Johns Hopkins Magazine -- February 1998
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Response to Nov. cover story, "Nightmare in Nanking"
Communist connections
On tenure: O tempora! O mores!
"Therapeutic" abortions?
The end doesn't justify the means
Too little time in Hong Kong
Defining "baby" pictures
Grateful for the Archives
More on Ashkenazi Jews
Toothpaste's active ingredient

November's cover story, "Nightmare in Nanking," prompted a greater outpouring of letters from Johns Hopkins readers than any article in recent memory. Our thanks to all who took the time to write...and our apologies for a mistake on page 51. The sentence, "Indeed, the story of what happened in the days and weeks after Chinese forces invaded the city of Nanking..." should have read Japanese forces. --SD

Appalling memories

I read with horror your account of the findings of Iris Chang with respect to the Rape of Nanking [ "Nightmare in Nanking,"]. It provided, however, merely details that filled in [my] memory of the events more than 50 years ago.

The explanation for this puzzling comment is this. During World War II, a series of seven "informational" films was shown to Army personnel under the title "Why We Fight." One dealt with the Rape of Nanking. One sequence will always be with me. It showed a Jap[anese] soldier picking up a Chinese child by the ankles and slamming its head against a stone wall. With that as a memory, Ms. Chang's findings merely add--appalling though it may seem--to the specifics of the event.

William W. Wright, Maj AUS (Ret.)
Columbia, MD

Unwilling to confront their history

The article on the Rape of Nanking and Iris Chang was poignant, well-written, and informative. It was particularly interesting since I am now living in Japan and am all too aware of what Chang described--Japanese unwillingness to confront the more unpleasant aspects of their history. I have taken the liberty of forwarding it to a number of my friends in Japan, both foreigner and Japanese, for discussion and to get the debate started. I hope this will be part of the process that Chang has begun. A small step, but an important one nonetheless.

The Japanese position stands in marked contrast, as was pointed out in your article, to Germany. Following my graduation from Hopkins, I spent a year at the University of Frankfurt studying Contemporary German Attitudes Toward the Holocaust as a DAAD Research Fellow. Although the facing up to history in Germany is by no means complete, it is leaps and bounds ahead of the situation in Japan, in my opinion.

Jeremy Epstein '95

One-sided attack on the Japanese

In any war, there is no justice, no humanity. Obviously Iris Chang has no personal experience of incidents she is describing sensationally, and she is blaming Japanese soldiers one-sidedly. I smell the racist blood in her work. She has lived a protected life in the States. Thus, her view is naive and immature.

I wonder if she has researched also the atrocious acts of Russian soldiers against Japanese women and children in Manchuria in August 1945. A friend of mine had to shave her head and hide in the attic when they invaded. She was found and raped. Her womb was penetrated and lacerated by a fork before she was shot to death. Her husband, hands tied behind him, watched the ordeal helplessly. Soldiers were laughing.

T. Morishige
Edmond, OK

A "humanitarian" Nazi?

In "Nightmare in Nanking," John Rabe is called a "humanitarian Nazi." The Oxford English Dictionary lists as an example of the word oxymoron Voltaire's phrase an "Epicurean pessimist." "Humanitarian Nazi" would, I guess, be an oxymoron if Jews were not part of humanity.

Eugene Blank '48
Portland, OR

From John Rabe's diary

I was deeply moved by your article "Nightmare in Nanking." I was particularly interested in the part about a German Nazi by the name of John Rabe, the "Oskar Schindler of Nanking" as Chang dubbed him, or the "Living Buddha of Nanking" to the Chinese at the time.

Though a convinced Nazi, Rabe reacted as a humanitarian to the atrocities he saw all about him. The discovery of his diary, much of it already translated from German, was announced formally at a press conference in New York on December 12, 1996, by the Alliance in Memory of Victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

A brief excerpt from the diary follows: "24 December: Dr. Wilson showed me some of his patients. The woman with many bayonet wounds on her face, who was brought in with an aborted birth, is relatively well off. A boat owner had a shot in the leg; his whole body was burned because someone poured gasoline on him and set him on fire. He was still able to say a few words, but he probably must die ... I went to the basement ... one civilian-- eyes burned out, entire head burned. The Japanese soldiers poured gasoline on him."

Tsung O. Cheng
Fellow, Cardiorespiratory Laboratory and Medicine, 1957-59

Washington, DC

Appalled by November's cover

I greatly appreciated the article about Iris Chang's forthcoming book, The Rape of Nanking. Those of us who have spent time in Nanjing and have heard survivors' stories recognize the importance of her contribution. However, I was appalled by the cover photograph of the Magazine, which shows Ms. Chang posed in front of a Japanese flag with what looks like tomato sauce splattered on it. This kind of sensational representation dramatizes and diminishes the true horrors of war. It would have been more effective to use a photograph of Ms. Chang in Nanjing or to use an actual photograph from 1937.

Beth Notar (Hopkins-Nanjing Center '88)
Ithaca, NY

A far larger atrocity

I had the good luck of being given a copy of your November issue by a friend with whom I had been discussing little known atrocities of World War II. Nanking was certainly one of those atrocities about which we now hear very little. As a boy growing up in New Jersey in the '50s, though, we did see mention of the horror of Nanking and one or two pictures in our high school history books.

A far larger atrocity, which was not dealt with then and has yet to be dealt with in the U.S. publishing industry, was the expulsion of 15 million Germans from their Eastern European homes (Germany's former eastern provinces and ethnic enclaves) at the end of World War II. If one is to believe German sources, 2.5 million persons died as a result of these "ethnic cleansings." The United States gave its explicit sanction to the actions and assisted in carrying them out. To this day the U.S. has not apologized to the relatives of the victims nor made any attempt to pay them reparations for their homes, which they lost in part due to American complicity in the expulsions.

It seems to me that the expulsion and massacre of Eastern Europe's Germans, a process that continues to this day with the "Aussiedlung" of those few who remain in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania, would be a worthy subject for Iris Chang's next book.

Kearn C. Schemm, Jr.
Arlington, VA

The enduring Chinese

Thank you for publishing "Nightmare in Nanking." Not everyone has forgotten the horrible massacre at Nanking. For some it may have been a stretch in political correctness or convenience to ignore the subject, but Iris Chang is performing a great service in exposing that crime to this generation.

My own exposure was secondhand but telling. Beginning in the fall of 1943, as a captain in the U.S. Army Engineers, I was attached as a military advisor to the Nationalist Chinese engineer battalion of the Chinese New First Army. They were being retrained after their being driven off the original Burma Road and then pushing a new Burma Road through the jungle to the north into China.

Some of these soldiers had escaped from Nanking by donning civilian clothes, traveling west at night and hiding during the day. Even so, the Japanese were relentless in pursuit--not to

capture them but rather to kill them. In fact, the Japanese often corralled large numbers of Chinese men and while talking to a group in moderate tones, would suddenly shout "Tsal!" ("Attention!"). Any who then stood at attention would be exposed as military and immediately shot. So this massacre was not an isolated, spontaneous event but was more systematic.

Ironically, as indicated in your "Historic Glimpses", it is still as politically correct to laud the politics of former Hopkins Professor Owen Lattimore as it was in the 1940s. In the spring of 1942 I was enthralled to have lunch with him at least three times in the Hopkins Club. He was our "China expert," having been born in Mongolia and lived in western China. At that time Americans could agree that our interests were to oppose Wang Ching Wei, head of the Chinese faction that promoted cooperation with Japan. I asked Lattimore why he opposed the pro-Western Chiang Kai-shek [and favored] the pro-Soviet Mao Tse-tung. He simply said that Mao was better for China.

Less than two years later I found myself with the Chinese Nationalists. When they identified my Hopkins ring, I lost credibility because they feared I was another Lattimore. President Roosevelt had imposed Professor Lattimore upon the Nationalists with the threat of otherwise cutting off all supplies. Our government's attempts to bring the Communists into the Chinese government, Chiang's lack of offensive, the Japanese Manchurian surrender of arms to the Red Chinese after Hiroshima, and our pull-out of the area doomed China to Mao.

This is long past hindsight, but we should keep in mind that the Chinese are long-suffering, and enduring despite their government

W.F. Applegarth, BE '40
Atlanta, GA

Communist connections

In the November issue, Owen Lattimore is mentioned in "Historic Glimpses". The statement is made that the Student Committee for Academic Freedom ... dissolved in 1955, after Senator Joseph McCarthy's "Red Hunt" lost credibility.

May I recommend an interesting book for your readers? It is The Lattimore Story, by John T. Flynn (The Devin-Adair Co., 1953). Here is an enlightening segment (p. 82): "Another witness, Louis Budenz, former Communist, testified under oath: `He [Lattimore] was specifically mentioned as a member of the Communist cell under instructions. There was no loose mention of his name.'" Budenz swore that Lattimore's "position from the viewpoint of the Communist Party was a very important one" (pp. 521-22). Jack Stachel, one of the most important American Communists, in constant touch with Moscow, had informed Budenz that Lattimore was a Communist.

Robert Jones '56
Washington, DC

On tenure: O tempora! O mores!

Your extensive coverage of the changes being proposed in tenure regulations at the Medical School led me to recall an occasion more than 30 years ago. As president of the Hopkins chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in the mid-'60s, I asked to see Milton Eisenhower, then president, in order to present a case for the university to adopt the AAUP's "seven-year up or out" tenure rules. To my surprise, he said he entirely agreed that Johns Hopkins would be wise to do so, but that the proposal had been voted down by the Faculty Council.

Not long after that encounter, a situation embarrassing to Hopkins arose. An assistant professor of Engineering had been put on notice at the end of his fifth year that he was not a sufficiently productive scholar. During his sixth year, he published several papers and heard nothing more from his department chair. As his seventh year began, he was informed that his appointment would be terminated the following June. He claimed de facto tenure because the sixth year deadline had passed with no message from the administration; he insisted that he had every reason to believe that he had lived up to expected standards. He threatened to petition the national office of AAUP to come to his defense.

The crisis was resolved when the faculty member found and accepted a position elsewhere. However, Mr. Eisenhower brought the matter before the Faculty Council. He pointed out that the absence of formal tenure track rules had created an ambiguous situation, fair neither to the faculty member nor the university. Were Hopkins to adopt the AAUP rules, it would be necessary to review every new faculty member at the end of the fifth year, with a considered decision made rather than allowing matters to drift, as appeared to be the case in the instance in question. The Faculty Council voted the AAUP seven-year rule into effect.

Just how remote the mid-'60s are from the late '90s I realized when I learned that there is no longer an AAUP chapter at Hopkins, nor has there been one since 1980! O tempora! O mores! Two academic giants from the Johns Hopkins University faculty were instrumental in advancing the AAUP: Arthur Lovejoy, professor of philosophy, founded the AAUP; and Fritz Machlup, professor of economics, initiated the informative faculty salary rating scale published in the AAUP Bulletin each year.

It is not too late to revive an AAUP chapter at Hopkins. Such an organization would enable faculty members to

participate fully in the debate about tenure rules, rather than allowing the matter to be decided by department chairs and Medical School administrators.

Leon Eisenberg, MD, house staff (1952-54), faculty (1954-67)

"Therapeutic" abortions?

In the November issue, you report on the uses of germ cells from aborted human babies of five to six weeks' gestation ( "Confronting biology's ethical implications,"). You claim they were donated by women who had undergone "therapeutic" abortions.

Fifty years ago at Hopkins, a resident doctor/instructor of student nurses told us that he could think of extremely few conditions where an abortion could be done for therapeutic reasons. He said that, in almost every case, the mother could safely carry the baby to term.

Can we possibly believe that, in modern obstetrics, our doctors cannot protect mothers? Or is it "therapeutic" for a baby to die because it is imperfect? Perhaps these same scientists would like to destroy all those who are critically damaged after birth, such as those in airplane crashes and car wrecks.

Brave New World, indeed!

Sara M. O' Grady
Louisville, KY

The end doesn't justify the means

I am writing in regard to "Confronting biology's ethical implications." The article addresses the research of John Gearhart of the School of Medicine and his attempts to resolve the ethical questions raised by his work. Dr. Gearhart conducts experiments on cells taken from human "embryos" obtained from women who have undergone abortions. It is laudable that he is considering the ramifications of his work, but I have serious reservations with the conclusions he reaches.

Dr. Gearhart is quoted as saying that "biology is a means to an end." Presumably he would deem his research to be ethical if it is directed toward a beneficial end, such as treating stroke victims, and unethical if directed toward a grotesque end, such as creating a "genetically engineered person." Didn't we learn as children, though, that the "end does not justify the means"? The real ethical issue to be addressed concerns the actual research itself, and not its potential uses. Is the human embryo in question, in fact, a living human being? Is abortion, in fact, morally acceptable? This question has been debated continually in this country since the legalization of abortion in 1973, but has never

been resolved. The issue of abortion continues to be addressed and discussed through political debates, news stories, and public demonstrations. Shouldn't the Johns Hopkins schools and hospital reconsider their involvement in an act that is considered to be controversial by most and gravely immoral by many?

Let us take the opportunity afforded us by the Johns Hopkins Magazine to ask ourselves again: Do we believe that human beings have an eternal soul that exists from the moment of conception, the only philosophically, biologically, and theologically reasonable beginning point? Or do we rather believe that human beings are essentially animals, with a physical nature but no spiritual nature? If the latter, let us continue the work of Dr. Gearhart and others, experimenting on human beings as we would any other laboratory animal. If the former, though, let us recognize such work to be morally and ethically reprehensible, and disassociate ourselves from it.

Michael DeAscanis '94
Baltimore, MD

Too little time in Hong Kong

I wish that Jean Grigsby had spent more than three days in Hong Kong ("Handover in Hong Kong," September 1997). As a resident for three years I can assure you that there is little fear of the heavy-handed intervention that the Western media assume is inevitable. The Hong Kong Chinese are rightly proud that they are now running their own affairs. And as a foreigner I feel much safer here than in any city in the United States, including Baltimore. Careful analysis leads to better understanding than does resorting to tired clichˇs.

Two factual corrections: Lantau island is over 90 percent undeveloped (not 50 percent as stated) and there is no such thing as the British Bank of Hong Kong.

John J. Michon
Resident, Wilmer Eye Institute (1989-92)

Defining "baby" pictures

Alan Uomoto's quote that "50 percent of the traffic on the Internet is baby pictures" (Taming the Terabyte") is either wrong or sexist, depending on interpretation. If by "baby pictures" the speaker means "photos of infants," then it is wrong. If by "baby pictures" the speaker also includes "photos of naked women," then it is sexist, but--as anyone with packet-monitoring software can tell you--correct.

J. Toby Mordkoff '86 (PhD '91)

Grateful for the Archives

I was reading Joanne Cavanaugh's article Uncertainty in the Archives", and it reminded me of a task long overdue. The value of the Ferdinand Hamburger Jr. Archives is not lost to me. In 1995-96, the News-Letter was celebrating its 100th year of publication. In April of that year we published a 48-page tabloid edition chronicling those first 100 years. Without the presence of those archives and the helpful and trusting assistance of [archivist James] Stimpert, that edition would never have been published and the opportunity to learn about the history of our newspaper would most certainly have been lost.

We owe the Archives and Mr. Stimpert a great debt of gratitude. I can only hope the tree outlasts the electron so that the students in the Class of 2096 will have the next 100 years of newspapers to review.

Maximilian Barteau '96

More on Ashkenazi Jews

The recent discovery by Johns Hopkins oncologists of a new mutation causing colon cancer among Ashkenazi Jews should be of interest and concern to this particular group. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the above classification, "Ashkenazi" refers to those Jews of Eastern European origin who migrated from Germany ("Ashkenaz" in Hebrew) in the Middle Ages. More than 90 percent of American Jews can trace their ancestry to this group.

In contrast to the above faction the other main Jewish group is known as "Sephardim" (Spain), having lived in the Iberian peninsula for over a millennium until the Expulsion in 1492. Following this tragic event they settled throughout all the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea as far east as the "Fertile Crescent." Many also settled in France, Holland, and England.

Manfried Mauskopf
Philadelphia, PA

Toothpaste's active ingredient

I just finished reading the November issue and really enjoyed it. I do want to point out, however, an error in the story about fluoride in space. Melissa Hendricks writes, "It (fluoride) is also in the form of a gas, hydrogen fluoride, not the element fluorine, which is used in toothpaste." The active ingredient in toothpaste is sodium fluoride (NaF) not elemental fluorine (F2). I just wanted to set the record straight

William B. Mathews