Date of letter:1992-06
Address of author:Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province
Date of event:1939-04
Location of event:Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province
Name of author:Ma Jianguo
Name(s) of victim(s):Common people in Shang duan cun
Type of atrocity:Others, Other Massacres(OT, OM）
Other details:In April 1939, the Japanese soldiers surrounded the Shangduan Village and burned down houses. They killed everyone they saw. They also pushed some people into the well and threw grenade in it. Hundreds of people were killed.
Hundred Victims Martyrdom Well
——The Sensational “Massacre” of Shangduan Village
Around 10 o’clock on April 15, 1939, the Japanese Army surrounded Shangduan Village, after entering the village, they revealed their brutal nature, under order from Shigeru FUJITA, they searched every household, regardless of man or women, old or young, they would stab them with bayonet, slashed with knife, tossed the body into wells, fearing there would be survivors, finally they tossed hand grenades into the wells. In this way, the Japanese Army killed 108 people and tossed them into wells, the only survivor among all the people being tossed into wells is the then 32 year old woman Zhang Putao.
Shangduan Village at that time had more than 400 people in 103 household, on this day up to 94 persons were killed by the Japanese Army, plus 14 Anti-Japanese soldiers, accounting for one fourth of the whole village population, among 94 villagers, 33 persons were aged 50 above, accounting for one third, 9 persons were aged below 10, accounting for one tenth, ten people in Zhang Shuicheng’s family were all killed, which destroyed the families of Zhang Shuicheng and other 39 households, seven households were totally decimated, back then the then 32 year old woman Zhang Putao, had eight persons in her family, excluding her and second daughter Duan Qiaoer who hid outside the mill, the remaining grandpa Duan Jixian, grandma Manao, husband Duan Jindou, eldest daughter Duan Tanxiang (aged 12), boy Duan Zhimin (aged 9) and her husband’s younger brother Duan Jinman, all hid in the cellar behind the house, after the Japanese invaders discovered them, they were summoned up one by one before being tossed into the well, only the eldest daughter Tanxiang and the boy Duan Zhimin didn’t come up, and avoided this disaster. Finally the Japanese Army tossed Zhang Putao and her second daughter into the well, and Zhang Putao was the only survivor, because she was the last one being tossed into the well, after the Japanese Army left, villagers first lifted her out of the well and saved her, after first-aid rescue she was alive, the one who rescued Zhang Putao was Li Mancheng (a native of Henan), a long-term worker of Duan Gongwa household. Because the well opening was too small, each time it was possible to retrieve one person, the remaining all died either due to drowning, falling or crashing. After Li Mancheng rescued Zhang Putao, the Japanese Army suddenly retuned to the village to check if there were still Japanese soldiers left in the village, Li Mancheng remained in the well and didn’t get up, others dispersed to find shelter; after the Japanese Army left the village for the second time, when people gathered to rescue Li Mancheng, he had fallen into the well and died. In Houbao, Zhongxiang, and Houxiang of Shangduan Village, there were a total of five wells, victim bodies were found in all of them, in one well in Houbao there were as many as thirty three persons, the Japanese Army tossed the dead villagers and Anti-Japanese solders respectively into four wells, and left only one to supply water for themselves and horses, before leaving, the Japanese Army also pushed the two slave labors who hoisted water and watered the horses for them into this well, and tossed nearly one hundred hand grenades into this well, which destroyed both the bodies and the well.
While creating the massacre, the Japanese Army also set fire to eighty seven civilian houses, and burned all wheat straw, such utterly inhuman burning, killing, looting and plundering by the Japanese Army transformed Shangduan Village into a town of blood, bodies littered the street, families were broken up, cries reverberated in the air, flames leaped into the sky, dark smoke billowed, there was no water for human drinking, no fodder to feed horses; no guarantee for life, fear gripped everyone’s heart, people fled out of town in droves, there was no farming activities; 800 mu (a unit of area , one mu=0.0667 hectares) of fertile land laid waste, the horrible scenes both inside and outside Shangduan Village were too much to witness.
Shigeru FUJITA, squad leader of the Japanese Joint Force and the killer of Shangduan Village massacre, was promoted to Lieutenant General due to his inhuman slaughter of Chinese people; as a war criminal, after the Anti-Japanese War he was captured by the arm of law of the Chinese people, and imprisoned in Shenyang War Criminal Prison. From June 9 to June 19, 1956, the Supreme People’s Court Special Military Tribunal held an open trial, Zhang Putao testified, and recounted the massacre process of the Japanese Army led by Shigeru FUJITA in Shangduan in tears, Shigeru FUJITA admitted: “All those are facts, I’m willing to accept any severe punishment”. Solicitor Xu Ping defended for him, the tribunal carried out evidence investigation and court debate, when the tribunal asked the defendant to state his opinion, Shigeru FUJITA said: “I now realize that the brutal invasion war waged against China not only created towering crimes to Chinese people, but also brought unprecedented disaster to Japanese people. Today, through the tribunal which represents the will of 600 million Chinese, I repent past mistakes to Chinese people especially the victims, and sincerely accept tribunal ruling”. After court deliberation, the tribunal delivered verdict at 8:30 on June 19, 1956, and sentenced Shigeru FUJITA eighteen years of fixed-tem imprisonment.
After the foundation of new China, Shangduan Village villagers also retained the well with the highest number of victims during the massacre by the Japanese Army in that year, and named it “Hundred Victims Martyrdom Well”. The municipal people’s government also listed it as cultural heritage site, which makes it a real object teaching material to educate the broad mass not to forget the national woes.