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Qian Xiuling: China’s female Schindler in Belgium during WWII


06-06-2014 13:34 BJT

Three days after the Normandy landings, a small group of Belgians in a Belgian city killed three Gestapo officers. The lives of 97 young men hung in the balance, when German forces were a step away from killing them in reprisals. At that moment, a Chinese woman living in the city stepped in and saved these people.

Qian Xiuling has been called the Chinese mother of Belgium and was also awarded the Hero of the State medal for her heroic deeds. LI YING has the story of a woman often called Belgium’s, female Schindler.

Saving Belgians from certain death at the hands of the Germans during World War Two.

That was Qian Xiuling. Also, the inspiration behind the TV series, "Chinese Woman Facing Gestapo’s Gun".

"For us, she was a female hero, a great woman." Jean Dutrieux, Former Governor, Ecaussinnes City, Belgium said.

Prototype in Chinese Woman Facing Gestapo’s Gun.

In 1929, she went to Belgium studying Chemistry and settled there. In 1943, she saved nearly 100 Belgians after German forces invaded. She was called as lovely Chinese woman, Chinese mother of Belgium and female Schindler. She was awarded with Hero of the State medal.

Qian Xiuling, was born in 1912 in east China’s Jiangsu province.

In 1929, 17-year-old Qian left for Belgium to study Chemistry at the most distinguished university in the country, the Catholic University of Louvain. She finally got a doctorate from the university.

The beginning of the Japanese aggression against China thwarted her plans to return China. So she settled in Belgium.

In May 1943, when Germany invaded Belgium, Qian Xiuling found that the chief of German occupied Belgium, General Alexander Von Falkenhausen was a close friend of her cousin.

On June the 7th, 1944, on the second day after the Normandy landings, Belgian resistant military groups killed three Gestapo officers.

The next day, the German military took revenge on civilians by arresting 97 young men. They threatened that the 97 would be executed unless the people of the city handed over the suspects involved in the attack.

At a loss as to what to do, Qian Xiuling was the last hope of the people. At that time, Qian was about to give birth to her first daughter. But she did not hesitate and found the general.

"The General received Qian Xiuling. That was the last time the general accepted her request. He agreed not to kill them." Jean Dutrieux said.

Three days later, all the 97 people were released.

The Belgian government awarded her with the Hero of the State medal for her heroic deeds.

"Who would be the victims? Besides soldiers, they are civilians. The women and children are innocent. That is why we need to cherish peace." Jean Dutrieux said.

After the war, the German general, Von Falkenhausen’s destiny was changed because of his humanitarian deeds and regret.

Originally sentenced to 12 years in prison, he was released after he had spent just three years in jail. The governor says the general was a person we need to respect. But he also criticized Japan for not realizing their mistake and the pains they have left on Asian people.

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