of Nanking Hospital. He was the only surgeon who stayed in Nanking when the Japanese began air raids on the city.