ACDIS at Illinois to host symposium on "The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II: The Massacre of Nanjing" honoring Illinois Alumnae Minnie Vautrin and Iris Chang

Matthias Grosse Perdekamp
12/12/2017

Minnie Vautrin Statue at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum in Nanjing, China. Vautrin is a native of Secor, Illinois and a U of I alumna, class of 1912, who saved more than 10,000 girls and woman during the Nanjing Massacre from December 1937 to February 1938. The statue shows Vautrin protecting Chinese civilians who are displayed on the relief in the back. In Nanjing Minnie Vautrin is known as the 'Goddess of Mercy for Women and Children in Nanjing.' Location: Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum in Nanjing, China. Photo by: Matthias Grosse Perdekamp, July 28, 2017
Minnie Vautrin Statue at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum in Nanjing, China. Vautrin is a native of Secor, Illinois and a U of I alumna, class of 1912, who saved more than 10,000 girls and woman during the Nanjing Massacre from December 1937 to February 1938. The statue shows Vautrin protecting Chinese civilians who are displayed on the relief in the back. In Nanjing Minnie Vautrin is known as the 'Goddess of Mercy for Women and Children in Nanjing.' Location: Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum in Nanjing, China. Photo by: Matthias Grosse Perdekamp, July 28, 2017
As acting president of Ginling College, Minnie Vautrin (Illinois class of 1912) sheltered more than 10,000 Chinese women from rape and deadly violence during the Nanjing Massacre. The Program in Arms Control & Domestic and International Security (ACDIS) at Illinois will host a symposium recalling the history of the Sino-Japanese war and honoring Vautrin. The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II: The Massacre of Nanjing will be held on December 16, 2017, at the Levis Faculty Center, Room 300, 919 West Illinois Street, Urbana.

On the 80th anniversary of the fall of Nanjing (Nanking), the symposium will recall the mass atrocities committed in the then Chinese capital by the Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, through the journal entries of Illinois alumna Minnie Vautrin and the book “The Rape of Nanking” by alumna Iris Chang (Illinois class of 1989). The speakers include scholarly experts on the massacre as well as the parents of Iris Chang.

“The symposium will portray two outstanding alumnae who have profoundly touched the lives of many through their undeterred courage in face of adversity,” says ACDIS director Cliff Singer. “Vautrin and Chang are superb examples for our students, staff, and faculty at Illinois. It is inspiring and humbling to learn from them how much just one individual upholding her values can do for others.”

Matthias Grosse Perdekamp, ACDIS faculty and symposium chair notes, “Minnie Vautrin saved more than 10,000 girls and women and very well might be the leading humanitarian to graduate from Illinois since its inception in 1867. Iris Chang is the courageous journalist who triggered the contemporary discussion of the long-ignored mass atrocities during the Sino-Japanese War. This process seems very important for reaching reconciliation and lasting peace in East Asia.”

The symposium is free and open to the public. The program details, travel information, and digital copies of Minnie Vautrin’s diary may be found on the symposium website: http://go.illinois.edu/Nanjing.

The symposium has been generously co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, Department of Physics, Program in Jewish Culture and Society, School of Journalism, University Laboratory High School, and Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program.

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