John Magee (missionary) - Nanking Massacre

Nanking Massacre

During the Nanking Massacre, Magee was performing missionary work in Nanking and was at the same time the chairman of Nanking Committee of the International Red Cross Organization. During the dark period when hundreds of thousands of defenseless Chinese were slaughtered by the Japanese army, Magee was appalled by the atrocity of the Japanese invaders.

Disregarding his own safety, Magee ran out of the Nanking Safety Zone, going through streets and lanes, and took part in rescuing more than 200,000 Chinese soldiers and civilians who were facing being slaughtered. Magee shot several hundred minutes of film with what was then the most advanced 16mm movie camera, which filmed at 6 shots per second. These films recorded men being beheaded by the Japanese army, women raped, and babies who lost parents with corpses lying all over in villages. They are the earliest and the most complete photo evidence of the massacre.

In 1938 when Magee published 10 of the photos in Life magazine the whole world was shocked. Some people wanted to buy Magee's original film for large sums of money for political purposes, yet he would not budge. He said he wanted to give the historical materials to the right person without charge at the right moment.

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