Zhuang Xian Tu born in 1926. She was married in 1941 when she was 16 to a 13 year old boy. She was still celebrating Chinese New Year and her recent marriage in the morning of the second day of Chinese New Year in 1942 when a few Japanese soldiers came to her house to capture her. They looted her neighbors’ houses and it was her household’s turn.
She was struggling with the soldiers to not be dragged out of the house. In the midst of struggle, one of the soldier used the back of his riffle to hit her legs and head. Her young husband was begging the soldier to not take her, but the soldier threatened him with a bayonet and he was too scared to fight. Since she had bounded feet, the soldiers grabbed her neighbor to carry her to the comfort station. The soldiers then took her along with the village’s food her family’s only donkey.
The road to the comfort station was about 10 li*. If her neighbor walked too slowly on the journey, he was beaten by the soldiers. Once they reached the destination, they were both exhausted. The Japanese soldier dragged her neighbor out of the room that she was brought to and she was alone.
*Li is Chinese unit of measurement. 1 li= 415.8 meters.
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Growing up as a child in Hong Kong, I heard much about the terrors that my grandparents on both sides of the family had endured under the rule of the Japanese during their invasions in Pacific East Asia. While these tales horrified me as a child, it sparked an interest in me and set me on the path of getting my bachelor’s degree in history at the University of San Francisco. I was so intrigued by the subject that by the time I was fourteen, I had read Iris Chang’s award winning book, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, which was a gift from my grandfather, who insisted that this portion of history can never be forgotten.
As I grew up, I soon realize that most people in the world, even my peers in Hong Kong, were either indifferent or ignorant of the subject. Whilst I was disappointed by this realization, it continues provide me with the motivation and drive to spread the knowledge of this largely forgotten past; as the age-old expression goes: those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
Nicole Dahlstrom is a non-profit marketing specialist with a history of coordinating marketing efforts for non-profit start-ups. She began her career while still in college when she interned at a local non-profit start-up called Spread the Care. After receiving a B.A. in Marketing, Nicole spent a year as an employment specialist with the national volunteer program, AmeriCorps. During her term of service, she aided a diverse set of clients with anything from learning to speak English to writing a business plan. Since finishing her term of service in September of 2014, Nicole has pursued a freelance writing career while studying online marketing for non-profits. She currently works as the Development Coordinator for the growing San Francisco based non-profit, Pacific Atrocities Education.