A true-story account of a German businessman who saved more than 200,000 Chinese during the Nanjing massacre in 1937-38.
- Director:Florian Gallenberger
- Genre:Biography | Drama | History | War
- Runtime:134 min
Ulrich Tukur : John Rabe
Daniel Brühl : Dr. Georg Rosen
Steve Buscemi : Dr. Robert Wilson
Anne Consigny : Valérie Dupres
Dagmar Manzel : Dora Rabe
Official site :-
Fall-Winter 1937. For nearly thirty years, German businessman John Rabe and his wife Dora have resided in Nanking, the Chinese capital of that time. He is the director of the Siemens subsidiary there. The thought of transferring management to his successor Fließ and returning to Berlin is a burden for him. He has grown fond of the country and he knows he is a man of influence there; in the Berlin headquarters he would be just be one of many. During the farewell ball in his honor, Nanking is bombarded by planes of the Japanese forces, which have just conquered Shanghai. Panic breaks out and Rabe has the company gates opened to bring the families of his workers into safety. In a key scene, the people draw a large Nazi flag over their heads; stopping the fighter-bombers from causing more harm. (Germany was in the process of shifting its alliance from China to Japan in those years.)
While the fires are being put out the next morning and the damages are inspected, the remaining foreigners in the city discuss what they can do in the face of the threat. Dr. Rosen, a German diplomat of Jewish background, reports about Shanghai where a safety zone was established for civilians. Valérie Dupres, director of the International Girls College, is enthused and nominates John Rabe, as a German in a way an “ally” of the Japanese, as the chairman of the international committee. This meets though with the initial reluctance of Dr. Robert O. Wilson, head doctor of a local hospital, who harbors great antipathy towards the “Nazi” Rabe. Rabe actually wanted to start his homebound journey the next day. However, just as he and Dora are about to board the passenger liner packed with the fleeing diplomatic corps, she looks into his eyes and sees that he intends to stay after all. Rabe then witnesses an aerial attack on the ship as it sails out, severely damaging it. He becomes greatly depressed, but then dives into the task of organizing a safety zone.
Meanwhile, Japanese forces have captured many National Revolutionary Army soldiers during a battle outside of Nanking. Prince Yasuhiko Asaka orders the prisoners to be massacred. A young major cautiously voices his apprehension about this crime, but is reprimanded. Nanking is then brutally overrun. John Rabe and the international committee however manage to have the Nanking Safety Zone recognized by the Japanese authorities. Hundreds of thousands seek refuge; more than anticipated and overstretching the committee’s resources. Chinese soldiers are officially not permitted in. When a wounded soldier is carried in, as an exception because he is the son of one of the doctors, Dr. Wilson reluctantly accepts this. However, a Japanese squad searches him out and shoots him along with some hospital staff, much to the horror of Dr. Wilson. Read more