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Dane helped save thousands during Nanjing Massacre - book launched today

07.12.2010  08:25
Mr. Bernhard Arp Sindberg, a Danish citizen who helped save thousands of Chinese citizens during the Nanjing Massacre, is the main topic of a new book launched on 17 May at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). The book is written by Mr. Dai Yuanzhi, a senior journalist with China Youth Daily’s Jiangsu branch.

During 107 intense days in the winter of 1937/1938, Mr. Sindberg protected a refugee camp at Jiangnan Cement Plant outside Nanjing together with Mr. Karl Günther, a German citizen. On several occasions they resisted Japanese soldiers’ entrance into the area. In the factory compound Sindberg also ran a small field hospital. Mr. Sindberg was an employee of the Danish company F.L. Smidt sent to guard the company’s cement production equipment at Jiangnan Cement Plant during the Japanese invasion of China.

Cover illustration from the book.

These historical events and the story of Mr. Bernhard Arp Sindberg are documented in the book “1937-1938 A Dane in Bloodstained Nanjing - Testimony on Humanity and Violence”, which was launched at Beijing Foreign Studies University today.

Sindberg family members participate in book launch
Present during the book launch were Mr. Sindberg’s niece Ms. Mariann Arp Stenvig together with her husband. Chairman of the University Council at BFSU, Mr. Yang Xueyi, as well as Denmark’s Ambassador to China, Mr. Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, both spoke at the event. The author, Mr. Dai Yuanzhi, gave a presentation on his book, the first book ever written on Mr. Bernhard Arp Sindberg. 

From left to right: Deputy Chief Editor of China Youth Daily, Mr. Liu Jian, Ambassador of Denmark to China, Mr. Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, niece of Mr. Sindberg, Ms. Mariann Andersen Stenvig and her husband Mr. Ole Torben Hansen, and author of the book, Mr. Dai Yanzhi.

“This first book on Mr. Sindberg helps us to get a much more complete picture of Mr. Sindberg’s life, his personality and not least his humanitarian efforts”, Ambassador Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen said during his speech.

“The 26-year old Mr. Sindberg sheltered, treated and saved the lives of thousands of refugees”, the Ambassador added.

Sindberg part of Nanjing Massacre Memorial Exhibition
In some cases, Mr. Sindberg, travelled dangerous roads into the Nanjing Safety Zone bringing food to the International Committee working with refugees there.

During his stay at the Jiangnan Cement Plant and on his trips, Mr. Sindberg recorded a number of war crime cases and delivered his report to the International Safety Committee in Nanjing. He also took part in revealing the documentation on the Nanjing Massacre to the media and others in Geneva and Denmark after he left China in 1938. For his deeds Mr. Sindberg later was honoured by the Chinese delegation to the League of Nations as a “Friend of China”. At the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, a silk scarf with the words “Brave Deeds of a Good Samaritan “ is exhibited alongside his passport and pictures of him and Mr. Günther at the Jiangnan Cement Plant.

For more information on Mr. Sindberg, please contact the author of the book, Mr. Dai Yuanzhi by e-mail.