Overview | Committee | John Rabe | Minnie Vautrin | Miner Searle Bates | John G. Magee
Minne Vautrin was a Christian missionary who made her way to China through teaching. She first helped found a girls school in Luchowfu and later in the years, built and established the Ginling Girls College in Nanking.
Minnie Vautrin was one of the fewest women in the International Committee for the Safety Zone. The Ginling Girls College was within Safety Zone area and became a haven of refuge, at times sheltering up to 10,000 women. During the Nanking Massacre, she worked tirelessly in welcoming thousands of female refugees to stay in college campus, and many times had to negotiate with Japanese officers who were looking for Chinese soldiers and prostitutes in the Safety Zone. She often pleaded for the live of thousands of Chinese and was successful at times but not always.
Minnie Vautrin was deeply affected by the atrocities going on in Nanking which caused her to feel responsible for the lives she couldn’t save. She stayed in Nanking until May 1940, when she had experienced a nervous breakdown, and returned to the United States. A year to the day she left Nanking, Vautrin sealed her house tightly, turned on the gas and committed suicide. (Follis)
Here are entries from her diary—provided to illustrate the events of the Japanese occupation in Nanking.
December 15, 1937
The Japanese have looted widely yesterday and today, have destroyed schools, have killed citizens, and raped women. One thousand disarmed Chinese soldiers, whom the International Committee hoped to save, were taken from them and by this time are probably shot or bayoneted. In our South Hill House Japanese broke the panel of the storeroom and took out some old fruit juice and a few other things. (Open door policy!) (K.M)
January 2, 1938
Warm, bright sunshine day. What a blessing for those whose homes have been burned and those whose building has been looted. As rice was being served this morning a car drove in with three elderly Japanese women, who were representatives of a Women's National Defense Organization. They did not make many comments but seemed interested in looking about. How I wish I could speak Japanese in order to explain something of what these refugees have suffered. (K.M)
Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. New York: Basic Books, 1997.
Follis, Don. "Illinois missionary became heroine in China." Peoria Trader 23July2007 <http://www.peoriatrader.com/follis/121997.html>.
K, M. "Introduction; Reign of Terror; Postwar Judgment; In the 1990s." Online
Documentary: The Nanking Atrocities. August 2000. 21 Jul 2007
"The Establishment of the Nanjing International Safety Zone." Nanjing 1937: The Memorial Hall of the victims in Nanking Massacre by Japanese Invaders. 2005. Shuiximen Street Nanjing Chinese. 21 Jul 2007