John Rabe (November 23, 1882 – January 5, 1950) was a German businessman who is best known for his efforts to stop the atrocities of the Japanese army during the Nanking Occupation and his work to protect and succour Chinese civilians during the event. The Nanking Safety Zone, which he helped to establish, sheltered approximately 200,000 Chinese people from slaughter during the massacre.The Nanking Massacre killed hundreds of thousands of people, while Rabe and his zone administrators tried frantically to stop the atrocities. His attempts to appeal to the Japanese by using his Nazi membership credentials only delayed them; but that delay allowed hundreds of refugees to escape. The documentary Nanking credited him for saving the lives of 250,000 Chinese civilians. It is said Rabe rescued between 200,000 – 250,000 Chinese people.
On January 5, 1950, Rabe died of a stroke. In 1997 his tombstone was moved from Berlin to Nanjing (as it is now) where it received a place of honor at the massacre memorial site.
In 2005, Rabe's former residence in Nanking (as it then was) was renovated and now accommodates the "John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall", which opened in 2006.