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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Person of the week
‘Nanjing’s Schindler’ Bernhard Arp Sindberg
     2015-September-4  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    AS China is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, tributes are being paid to an idealistic young foreigner who helped to save 20,000 people in the face of one of the worst atrocities committed during the eight years of brutal occupation by the Japanese.

    Without some money and rice donated by the young Danish laborer Bernhard Arp Sindberg, 26, Su Guobao and his family wouldn’t have survived the winter of 1937.

    Although the weather was bitterly cold, the climate was the least of people’s worries. The Japanese captured Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, on Dec. 13 and immediately embarked on a six-week massacre in which over 300,000 soldiers and civilians were slaughtered and thousands of women were raped, according to Chinese historical documents.

    Su, who was 10 at that time, lived in Hushan, a village in Tangshan township. He and three members of his family fled to a makeshift refugee camp at the Jiangnan Cement Factory in the Qixia district of the city. However, only three of them made it to the camp because Su’s younger brother was killed by Japanese soldiers as the family made its way across town.

    “Mr. Sindberg asked me to work at the cement factory. He gave me a silver dollar and 9 kilograms of rice and said he would send me to school. I just wanted to survive, and I refused his offer [of education] because it never occurred to me that one day I could go to school. I’ll always be grateful to him and his colleagues,” said Su, who is now 88.

    Over the course of 107 days straddling 1937 and 1938, Sindberg and his colleagues saved about 20,000 Chinese people from the Japanese troops rampaging through the city.

    When he first arrived in China, Sindberg worked as a receptionist at the Cathay Hotel in Shanghai, but he was fired because of his foul temper. The same thing happened when he worked for a Danish-owned milk producer. However, Sindberg managed to secure a job with Nielsen & Winther, a Danish armaments and aircraft manufacturer, demonstrating the company’s weapons to the Nationalist Government in Nanjing, which was China’s wartime capital until the final months of 1937. Later, he worked as a driver and assistant for a foreign war correspondent who was killed by the Japanese in November 1937.

    After attending the correspondent’s funeral, Sindberg moved to Nanjing and secured a job as watchman at the Jiangnan Cement Factory — China’s biggest cement facility, which used modern techniques and equipment imported from Denmark and Germany — where he was tasked with protecting equipment owned by F.L. Smidth, a Danish engineering company.

    According to Dai Yuanzhi, a former journalist who has spent more than 10 years researching the history of the cement factory refugee camp, Sindberg, a German colleague called Karl Gunther and other expatriate workers established the camp in December 1937.

    “They not only helped civilians, but also rescued injured Chinese soldiers,” Dai said. “To prevent Japanese soldiers from entering the camp, they surrounded the factory with Danish and German national flags.”

    As a further safety measure, a sign was hung on the factory’s front door that read “Danish-German Joint Venture, Jiangnan Cement Factory,” and a giant Danish flag, of about 1,350 square meters, was painted on the roof.

    In his book, “1937-1938 and the Atrocities of Humanity,” Dai describes conditions in the camp: “Huge crowds of people stood or sat next to each other. The sheds were very close; there wasn’t even space for toilets.”

    Xia Quanliang and Su, two survivors from Hushan village, told Dai, “Our lives were worse than those of oxen and horses.”

    Sindberg was also quoted as saying, “Only God knows how those poor people suffered.”

    The Danish watchman and his colleagues established a hospital inside the factory to treat the sick and injured, although seriously ill people were sent to downtown Nanjing to receive treatment. Sinberg begged the Drum TowerHospital and the Red Cross to provide nurses, medicine and bandages.

    He also provided food and information for those who became isolated in the downtown International Safety Zone. Because it was located in a remote area of the city, the factory had a generator, which allowed residents to listen to radio reports about the progress of the war. In addition to saving lives, Sindberg also wrote a journal recording local events and took photos of the atrocities committed by the Japanese.

    “Sindberg and a U.S. priest, John Magee, who was president of the Nanjing Committee of the International Red Cross, photographed the disgusting acts committed by Japanese troops around the cement factory and the nearby Qixia Temple,” said Jing Shenghong, a historian at Nanjing Normal University who specializes in studies of the massacre.

    “He wrote letters to friends in his hometown of Aarhus, Denmark, describing the massacre in detail,” he added.

    On Feb. 2, 1938, Sindberg handed his records of the massacre to John Rabe, the then president of the Nanjing Safety Zone, and Lewis Smythe, secretary of the zone’s international committee.

    After being deported by the Japanese in March 1938, Sindberg traveled to Europe where he toured Denmark and Germany with an exhibition of his writings and photos as a way of alerting the world to Japan’s brutal incursion into China.

    In 1939, Sindberg left Denmark for good and headed to the United States, where he lived until his death in 1983.

    According to his niece, Marianne Andersen, Sindberg rarely mentioned his experiences in wartime China, and only opened up when he’d had too much to drink. “He never told me about his experiences of saving people from the massacre,” Andersen said. “I think it remained a traumatic episode all his life. When you experience extremely horrible things, it’s hard to speak about them.”

    Andersen, a keen gardener, bred a special yellow rose and named it the “Nanjing Forever — Sindberg Rose” after her late uncle.

    In April last year, when Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II visited the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, she praised the yellow roses on display in the Peace Hall. At the same event, Andersen, who was among the Danish invitees, met with Su to remember the victims of the massacre.

    To honor Sindberg’s bravery, the local people sent a silk banner, 98 centimeters long and 36 centimeters wide, to their “savior,” as they called him. Andersen donated the banner, which bears the words “The Good Samaritan” and was signed by 11 people, to the memorial hall in 2006.(SD-Agencies)

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