An exhibition entitled “The World Memory, Peaceful Vision,” which meticulously documents the historical events of the Nanjing Massacre, has been held in prominent cities including Madrid and Budapest. This profound display, organized by the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, presents a chilling account of the atrocities carried out by Japanese forces in the city of Nanjing during the second Sino-Japanese War.
The exhibition is divided into three sections, each serving as a somber reflection on a different aspect of the tragedy. “The Calamity in Nanjing” focuses on the brutalities inflicted upon the city and its inhabitants, painting a picture of the devastation that ensued when Japanese troops captured Nanjing on December 13, 1937. Over a period of six weeks, the occupying forces engaged in rampant killing, theft, sexual violence, and the widespread destruction of property, leading to the deaths of over 300,000 Chinese civilians.
The second part of the exhibition, “Justice Trial,” takes visitors through the legal aftermath of these events, highlighting the international tribunal’s efforts to prosecute the war criminals responsible for the massacre. This section underscores the global outcry against the war crimes and the pursuit of justice for the victims.
The final section, “The City of Peace,” casts a hopeful gaze towards the future, focusing on the themes of reconciliation, learning from the past, and the continuous struggle for a peaceful world.
Over 100 historical photographs and nine replica exhibits, including images captured by renowned Hungarian-born war photographer Robert Capa, illustrate the visceral realities of the wartime period. Capa, who had his works published in the American magazine Life, brought international attention to the conflict in China through his lens. His famous photograph of a young Chinese soldier, which graced the cover of Life on May 16, 1938, epitomizes the courage of the Chinese people during these tumultuous times.
Further enriching the narrative are quotes from Western media, as well as personal diaries and letters that offer third-party perspectives on the events that unfolded. These accounts include reports from Spain’s El Diluvio newspaper, which brought the heinous “killing competition” carried out by Japanese troops in Nanjing to the world’s attention.
Former Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy, speaking at the exhibition, condemned the acts of the Japanese army as an affront to civilized humanity and underscored the importance of such exhibitions in educating the younger generation about the importance of peace and coexistence.
Zhou Feng, the director of the Memorial Hall, reflected on the value of revisiting such painful chapters of history. He emphasized the need for remembering past atrocities to foster a collective longing for peace, urging the global community to defend the richness of diverse civilizations and work together to forge a harmonious future.
The significance of this exhibition is further bolstered by the inclusion of the Nanjing Massacre Archives in UNESCO‘s Memory of the World Register on October 9, 2015, ensuring that the memories of those lost are preserved for future generations. As the Memorial Hall continues to organize these exhibitions worldwide, from Los Angeles to Moscow, from Florence to Manila, and beyond, the message is clear: by confronting the horrors of the past, society can pave the way for a future founded on mutual respect and lasting peace.