Minnie Vautrin


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This list also excludes Ms. Iva Hynds, an American nurse at the University Hospital, because I did not find records to indicate her direct connection with any mission. Considering the University Hospital was a missionary institute and her close work relationships, Ms. Hynds probably could be counted as a medical missionary.

A total of eighteen Americans stayed. Religions , 7, 4 of 16 2. Discussion 2. Ginling Campus Before President Wu Yi-fang departed from the Ginling College, she had appointed an Emergency Committee to carry on the responsibility of management through the crisis time, consisting of Ms. Minnie Vautrin, Mrs. Shui-fang Tsen, and Mr. Francis Chen. The Committee members and other staff worked at top speed to put up American flags and Japanese proclamations, burn papers and hide valuables, and prepared spaces for refugees. They emptied eight buildings in good condition and planned a capacity of for the refugee camp [2], 7 December On 8 December, they began to receive the first group of refugee women and children.

Three-hundred people who arrived on the night of 9 December had previously evacuated from the battlefront in Shanghai, Wuxi, Suzhou, and from other places where the Japanese armies were advancing to conquer [2], 9 December Some of them had been residents near the city wall of Nanking but had abandoned their homes under the Chinese military order.

By Saturday, 11 December, a total of refugees were accepted and set down in the Central Building and one of the dormitories [2], 11 December Because most of the early groups of refugees had brought their food with them, the camp had plenty of food in the early days. For the next few days, as conditions for Chinese civilians grew worse, refugee women streamed in from daylight on.

By Thursday, 16 December, the Ginling campus contained more than people [11]. However, from camp refugees, Vautrin and staff immediately realized the unprecedented danger facing women who remained in their own homes. Japanese soldiers searched for any females. On 17 December, Vautrin took about women over to the neighboring University of Nanking refugee camp, while she kept the Ginling camp gate open [11]. On 17 December, more than additional refugees arrived and crammed like sardines in the buildings and stairs, halls, covered ways, and verandas [2], 17 December By 22 December, the number of refugees reached 10, [2], 22 December In her report, she expressed her sympathy to those poor and desperate women and children: Never shall I forget the faces of the young girls as they streamed in—most of them parting from their fathers or husbands at the gate.

Wang, Mr. Hsia, Mary and I spent our days at the gate trying to keep idlers out and let the women come in. At our peak load[,] we must have had ten thousand on the campus I shall never forget the faces of the fathers and husbands as they watched their women folk enter the campus. In addition to providing shelter, the more complicated tasks included feeding the multitude and maintaining the sanitary health of the public.

The well-managed kitchen provided two meals of soft rice or rice each day to the refugees. If the women and girls could afford it, they would pay three copper for a bowl of hot rice; if not, the camp staff would investigate the case and give each of them a red tag entitling them to free rice [11].

To provide for hot water, Vautrin put two men in charge. They moved a big water-stove on campus, so women in Ginling had hot water during the day. Vautrin and her team also slowly worked out solutions to deal with the sanitary issues as lime were used in necessary places and along two deep trenches—one on the hill at the back of the Central Building and another on a hill at the back of the Arts Building.

These trenches were dug to bury the night soil disposal [3], p. For laundry, women washed clothes by hand and hung them on bushes, trees, and fences during most of the day. Japanese troops continuously disturbed the Ginling campus, seeking women to rape and Chinese soldiers to slaughter. During the ten days from 13 to 23 December, every day, ten to twenty groups of Japanese soldiers broke into the campus. Most of them broke through an open side, back gates, or jumped over fences, while only a few charged the front gate.

In order to show a foreign face for security reasons, Vautrin always made sure that she and Ms. Mary D.


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Fine well known as Mrs. Paul de Witt Twinem would never leave the campus at the same time. One of them would permanently hold the letter from the Japanese Embassy in order to safeguard all people in buildings. They raped women and killed families, pillaged belongings, and burned houses. The atrocities made everyone terrified.

The special responsibility accompanying the constant protection of Ginling camp refugees provided Minnie Vautrin with few opportunities to visit the whole city. However, she witnessed firsthand, and recorded, many miserable scenes associated with the Nanking Massacre.

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In dealing with woman and refugee children, she experienced her own forms of serious depression and deep physical hurt that she never resolved in her life. Later, on 31 January, she dared to venture out of the campus.

On December 14, she saw a group of one hundred or more civilians with bound hands walking behind the Japanese soldiers and cavalry and passing the Ginling gate; they were treated as Chinese soldiers and were slaughtered [2], 8 February On 21 December at p. Vautrin wrote: We found the old man lying in [the] middle of the road The old man had refused to go to the Embassy for protection, saying he was sure nothing would harm him Those of you 11 Letter from Minnie Vautrin to Mrs.

Thurston on 9 March Religions , 7, 6 of 16 who have lived in Nanking can never imagine how the streets look like—the saddest sight I ever hope to see. In the Safety Zone the streets are crowded—outside you seldom see anyone but Japanese [2], 21 December Vautrin also made historical records whenever she heard of mass slaughter cases. The Japanese Embassy wanted the Xia Guan electricity plant repaired in order to turn on the lights. John Rabe, then the German business manager of Siemens Company and Chairman of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, got fifty electricity workers together and took them down to the plant.

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On the same afternoon, the Japanese soldiers shot forty-three of them saying that they were employees of the government, but actually, they were not [2], 22 December On 23 December, Mr. She proved her suspicion later. On 26 January, having worked until almost 5 p. A woman she knew and her husband led her and her servant to the pond in the Yang valley: At its edge[,] there were scores of black charred bodies and among them two empty kerosene or gasoline cans.

The hands of the men were wired behind them. How many bodies there were, and whether or not they were machine[-]gunned first, and then burned, I do not know, but I hope so. In a smaller pond to the west were perhaps more charred bodies. The shoes I saw on several men looked like civilian shoes[,] not soldiers. All through the hills are unburied bodies [2], 26 January At 11 a. Some neighboring residents agreed to go with them. The neighbor farmers had collected enough evidence to prove that the Japanese had poured kerosene and gasoline on the bodies first and then ignited the fire.

The soldiers aimed machine guns to mow down those men who ran away, and four set on fire ran to the house in their agony and had been burned with the house. By means of bamboo poles and a wooden hook the body of the man was slowly pushed to the bank. His clothes were those of civilian. Between 5 p. Yan visited Vautrin. He said he had heard that, during the early days of occupation, 10, had been killed at San Cha He, 20, to 30, at Yan Zi Ji, and about 10, at Xia Guan [2], 16 February He was sure many husbands and sons would never return.

Vautrin also wrote of mass burials, providing further evidence of the Massacre. On 25 February when she went to the University Hospital to participate in a meeting of the Nanking Christian workers, she passed the Anhui burial ground. Most had been killed in the first days of occupation. On 6 April, she learned of the work relief project of the International Committee.

Two-hundred men connected with the Red Swastika Society were burying bodies found in country areas [2], 6 April On the afternoon of 15 April, she visited the headquarters of the Swastika Society in Nanking where she got additional information from the workers and recorded it as follows: From the time they were able to encoffin bodies, i.

In contrast, she witnessed the aftermath of Japanese sexual crimes perpetrated against women almost every day during the Massacre period. She remembered that all days seemed alike as she arrived at the Ginling gate at a. Twelve-year[-]old girls up to sixty-year[-]old women raped. She documented some of these horrible cases with anguish.

She witnessed Japanese soldiers seizing girls passing the Ginling gate. On 17 December at 4 p. After supper, one of the boys reported to Vautrin and said that many soldiers were on campus and were going through dormitories. Vautrin went with Mr. Li and found two soldiers in front of the Central Building pulling on the door. Li repeated it. One soldier then slapped Vautrin on her face and slapped Mr. Li very severely, and insisted that they open the door. Vautrin pointed to the side door and took them in.

They went through upstairs and downstairs looking for Chinese soldiers. When they exited the building, Vautrin saw two additional soldiers had exited the building leading three servants bound together. Coolie, gardener. Vautrin followed the Japanese soldiers to the front door. There, she found a large group of Chinese including her staff, kneeling there beside the road.

Later, Rev. Wilson Plumer Mills, Dr. Lewis Smythe, and Mr. George Fitch arrived in Ginling. When they got to the front gate, they were held up by a patrol of Japanese soldiers under the command of a pugnacious and impudent lieutenant. He lined these men up on one side and Ms. Vautrin, Mrs. Tsen, and Mrs. After discussion with his soldiers, several times he ordered all foreign men to leave. Vautrin and the Ginling staff dared not move for fear of being shot. They remained still until a quarter to eleven.

Later, they learned that while this was going on, all other Japanese soldiers had climbed over the wall and selected 12 women and took them out at side gates, and had seized two additional women from the East Court. During the morning of December 19, after another night of sexual rampage, many women and girls kneeled in terror and urgently begged to be admitted. Later that day, Vautrin traveled from one end of the campus to the other trying to remove groups of Japanese soldiers from the refugee camp.

She went up to South Hill three times, then to the back campus, and then to the old Faculty House where she was told two soldiers had just gone upstairs. On the day before Christmas, Vautrin painfully experienced another shocking tragedy.

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Fortunately[,] he had an interpreter with him, an old Chinese interpreter for the Embassy. The request was that they [are] allowed to pick out prostitute women from our ten thousand refugees. They said they wanted one hundred. They feel if they can start a regular[ly] licensed place for the soldiers, then they will not molest innocent and decent women.


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After promising they would not take any of the latter, we permitted them to begin their search, the adviser sitting in my office during the search. After a long time[,] they finally secured twenty-one, but group after group of girls have asked me if they will select the other seventy-nine from among the decent girls—and all I can answer is that they will not do so if it is in my power to prevent it [2], 24 December In the afternoon, Vautrin took her turn staying in the office.

At about 3 p. He beat a hasty retreat when he heard my voice.

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On 28 January, a Japanese officer showed up at the meeting of district heads in the Safety Zone. The meeting was held at the headquarters of the Autonomous Committee Zi zhi wei yuan hui , the puppet government established by the Japanese on 1 January. The meeting announced that all refugees in the Safety Zone must go back to their homes by 4 February. Later, some women returned to their homes but again many of them were robbed, raped, and killed.

She related her troubled story. During that 12 Letter from Dr.

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Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing

Robert O. Murder by wholesale and rape by the thousands of cases. Religions , 7, 9 of 16 morning, she had persuaded a man who worked with her in the same family to accompany her and go back to the home to get belongings that might remain there. The woman was seized and raped by five Japanese soldiers, and the man was slapped and robbed of nine dollars. She and her husband had returned to their home on Sunday, but her husband had been forced to get out of their home and two soldiers had raped her. How can young girls be asked to go home? Again today, every time I went across the campus a group would gather and implore me to make it possible for them to stay.

How my heart aches for them! On 15 March at a. John G. Magee, then the chairman of the International Red Cross Committee of Nanking, to the south of the city to take pictures related to another one of these tragedies. She learned that a year-old woman had been raped 18 or 19 times and her year-old mother twice. In the sight, most of the south gate streets were still very much deserted, and among the people, there were only a few old women. Its members had been composed entirely of international neutrals with a core body of missionaries.

In the practice of relief, it worked in cooperation with other institutes serving in the city, including the Nanking International Red Cross, the University Hospital, the Christian schools, and churches, etc. At first, the work for the refugees was carried out by three commissions: Food, Housing, and Sanitation, and later the Rehabilitation Commission was added. According to historian Miner Searle Bates who worked as a Disciples of Christ missionary professor in Nanking, very nearly , people were packed into the Safety Zone in the last desperate rush after the fall of the city on 13 December [9] Of those refugees, approximately 70, were located in 25 large concentration centers or camps for the second half of December and 62, throughout January.

Six camps in service for the period of December to February had been closed by early March. Thirteen more were closed in March and April. Through to 21 May , only six carried for people [2], 24 May The Ginling College was one of those last six camps. It maintained a camp for refugee women and their children, numbering some 10, during the worst days of December, declining gradually in January, and remaining at around to the end of March [2], 16 March 15 and around to the end of May [2], 29 May The history of the camp was closely connected with issues of security and poverty.

No barrier had been found in race, nationality or religious beliefs among the members of the College Emergency Committee and staff or volunteers who desired to aid the poor in their time of need. During the terror and destruction of the Nanking Massacre and the period of later relief, Minnie Vautrin and her team deployed several rehabilitative and Christian educational programs.

Additionally, she played a leading role in the refugee camp daily life. The numbers of refugees in the Safety Zone were: February for 36,, March for 26,, and April for 21, Chen checked on the Ginling camp population which stood at only in six buildings with number following the name of the building : Central , Science , Recitation Hall , Northeast Dormitory , Northwest Dormitory 78, Southeast or Faculty House Dormitory I used the Ginling College map from source [3] no page number drawn by Suping Lu to indicate the names of buildings in this note.

Religions , 7, 10 of 16 2. It provided Chinese broad bean can dou as the exclusive food of the poorest people to be added to the rice gruel. Vautrin requested broad beans for the Ginling camp women and children, as they were among the poorest and needed basic nutrition. On 11 April, Mr. Chen finally finished reorganizing the kitchen and added the beans to the diet [2], 11 April Partly supported by the Red Cross funds, a squad from the University Hospital was given facilities and assistance in generating a preventive campaign among the refugee camps.

At the same time, they distributed large supplies of cod liver oil among the children of the camps. The University Hospital acted as an agent of the International Committee. From March , the Committee maintained a supply of powdered milk for use among refugee babies. Tsen and her three helpers were giving milk to 34 babies and cod liver oil to under 12 in Ginling camp [2], 10 March Vautrin also kept close ties with the University Hospital, the University of Nanking, and other Christian institutes.

Up to 10 March, Dr. Richard Freeman Brady had vaccinated more than persons in the Safety Zone camps since his arrival on 21 February. About of those vaccinated were located at Ginling [2], 10 March From 26 to 29 April Dr. Lee and several assistants and nurses arrived in the Safety Zone to provide inoculations against typhoid and cholera.

During those four days, they inoculated Ginling refugees [2], 10 March Tsen had organized it very well without a murmur. Cash Relief, Work Relief, and Small Investment During the spring and summer of , Vautrin and her team continued their efforts in cash relief, work relief, and providing small investments for productive businesses.

Cash relief gave some help to the people of the bottom class and aided their return home and their independent work outside the refugee Safety Zone. Vautrin and Mrs. Tsen also applied work relief to provide support for those in most need in the Ginling camp. Using a small allowance from the International Committee, they paid salaries to extra assistants and servants in the divisions of business, supervision, education, and health.

Rachel Wang, Mr. Djao, and Mr. In April, Mrs. Tsen and her assistants organized the poorest women in camp for sewing of civilian clothes and 19 for weeding, all to be provided with small payments [2], 5 and 11 April A group of American women interested in helping children in China sent the Ginling camp, through a friend in China, a sum of fifty dollars Chinese currency.

After an investigation, Vautrin and her colleagues decided to choose ten women with the most pressing needs. Her husband Chen was Her diary and reports provide a detailed account of the situation in Nanking under Japanese occupation, especially the atrocities known as the Nanking Massacre, which continued into the late spring of Can no long forge ahead and make plans for the work, for on every hand there seem to be obstacles of some kind.

I wish I could go on furlough at least once. A year to the day after she left Nanking. She ended her own life. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Mary B. Treudley, This Stinging Exultation Other Stories.

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