Fewer than 400 Nanjing Massacre survivors still alive

13:32, April 06, 2011      

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Photo, taken on April 5, shows Ma Shaoguo finding his uncle's name among the newly-carved victims' names on the Wailing Wall of the Nanjing Massacre. On that day, the expansion work of "the Wailing Wall of Nanjing Massacre" was officially complete and nearly 2,100 more names of victims were carved on the wall. As of now, a total of 10,311 names of victims who were killed in the Nanjing Massacre are on the Wailing Wall. (Xinhua Photo/Han Yuqing)

Fewer than 400 Nanjing Massacre survivors are still alive since many of them have passed away from old age, said Zhu Chengshan, the director of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, on April 5.

Zhu said those survivors form a special group of people who are victims of World War II as well as eye witnesses to history. Their oral history about what happened at that time is the best proof for describing the facts of history and fighting against the Japanese right-wing forces. He also said those survivors had done much over the years to let more people know the truth of the Nanjing Massacre.

In order to find the survivors of the massacre, the Nanjing government launched a census in 1984, 1991 and again in 1997. In 1997, the Nanjing government encouraged more than 10,000 students to do research over their summer vacations and finally found 1,213 survivors who were still alive.

Zhu said that the Memorial Hall and some experts have done lots of works to save survivors' testimony, such as by publishing those testimonials and lists of the names of survivors. At the same time, they also collected 2,260 boxes of survivors' files.

However, since 73 years have passed after the Nanjing Massacre, many survivors have gone forever. According to the Memorial Hall's statistics, only fewer than 400 survivors are still alive.

At the same time, Zhu said the Memorial Hall is still continuing its search for survivors that have yet to be found. Once their identities have been verified, their files will be kept in the Memorial Hall.

Also, at the day, the expansion work of "the Wailing Wall of Nanjing Massacre" was officially completed and nearly 2,100 more names of victims were carved on the wall. As of now, a total of 10,311 names of victims who were killed in the Nanjing Massacre are on the Wailing Wall.

The Wailing Wall, which stands to the south of the Memorial Hall, was built in 1995, and at the time it had 3,000 names of victims on it to represent the total 300,000 Chinese people who were killed in the Nanjing Massacre. When the Memorial Hall opened in 2007, the names on the wall were increased to more than 8,000.

Now, with the completion of the expansion work, the Wailing Wall was not only expanded from 43 meters to 69.5 meters, but also nearly 2,100 more names were added.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online
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