On August 31, the unveiling ceremony of the “Sindberg” statue was held in the Memorial Park of Mathersburg in Aarhus. The Queen of Denmark, Margaret II, and the Chinese Ambassador to Denmark, Feng Tie attended the event. The Queen of Denmark unveiled the statue. The event is to commemorate Sindberg’s righteous act of sheltering tens of thousands refugees during the Nanjing Massacre and to convey to the world the peace of mind of the Chinese and Danish people. Taking this as a starting point, Aarhus and Nanjing will launch a series of pragmatic cooperation in the fields of culture, economy, trade and peacekeeping, according to the Information Office of Nanjing Municipal People’s Government.
Chinese and Danish artists work together for telling Nanjing story to the world
From December 1937 to March 1938, Bernhard Arp Sindberg, in his 20s, worked at the Nanjing Jiangnan Cement Factory. For 106 days, Sindberg provided shelter and assistance to Chinese refugees. At that time, Chinese praised him for “acting bravely for a just cause” and calling him “Friend of China”. Sindberg’s righteousness has gradually become a legendary, which is widely spread in China and Denmark. This extraordinary story is the most vivid material of this statue and special exhibition.
The statue of “Sindberg” opens his arms, showing the fraternity and dedication of Sindberg during the World War II. The “Gate of Hope” created by the Danish artist Lene Desmentik complements the statues of the characters and is a symbol of hope and future. It further enhances the incomparable relationship between the two cities and conveys hope for friendship and a beautiful vision of peace to the Chinese and Danish people. In addition, the statue base has a special design of “wall tile”, which is a symbol of the heroic spirit of unyielding.
One of the designers, Shang Rong, from the Institute of Sculpture and Art of Nanjing University, said, “Nanjing is also the place where I and Fu Licheng grew up. Under the nourishment of this city, we are honored to have this opportunity, with a deep city brand, to tell this beautiful Nanjing story to the world.”
“Co-Building Peace”: to contribute to peace and friendship between China and Denmark
“It’s clear that Bernhard Arp Sindberg has been of great importance to Nanjing and all of China. He is a reminder that a single person can make a difference.” Queen Margaret II of Denmark delivered a speech at the unveiling ceremony. After the ceremony, the Queen accepted the “Co-Building Peace” contract submitted by the representative of Nanjing-the wall bricks.
The wall bricks was engraved with the words “Jinling” and printed the inscriptions. On both sides of the “Jinling”, it was painted with purple and yellow roses that symbolize peace and courage. This unique combination of wall brick and meticulous paintings conveys the peace of Nanjing to the world, and the desire to deepen friendship and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Chinese Ambassador to Denmark Feng Tie said: “Sindberg saved tens of thousands lives of Chinese people. Chinese people appreciate him, respect him and always remember him. His heroic fearlessness reflects the lofty humanitarian spirit. His story also reveals the cruelty of war and preciousness of peace. I hope that the statue will become a symbol of the friendship between the Chinese and Danish people.”
Denmark’s “Nanjing Hero”, Forever “Friend of China”
On the same day, the special exhibition “Sindberg: Denmark’s ‘Nanjing Hero'” was opened at the Dokk1 Library in Aarhus. The exhibition is divided into two parts. The first part looks back at Sindberg’s 106 days in Nanjing, showing his fraternity and courage to help the poor. The second part, “Today in Nanjing”, lets the Aarhus people see the new ancient capital. The enthusiasm of the construction of innovative city will embody the value of Sindberg’s act 82 years ago.
“If 80 years ago, because of the justice of Sindberg, the fate of Denmark and Nanjing was linked; then, 80 years later, the relationship between China and Denmark was constantly moving to a new level in the process of building a community of shared future for mankind. It is a friendly cultural and educational exchange and equal industrial cooperation.” said He Mingsheng, a Danish World War II historian.
Time flies, nowadays, Nanjing in the new era is moving with the foundation and confidence of the beautiful ancient capital, on the road of innovation and creativity, and using its own way to shorten the distance between the eastern ancient capital and the fairy tale kingdom of northern Europe, and inherit deep friendship between the people of China and Denmark.
“Bernhard Arp Sindberg (1911-1983) was born in Aarhus, Denmark. From December 1937 to March 1938, Sindberg participated in the establishment of the Jiangnan Cement Factory refugee camp in Nanjing, China and rescued the refugees. Chinese people will never forget the humane spirit and fearlessness act. Donated by the Nanjing Municipal People’s Government and the Copenhagen Chinese Cultural Center. August 2019.”
This is an inscription on the base of the statue, engraved in both Chinese and Danish language. Nanjing is connected to the blood of Aarhus because of him. The humanitarian spirit of Sindberg will also shine permanently in the stars of mankind.