Pawnbroker recants Nanjing Massacre links to atrocity photos
Evan Kail, a pawnbroker in the United States, has aroused wide interest across the Internet since he claimed on TikTok to have received an old book of photos from World War II that included rare color prints purported to depict the notorious Nanjing Massacre.
However, Kail corrected his assertion in a video released on Monday, saying the photos were most likely taken in Shanghai rather than in Nanjing. He now plans to submit the photo album to a Chinese museum.
Zou Dehuai, 33, a history blogger in China with more than 2 million followers on Weibo, said on September 2 that he had a similar photo book, originally owned by Fred A Siebold, with a cover similar to the one Kail received.
The album includes about 400 photos taken during World War II, some of which are exactly the same as those posted online by Kail.
Based on available archives, Zou believes the photos in the book held by Kail don't depict any of the savage acts that happened in Nanjing but were the result of an air raid by Japanese invaders in 1937 on Shanghai's bustling Nanjing Road.
In an interview with Jiefang Daily, Zou said we should treat unforgettable moments of history with "exceptional discretion."
On the afternoon of August 23 in 1937, an aerial bomb exploded on the third-floor southeast balcony of Sincere & Co Ltd located on densely populated Nanjing Road in Shanghai.
Windows of the neighboring Wing On Co Ltd and stores along Nanjing Road and Laohe Road (Liuhe Road currently) were all shattered. A total of 215 pedestrians died on the spot and more than 570 others were injured.
Zou's thoughts on Kail's photo find were echoed by Su Zhiliang, a professor at Shanghai Normal University and a researcher at the Shanghai Research Institute of Culture and History.
Su told Jiefang Daily the photos of the bombardment were not "single copy" images but were widely spread, as mass media was well developed by that time in Shanghai.
The photos disclosed by Kail have raised many international concerns over the Nanjing Massacre, where the significance of the issue really lies, Su added.