The power of a survivor’s firsthand story delivers an impact that can rarely be equaled by third-party retelling. The magic of the digital generation allows us to share those stories more broadly and demonstrate that stories of the past have the power to shape our collective action in the present.
At the USC Global Conference in Shanghai, Dr. Stephen Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation, will moderate a panel exploring why telling stories matters more than you might think. Special guest Ron Meyer, NBCUniversal Vice Chairman, will tell a personal story of survival and discuss why digital communications are an increasingly essential part of our storytelling oeuvre.
The panel will also include Shuqin Xia, a well-known survivor of the Nanjing Massacre. She lost seven family members on December 13th, 1937, when the Japanese army looted her family’s belongings and home. Chengshan Zhu, curator of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall and one of the most internationally prominent scholars of Chinese history, will share historical perspective on the Nanjing Massacre, its survivors, and their stories.
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education recently added audiovisual testimonies from survivors of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre to its Visual History Archive as part of its mission to preserve the voices of those who lived through some of the darkest times in history. Survivors, who were children and young adults during the massacre, recounted harrowing stories of evading death by Japanese troops, losing their homes and witnessing family members being murdered.
These testimonies add new perspectives and knowledge to the history of the Nanjing Massacre, in which 300,000 civilians and unarmed soldiers were killed over the course of two months. The continued preservation of Nanjing survivors’ stories is made possible thanks to generous donations by Cecilia Chan, Eve By Eve’s, Golden Eagle, Tony Mok, Sophia and Johnny Anqiang Zhang, Eric L. Sorkin, and John Zhao and family.
The USC Global Conference will be held in Shanghai, China, at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai from October 29-31, 2015. Registration is now open.