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level THREE
first floor ...

... written on the information boards :

... written on the informations boards are the translations of the Chinese texts pepared for the visitors of the museum by the Weifang Historians ... enjoy your visit.

N.B. - In the texts written hereafter, the blinking smiley [] will bring you at another location of the present website for complementary information. Do not hesitate to click on it !

1942 - 1945

... the first "enemy alliens" - as the Japanese called them - arrived in the Weihsien compound in March 1943 to finally be liberated on August 17, 1945 and the last prisoners to be evacuated by the end of October 1945.

After the Pearl Harbor surprise attack of December 1941 most of the Occidental civilians - whose countries had declared war to Japan - were under house arrest at their homes and further on - during the whole year of 1942 - in various other locations. Many families had to live in a single house - for example - and the Chefoo School had to leave their comfortable school buildings and migrate to the Temple Hill Compound in Yantai.

Most of the books - written about Weihsien Concentration Camp - mention the 1942-"house arrest" episode and the first contact with the Weihsien Compound being in March 1943. ...


In the 1930ies, the world experienced great changes. In the East, Japanese imperialism launched a war of aggression against China in 1931 and quickly occupied Northeast China. Then, in 1937, Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China.

In Europe, Germany blatantly attacked Poland in 1939 and then World War II broke out.

In early 1938. The Japanese occupied the Jiaodong Peninsula.

After the outbreak of the Pacific War[ici], Japan set up a concentration camp for western migrants at Weihsien the Courtyard of the Happy Way in Shandong Province, China, in March 1942. This act was a revenge to United States' limit on Japanese-American activities in the United States, which led the detention of 2,008 western migrants (later 500 of them were released for the exchange of prisoners of war). -

On September 18,1931, Japan invaded Shenyang.(This action is now referred to as "the September 18th Incident" or "the Manchurian Incident" or "the Mukden Incident".)

Since then, Japan began to invade other cities in northeast China, and soon occupied the entire northeast area. The picture shows the Japanese occupation of Shenyang.

On July 7, l937, the Japanese Army claimed to search Wanping County which was near the bridge for a lost solider, but was refused by the Chinese Army. Then the Japanese launched military operations against China. (The incident is later called as Marco Polo Bridge Incident or Double Seventh Incident.) After this incident, Japan began a full- scale invasion of China. The picture shows the Japanese shelling Wanping County.

In early 1938, the Japanese Army occupied the Jiaodong Peninsula.


During the War of Resistance against Japan, Japanese army set up more than 40 concentration camps in China, among which, Weihsien camp in the Courtyard of the Happy Way was the largest one to hold western migrants. Here are some data on Japanese-controlled concentration camps and informal detention in China from 1942 to 1945. -


After the Pacific War broke out, the Courtyard was forcibly occupied by the Japanese army and changed into a concentration camp for Western expatriates in China, containing more than 2,000 European and American people, including those from the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. From March, 1942, Western expatriates in North China were sent to the Courtyard in batches. -


Forced to leave their warm home in China, the imprisoned civilians lost their freedom, and what made them afraid was that they did not know when the war ended and what they would face.


The life in the concentration camp was very difficult, and the Japanese guards were ferocious. It was stipulated that except Dr. Watson McMillan Hayes and minister Herbert Hudson Taylor, who were over 80 ears old and frail, other civilians must take part in the work.

When the bell rang in the morning, they had to get up quickly, wash up and eat in three different dining halls. When the bell rang during eating, which meant the finish of eating; all went to the playground and lined up in the area designated by the guards. Then they waited to be called and count off in Japanese. When the bell for sleep struck, they must go back to their room and sleep and staying at other place was not allowed. - - - and -


In the concentration camp, many families lived together except few families living in a single room. Each room in small bungalow lived eight people and in some large rooms dozens of people huddled together. For adults, there was no privacy.


Chefoo School. which included a primary school and a middle school, were set up in Yantai, Shandong Province by China Inland Mission for the children of missionaries in China. -

In November 1942, the Japanese army forced all the students and teachers of the school to gather in four houses. Ten months later, the Japanese army stuffed them into the cabin of a ship. After the ship bypassed the Shandong Peninsula, they landed on Qingdao, from which the Japanese army escorted them to Weihsien concentration camp by train. -

The teachers and students of Chefoo School, like other prisoners, lived a very difficult life, with boys and girls living in several large classrooms. -

Food was rationed, so they could only get little food. It was far from enough to maintain minimum nutrition. The students were in hunger for a long time and looked sallow and emaciated. But the students, led by their teachers, were strict with themselves by the standard of Oxford exam and insisted on learning. It showed their spirit of not bowing to the predicament and not giving in. -


As the war further expanded, life in the Courtyard of the Happy Way became more and more difficult. Rationed Food became less and less. When they couldn't tolerate hunger, the civilians had to bribe Japanese guards to buy some food for them. When money ran out, they traded in expensive clothes and jewellery for cheap food, which leaves most civilians in rags. -

From 1942 to 1945, the people of Weihsien rescued and helped the imprisoned western migrants for many times, some of whom gave their precious lives. -

Story of An Iron Bed

This bed was made by Dakin Brothers London. It was originally a spring bed and later changed into a plank bed.

The life at the Weihsien concentration camp was rough. A lot of internees exchanged food with their watches and jewelleries with local people. This iron bed was exchanged by a Danish internee with a local peasant named Han Xuting.

At around nine o’clock at night in the spring of 1943, Han Xuting came to the west wall of the concentration camp, where there was a pole used for exchanging things between the internees and people from the outside. Ten-odd minutes later, an iron bed was hung on the pole and passed over the wall. The bed was disassembled. The bed base was in three pieces. Han Xuting was quite anxious. He was afraid to be caught by the Japanese guards. Some people were shot dead when passing things to people inside the wall. Han carefully caught the bed, which weighed about 25 kilograms. His home was 2.5 kilometres away from the concentration camp. He dared not waste a second to carry the iron bed on his shoulder, walked through the field and went back home in a hurry. This iron bed is a witness of that history.

... Denmark was not at war with Japan - - and no Dane internees are visible on the "Remembrance Wall" in the gardens surrounding the hospital.

Model of the Courtyard Reconstructed by the Japanese Army

At nightfall one day, a young man named Han Xiang from Xishangyuhe Village in Weihsien placed a plank over the security grid for the second time and tried to climb over the wall with food. He was caught by the Japanese guards. He panicked and accidentally got an electric shock.

So, he died.

The Japanese army left his body hung on the grid for a couple of days to terrify the people.


On the night of 9 June 1944, two civilians fled the camp.

Those who escaped were Arthur W. Hummel Jr., a young American teacher who understood Chinese well and formerly taught in The Catholic University of Peking, and Laurance Tipton, a former U.K. naval operator and a sales manager of U.K. and U.S. Tobacco Company in China after retirement.

The escape was planned by Dr. Deiss and priest Raymond De Jaegher, who were familiar with the local situation.

Through Zhang Xingtai and his son, who cleaned up faeces in the concentration camp, they contacted with the anti-Japanese armed forces in Weihsien and told them the plan.

While Japanese guards left the watchtower at night to check the power grid, Tommy Wade, a U.K. electrical expert who was two meters tall, acted as a ladder to help Laurance Tipton and Arthur William Hummel Jr. jump out of the courtyard wall. After escaping from the concentration camp, they went to the station of anti-Japanese guerrillas (four columns of the Jiangsu-Shandong-Henan combat zone) - Pingdu County in Sunzheng Village. They then wrote separate letters to the U.S. and U.K. embassies in China, and the guerrillas sent these letters to the U.S. and U.K. Embassies in Chongqing.

Soon after, the headquarters of the U.S. Army in China quickly allocated a batch of military supplies and funds to instruct them to join in the work of the Chinese anti-Japanese guerrillas there.

... escaping from a concentration camp is always a very confidential affair ...

The key figures were Raymond De Jaegher and Laurie Tipton -

- Read Raymond De Jaegher's version, written in 1950 -
- Read Laurie Tipton's version of the escape written in 1949 -
- Read Emmanuel Hanquet's version on the "escape" incident -
- Norman Cliff (a Chefoo student and 17 years old in 1945) - in his scrapbooks - has safeguarded many "confidential messages" in which you can read the correspondence between the Camp's Committee, Tipton & Hummel and the Chinese Guerrillas. -
... and, of course, in the BOOKs' chapter - - many ex-prisoners write about Tipton and Hummel's escape but they were only the victims of the Japs' furry after the incident ...

Hummel Jr. served as U.S. Ambassador to China from 1981 to 1985.

Arthur William Hummel Jr.: After World War II, Arthur William Hummel Jr. returned to Beijing to work for Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).

He returned to the United States in 1949 and entered the department of State after earning a master's degree at the University of Chicago.

When Nixon visited China in 1972, relations between China and the United States eased and Arthur William Hummel Jr. became assistant secretary of USA for Chinese affairs, directly contributing to the establishment of the China-U.S. liaison office. From 1981 to 1985, (…) William Hummel Jr. served as the second U.S. ambassador to China. The first challenge he faced during his term to negotiate how to deal with US selling arms to Taiwan. Through Arthur William Hummel Jr. 's mediation and effort (…) August 17, 1982, China and the United States reached the August 17 Communiqué, which became an important (…) for bilateral relations.

And Arthur William Hummel Jr. regarded it as his greatest achievement during his term of (…)

During his tenure as ambassador of the United States, Arthur William Hummel Jr. had made several trips to Weihsien. After he retired in 1985, he resided in Maryland and became an academic consultant. Although he retired, he was (…) very concerned about the development of the U.S.-China relationship. "I am very close to China until today and I (…) visit China if I have chance," he said.

On February 6, 2001, he died of emphysema in Washington at the age of 80.



Although they didn't have freedom, the imprisoned civilians still show a spirit of mutual care and they selected nine of them to form an "Autonomous Management Committee." Because Dr. Deiss, the provost of Cheeloo University, was the former president of Guangwen University and was familiar with the Courtyard of the Happy Way, he was chosen as the chairman. In addition to managing the affairs of the imprisoned civilians, the committee was also responsible for coordinating, negotiating and fighting with Japanese guards. With their efforts, the imprisoned civilians could openly organize and carry out learning, work and sports activities.

In order to secure rights to attend class and worship in the camp, Dr. Deiss and others negotiated many times with the Japanese supervisory authorities. After hard work, the Japanese had to agree request to resume classes and worship.

... At the arrival - in Weihsien Concentration Camp - of the "Ennemy Alliens" in March 1943, the Japanese decided that the camp would be managed by nine committees such as:
General Affairs, Discipline, Labor, Education, Supplies, Quarters, Medicine, Engineering, and Finance ...

... and that a Japanese would be in charge of each of these departments of camp life; under him would work one internee who would be the chairman of the committee concerned.

- Read Langdon Gilkey's book: "Shantung Compound" written in 1966 -

The members of the committee were democratically elected every six months amongst the camp population, the men of the colonial world in China at that time and who were imprisoned in Weihsien. -

In 1945, when the camp was liberated, the head of the committee was Mr. McLaren. -


There were some quite talented musicians in the concentration camp. They managed to bring their musical instruments on their way to the concentration camp and secretly established a temporary band. The band brought a lot of joy to people’s dull life at the concentration camp.

An old piano was found in the basement and cherished by the people. This piano became an ornament and the pillar instrument of the band after being mended. The brass instruments in the band were played by members of The Salvation Army. The woodwind section was taken care of by members of the Tianjin Song and Dance Troupe. The violoncellists and the violinists were from different ages, places and fields. Eventually, they formed a considerably large orchestra that often produced uplifting music, which made the internees temporarily forget about the police dogs, the wire entanglements, the security grid and the hunger.

They firmly believed that one day the concentration camp would be liberated, and they would step out of the concentration camp alive.


Eric H. Liddell was a Scotsman born in Tianjin. His Chinese name was Li Airui, also known as LiDa.

He graduated from the University of Edinburgh. In the 19th century, when his parents came to China to preach, they settled in Tianjin. Eric won the 400-meter sprint at the Paris Olympic Games in 1924. After the Games. he returned to China and worked as a teacher in a middle school in Tianjin for nearly 20 years. Eric was a good educator. who was determined to give back what he has learned unreservedly to China.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Liddell once went to the central Hebei province as a believer and took part in the anti-Japanese activities in enemy's rear area. When the Pacific war broke out, Liddell, like many foreigners, was held in Weihsien concentration camp in 1942.

During the three years in the camp. Liddell was not afraid of violence and worked hard. He helped other prisoners to learn, took care of others and organized various sports activities. Thus, he earned respect from other imprisoned civilian. Because of the miserable life, malnutrition and no effective treatments. Eric H. Liddell died of a brain tumor on February 21.1945 at the age of 43.

Just 175 days later, Japan surrendered.

The monument, made of granite from Eric Liddell's hometown of the Isle of Mull, Scotland, was engraved on the front with gold-plated inscriptions in Chinese and English.

They should be able to fly high, like winged eagles,
They should be able to run forward and never be tired.


There were many accomplished painters in the camp. With their affectionate brushes, they not only deeply exposed and confirmed the brutal practices of Japanese militarism, but also depicted the architecture and natural scenery of the Courtyard of the Happy Way in a real and detailed way.


As the war escalated, less food was supplied in the camp. The imprisoned civilians silently endured chronic hunger and gradually became gaunt, emaciated, exhausted and numb. Someone lost more than 100 pounds. In the face of such a bad situation, the detainee's representative, Dr. Deiss, was eager to get in touch with the outside world for help, but the Japanese were so well-guarded. Then he thought of dung-carrying workers Zhang Xingtai and Zhang Xiwu who had free access to the camp.

Zhang Xingtai and his son were farmers in nearby Lijia Village. When the imprisoned civilians asked for help, Zhang Xingtai did not hesitate and transferred the letter to Minister Huang Lede, the former principal of Guangwen Middle School, at the risk of his life.

People around the camp felt sympathetic about them after knowing their difficult life. Although they were not well-off, they actively donated money. The total donation valued more than $100,000 at that time. The money was sent in secret by Huang's son, Huang Anwei, and his daughter, Huang Ruiyun, in three batches, to diplomat Eig of the neutral Swiss Representative Office in Qingdao. Then, on behalf of the International Red Cross, Eig bought the much-needed drugs and nutrients for the camp and sent them to the camp in batches. It was this batch of supplies that helped the 1500 western migrants still in custody to be lucky enough to survive.


In August 1945, Japan announced an unconditional surrender, and the Weihsien concentration camp saw the light of victory.

On August 17, 1945. U.S. military aid headquarters in China sent a rescue team, known as the 'Duck Action Team,' to fly a B-24 bomber over the Weihsien concentration camp. After the expats saw the symbol of the American army and the symbol of the angel on the plane, they went crazy and rushed out of the courtyard. (Radio. medicine, food and other critical supplies were thrown from the plane.) Seven paratroopers from the Duck Action Team were rescued immediately after landing on the ground and gathering in the cornfields and sorghum fields.

The migrants, who had been tortured for three years, kneed on the ground and cried bitterly at the moment they were free.

Fragments of parachutes, buttons on paratroopers, badges, and even a handful of their hair cut off by girls were collected by them.


After sufferings, the western migrants wanted to return to their motherland earlier to be reunited with their families. Because of the inconvenient transportation at that time, officials had to return civilians in batches according to the first English alphabetical order of their names. Most civilians first took trains from Weihsien to Qingdao and then took American warships to back home. Because some civilians had relatives working in the rear area of China, they flew to the mainland by small U.S. military transport plane from Ershilipu Airport in Weihsien and united with their relatives who had been separated for many years.

For the survivors, the three-year imprisonment at the Weihsien concentration camp was something that they could never forget.


After the liberation of Weihsien concentration camp, most of the prisoners returned to their homeland. And now they are mainly scattered in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Belgium, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries.

For the survivors, the special experience in Weihsien has become their eternal and lingering memory.

Activities around the world have never stopped for more than half a century to commemorate the famous U.K. sprint champion Eric H. Liddell, who was beloved and died in Weihsien concentration camp. The story of Liddell's Olympic triumph was filmed as "Chariots of Fire" which won the 54th Oscar in 1982. In January 1991, his friends and the people he helped set up the Liddell memorial foundation in Hong Kong.

After retuning to their countries, the once imprisoned Western expatriates still kept in contact with one another, since they had established deep friendships in the concentration camp. Some set up websites and wrote memoirs and books to record the hard times.

- Books about Weihsien: -
- Other Books: -
- The Weihsien website in English and French by the ex-prisoners: -
- The Hong Kong website: -

In 2015, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World’s Anti-Fascist War, the Chinese People’s War Against Japanese Aggression and the Liberation of the Weihsien Concentration Camp, more than 80 people, including 12 internees of the Weihsien concentration camp and their descendants from the U.K., the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong reunited at the Courtyard of the Happy Way, celebrating the date of their liberation. -

The valuable history of the Weihsien concentration camp is not only treasure of Weifang and China, but also treasure of the world. This exhibition is designed to let every single one of us that has conscience know about, remember and reflect on the history, writing an eternal epic about the peace, mutual assistance and friendship in humanity.

Red Memory of the Courtyard

The Courtyard of the Happy Way has a turbulent history. From the establishment of the Communist Party of China (the CPC for short) in 1921 to the liberation of the Chinese mainland, every revolutionary event that took place in Weihsien was closely bound up with the Courtyard Because the Courtyard was set up by American missionary Robert Mateer, it was administered by Americans rather than the local authorities, which provided a relatively safe environment for carrying out revolutionary activities.

A number of educational institutions established by the Courtyard, including Wenhua School, Shantung Protestant University, Wenhua Middle School, Wenmei Middle School and Guangwen Middle School, absorbed a lot of progressive intellectuals and young students and cultivated a large batch of excellent people. Many pioneering people with lofty ideals sprung up from the Courtyard during the revolution.

The medical institution of the Courtyard of the Happy Way—the Weihsien Christian Hospital—provided anti-Japanese troops and civilians with urgent medical aid and cultivated a lot of medical works for the revolution.

We will always remember the contribution that the Courtyard of the Happy Way made to the revolutionary cause of China.

During the anti-Japanese war, the Courtyard was once where the Weihsien troops of the Vanguard of the Chinese National Liberation were stationed. The Vanguard of the Chinese National Liberation was a mass organisation consisting of progressive young people led by the CPC with democracy and fighting against Japanese aggression as the objectives established in Beiping in February, 1936. In 1937, members of the CPC, Wang Yizhi and Ding Zixin, developed more than 30 members for the Vanguard and officially set up the Weihsien troops of the Vanguard, proactively conducting anti-Japanese national salvation activities.

The hospital of the Courtyard of the Happy Way also made an important contribution during the anti-Japanese war. The Weihsien Christian Hospital established in 1924 was a large, high-end comprehensive hospital in eastern Shandong. Fully equipped, the hospital had its own nursing school to cultivate nurses for the hospital. During the war, the Japanese Military Police and traitors to China often searched for anti-Japanese soldiers and civilians at the hospital. The medical staff risked their own lives to cover for the wounded and the sick. They even hid badly wounded people in residences of foreign expatriates to recover.

A lot of medical workers of the hospital of the Courtyard made a significant contribution to the Chinese People’s War Against Japanese Aggression.

The Le Dao Yun Hospital lasted till after the Liberation.

It was the precedent of the People’s Hospital.

Mu Guangyi — A Brave, Resourceful Electrician at the Courtyard

Here, we are getting to know a member of the CPC at the Courtyard—electrician Mu Guangyi.

Mu Guangyi, from Qingchi in Weihsien, Shandong Province, was born in 1901 (the 27th year under the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty). Joining the CPC in the autumn of 1925, Mu Guangyi was the first CPC member at the Courtyard. He took advantage of the special conditions at the electric machinery room at the Courtyard, where he worked, and printed confidential documents and publications for the County Party organisation. The electric machinery room where he worked became the most concealed and safest venue for activities of the County Party organisation of Weihsien. Comrade Guan Xiangying once held a secret meeting in this electric machinery room during his inspection tour in Weihsien. Mu Guangyi was persecuted by the enemy and lost his eyesight when he was organising a worker’s movement in Qingdao. Though blinded, he continued to go deeper in the rural areas to carry out revolutionary activities. Local people courteously called him “the blind commander”.

Unfortunately, Comrade Mu Guangyi died a heroic death during a mop-up operation conducted by the Japanese army.

The Courtyard during the Battle of Weihsien

After the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression was won in 1945, the Kuomintang reactionaries occupied the county seat of Weihsien, attacked the liberated areas and organised landlords’ restitution corps that wantonly slaughtered CPC cadres and civilians. Faced with the savage attack of the enemy, Commander Xu Shiyou led the Shandong Corps of the East China Field Army of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to initiate the Battle of Weihsien.

The Battle of Weihsien broke out in April, 1948. The big Bell Tower of Guangwen Middle School was the highest building in the Weihsien area at that time.

With a telescope, one can directly observe the enemy’s deployments inside and outside the county seat and get to know the progress of the attack troops. Therefore, after launching the attack on the county seat of Weihsien, Commander Nie Fengzhi stationed the headquarters of the attack troops in the teaching building of Guangwen Middle School and directed operations during the famous Battle of Weihsien.

Birth of East China University at the Courtyard

In 1948, the People’s War of Liberation welcomed a historic turn. The overall victory was coming soon. The East China Bureau of the CPC Central Committee decided to set up an East China University at the Courtyard of the Happy Way in Weifang based on the Shandong University in Linyi, in order to prepare cadres for the national liberation. The East China University existed for only three years, with seven months in Weifang. Though it did not last long, it did cultivate more than 4,000 revolutionary cadres who effectively supported the people’s liberation war. These cadres later became the backbone forces in the construction of the People’s Republic of China. The East China University left a glorious chapter in the history of the Courtyard. It is renowned as the cradle of “Revolution in Weihsien”.


Over 130 years has passed since an American missionary established the Courtyard of the Happy Way in 1883. During the over a century of vicissitudes, there were a lot of unforgettable stories, including the history of communication of Western civilization, the history of invasion of Japanese aggressors and the most exciting history of struggle of the Communist Party of China. Generations of communists, starting from Zhuang Longjia, fought for emancipation, strived for progress and sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the Chinese nation. Their deeds were heroic and moving. They were the most beautiful stories that have taken place at the Courtyard.

Today, we have stepped into a new era. We cherish the memory of the past, so that we won’t forget about the past and will keep fighting for the future. The great Chinese people have stood up, become richer and stronger and continued to write an even greater historical chapter. Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind. The Chinese people shall carry forward our cause, forge ahead into the future and make an according contribution to the realisation of the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.