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 MASSACRES

AND

ATROCITIES OF WORLD WAR II

COMPILED BY 
GEORGE R. DUNCAN

These files are a compilation of facts gathered from various sources including encyclopedias, almanacs, biographies, magazines and newspapers, and from the many books published since the end of WW11. Many of these facts are not to be found in official history books. This page is dedicated to all those who lost their lives through mans inhumanity to man. 
 
QUICK FIND TO MASSACRES IN INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES
FRANCE
ITALY
BELGIUM
HOLLAND
GERMANY
GREECE
RUSSIA
AUSTRALIA
THE PACIFIC
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FRANCE

THE NORMANDY MASSACRES
(June, 1944) A sensation was caused in Allied Headquarters when reports came through that a considerable number of Canadian soldiers were shot after being taken prisoner by the 12th. Panzer Division ‘Hitler Jugend’. On the morning of June 8th. thirty seven Canadians were taken prisoner by the 2nd. Battalion of the 6th. Panzer Grenadier Regiment. The prisoners were marched across country to the H/Q of the 2nd. Battalion. In the village of Le Mesnil-Patty they were then ordered to sit down in a field with their wounded in the center. In a short while a half track arrived with eight or nine SS soldiers brandishing Schmeisser machine pistols. Advancing in line towards the prisoners they opened fire killing thirty five men. Two of the Canadians ran for their lives and escaped the slaughter but were rounded up by a different German unit to spend the rest of the war in a POW camp. First to make contact with the Canadians was a combat group led by Obersturmbannfuhrer Karl-Heinz Milius and supported by the Prinz Battalion. Near the villages of Authie and Buron, a number of Canadians were taken prisoner. Numbering around forty, they were individually killed on the march back to the rear. Eight were ordered to remove their helmets and then shot with automatic rifles. Their bodies were dragged out on to the road and left to be run over by trucks and tanks. French civilians pulled the bodies back on to the pavement but were ordered to stop and to drag the bodies back onto the road again.. On the 7th. and 8th. of June, in the grounds of the Abbaye Ardenne, the headquarters of Kurt Meyer’s 25th. Panzer Grenadiers, twenty of the Canadians were shot. After being taken prisoner they were locked up in a stable, and being called out by name they emerged from the doorway only to be shot in the back of the head During the afternoon of 8th.June, twenty six Canadians were shot at the Chateau d’Audrieu after being taken prisoner by a Reconnaissance Battalion of the SS Hitler Jugend. Other units of the German forces in France called the Hitler Jugend Division the ‘Murder Division’. After the war, investigations established that separate atrocities were committed in 31 different incidents involving 134 Canadians, 3 British and 1 American. 


LE PARADIS
(Pas-de-Calais. May 26,1940) A company of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, trapped in a cowshed, surrendered to the 2nd Totenkopf Infantry Regiment under the command of 28 year old SS Obersturmfuhrer Fritz Knoechlein. Marched to a group of farm buildings, they were lined up in the meadow along side the barn wall. When the 99 prisoners were in position, two machine guns opened fire killing 97 of them. Two managed to escape, Privates Pooley and O'Callaghan emerged from the slaughter alive. When the SS troops moved on, the two were sheltered by the villagers at Le Paradis. After the war, the massacre was investigated and Knoechlein was traced and arrested. Tried before a War Crimes Court in Hamburg, he was found guilty, and on January 28, 1949, he was hanged. 


WORMHOUDT
(Pas-de-Calais. 27/28 May, 1940) The day after the Le Paradis massacre, some 80 men of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment, and the Royal Artillery, were taken prisoner by the No7 Company, 2nd Battalion of the SS Leibstandarte. At Esquelbecq, near the town of Wormhoudt, the prisoners were marched into a large barn, and there the massacre began. Stick grenades were lobbed in amongst the defenseless prisoners who died in agony as shrapnel tore into their flesh. When the last grenade had been thrown, the survivors were then ordered outside, there to be mown down under a hail of bullets from automatic weapons. The SS then entered the barn again to finish off the wounded. Fifteen men survived the atrocity, only to give themselves up to other German units to serve out the war as POWs. Unlike the Le Paradis massacre, the victims of Wormhoudt were never avenged, as after the war no survivor could positively identify any of the SS soldiers involved. 


ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE
(Central France. June 10, 1940) On their march from the south of France to the Normandy invasion area, the SS Division 'Das Reich' arrived at the small town of St.Junien (12 miles from Oradour). Following many encounters with the local Maquis, they marched to Oradour and surrounded the village and ordered all inhabitants to parade in the market square. Women and children were separated and locked in the local church. The men were herded in groups into local garages and barns and then shot, their bodies were covered with straw and set on fire. The 400 women and children in the church were then killed by grenades lobbed in through the windows. The church was then set on fire. Incredibly, one woman escaped by jumping through a window. Unspeakable atrocities were committed throughout the village, but five men managed to escape. The world heard of the massacre nine years later when some of those responsible were brought to trial. In 1953 a French Military Court established that 642 people (245 women, 207 children and 190 men) had perished. The commander of the SS troops at Oradour was SS Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Dickman. He was killed in action in the Normandy battle area. Twenty others members of his company were sentenced to death but only two were executed, the others having their sentences commuted to terms of imprisonment. Today, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane stands in ruins, just as the SS left it. 


ASCQ
(Near Lille, April 2, 1944) At the end of March, 1944, the 12th SS Panzer Division 'Hitler Jugend' set out on 24 rail trucks for Normandy to cover the coast in anticipation of an Allied landing. The convoy, under the command of SS Obersturmfuhrer Walter Hauck, was approaching the small railway station of Ascq when a violent explosion blew the line apart. Stopping the train, it was found that two flat trucks had been derailed, holding up the whole convoy. Hauck, in a foul mood, ordered his men to search and arrest all male members of the houses on both sides of the track. They were assembled together and marched down the track about 300 yards where each man was shot in the back of the head. Altogether 70 men were shot beside the railway line and another 16 killed in the village itself. After an investigation by the Gestapo, six more men were arrested and charged with planting the bomb. They were all executed by firing squad. When the war ended, a search for the perpetrators was set in motion. Most of the SS men were found in Allied POW camps in Europe and in England. In all, nine SS men stood trial in a French Military Court at Lille. All were sentenced to death, including Hauck. The sentences were later commuted to a period of imprisonment and Walter Hauck was released in July, 1957.   In the local cemetery at Ascq, two rows of identical tombstones, and a large plaque engraved with the names of all victims, stand in silent testimony to the tragic events of April 2, 1944.


FRAYSSINET
(May 21, 1944)     In the small village of Frayssinet just south of Tulle, in central France, members of the underground shot and killed a German officer. For this crime, 15 hostages were taken and executed.  These hostages were all young males from one child families. This, in the twisted minds of the SS, was to prevent any further family line of descent. Outside the entrance to the local church in Frayassinet stands a small monument mounted with a stone cross, and a plaque bearing the names of all the 15 victims.


TULLE MURDERS
(Near Limoges. June 9, 1944) The day before the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane, the SS murdered 99 men in the town of Tulle in central France. Their bodies were hung up on lampposts and from balconies along the main streets of the town. This was in response to activities by the local resistance groups who had attacked and taken over the town. In the bloody fighting, 139 German garrison troops were killed. With the arrival of the 2nd SS Division 'Das Reich' next day, the reprisals began. More would have been hanged had not the SS ran out of rope. Instead, they rounded up 101 civilians and deported them to Germany for slave labour. 





ITALY

 VIA RASELLA

(Rome. March 23, 1944) The 11th Company of the 3rd Battalion of the S.S. Polizei Regiment 'Bozen', consisting of 156 men, were on their regular daily march through the streets of Rome to the Macao Barracks, when they became the target of the Italian underground movement. On March 23 ( the 25th anniversary of the day Mussolini formed his Fascist Party) the police company had reached the narrow Via Rasella when the bomb, placed in a road sweepers cart, exploded. Twenty six SS policemen were killed instantly and sixty others wounded, two more died later. The German Commandant of Rome, General Kurt Malzer, drunk and shrieking for revenge, ordered the arrest of all who lived on the street. Some 200 civilians were rounded up and turned over temporarily to the Italian authorities. Hitler, on hearing of the bombing, immediately ordered that 30 Italians were to be shot for every policeman killed. This number was later reduced to 10. Within twenty four hours, 330 people were loaded onto lorries and driven to a network of caves on the Via Ardeatina. At 3.30pm the executions started, each victim ordered to kneel and was then shot in the back of the head. By 8pm it was all over. In 1947, SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Herbert Kappler, who was in charge of the executions, was arrested and faced court in Rome. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1972, Kappler was allowed to marry his German nurse, Anneliese Wenger. In 1976, with her help, he escaped from the prison hospital. Seven months later, at her home in Soltau in northern Germany, Herbert Kappler died of cancer of the stomach. SS General Malzer was sentenced to life, but died in prison.  Today, the Ardeatina Caves is a Memorial. Nearby is the Mausoleum containing the stone sarcophagi of the 330 victims.   


ATROCITIES IN SICILY

(1943)Many massacres of prisoners of war were committed by the American 45th Division during the invasion of Sicily in 1943. At Comise airfield, a truck load of German prisoners were machine-gunned as they climbed down on to the tarmac, prior to be air-lifted out. Later the same day, 60 Italian prisoners were cut down the same way. On July 14, thirty six prisoners were gunned down near Gela by their guard, US Sergeant Barry West. At Buttera airfield, US Captain Jerry Compton, lined up his 43 prisoners against a wall and machine-gunned them to death. West and Compton were both arrested and convicted of murder. They were sent to the front where both were later killed in action. 





BELGIUM

BANDE
(Christmas Eve,1944) On September 5, 1944, a unit of Belgian maquis attacked a German unit, killing three soldiers. Two days later the American troops arrived in the area and the Germans retreated. Three months later, during the Ardennes offensive, the village of Banda was retaken. On Christmas Eve, a unit of the German SD (Sicherheitsdienst) set about arresting all men in the village. They were questioned about the events of Sept.5, then lined up in front of the local cafe. One by one, they were led to an open door and as they entered a shot rang out. An SD man, positioned just inside the door, fired point blank into the victims neck, and with a kick sent the body hurtling into the open cellar. After twenty had been killed this way, it was the turn of 21 year old Leon Praile who decided to make a run for it. With bullets flying around him, he escaped into the woods. Meantime the executions continued until all 34 men had been killed. On January 10, 1945, the village of Bande was liberated by British troops and the massacre was discovered. A Belgian War Crimes Court was set up in December 1944. One man, a German speaking Swiss national by the name of Ernst Haldiman, was identified as being a member of the execution squad. He had joined the SS in France on November 15, 1942 and in 1944 his unit was integrated with other SD units, into No 8 SS Commando for Special Duties. Haldiman was picked up in Switzerland after the war and brought to trial before a Swiss Army Court. On April 28,1948, he was sentenced to twenty years in prison. He was released on parole on June 27, 1960, the only member of the SS Commando that has been brought to trial. 


MALMEDY
( Dec.17, 1944) During the Ardennes offensive, the Combat Group of the 1st SS Panzer Division, led by SS Jochen Peiper, was approaching the crossroads at Baugnes near the town of Malmedy. There they encountered a company of US troops from the US 7th Armoured Division. Realizing that the odds were hopeless, the company's commander , Lt.Virgil Lary, decided to surrender. After being searched by the SS, the prisoners were marched into a field by the crossroads. The SS troops moved on except for two tanks left behind to guard the GIs. An order was given to fire and SS Private Georg Fleps drew his pistol and fired at Lary's driver who fell dead in the snow. The machine guns of both tanks then opened fire on the prisoners. Many of the GIs took to their heels and fled to the nearest woods. Incredibly, 43 GIs survived, but 86 of their comrades lay dead in the field, being slowly covered with a blanket of snow. At the end of the war, Peiper, and 73 other suspects (arrested for other atrocities committed during the offensive) were brought to trial. When the trial ended on July 16, 1946, forty three of the defendants were sentenced to death, twenty two to life imprisonment, two to twenty years, one for fifteen years and five to ten years. Pieper and Fleps were among those sentenced to death, but after a series of reviews the sentences were reduced to terms in prison. On December 22, 1956, SS Sturmbannfuhrer Pieper was released. He settled in the small village of Traves in northern France in 1972 and there worked as a translator of military history books for a German firm.  Four years later, on July 14, 1976, he was murdered and his house burned down by a French communist group.  Today, the American flag flies over the Memorial built at the Baugnes crossroads, about 50 metres from where the actual killings took place.





HOLLAND

DE WOESTE HOEVE
(March 6, 1945) On the night of March 6, a BMW car, carrying the SS General Hans Albin Rauter, was ambushed, his driver and orderly being killed. Rauter was seriously wounded. Some hours later, the damaged car was found by some German troops and Rauter was taken to hospital where he recovered after a series of blood transfusions. Soon after the ambush, the SD arrived and what followed was one of the most notorious war crimes ever committed in Holland. In charge of the investigation was SS Brigadefuhrer Dr.Eberhardt Schongarth, who immediately ordered reprisals. One hundred and sixteen men were rounded up and transported to the scene of the ambush where they were all shot dead, their bodies being buried in a mass grave in Heidehof Cemetery. In Gestapo prisons all over Holland, prisoners were taken out and shot in reprisal for the ambush. The irony was, that the Dutch underground fighters had intended to ambush and steal a German lorry, and had no idea that the car they shot up contained a German General. Rauter himself survived the war. He was arrested by British Military Police and turned over to the Dutch. Before a special court he was sentenced to death and on March 25, 1945, he was hanged. Schongarth was tried by a British Military Court, sentenced to death and hanged in 1946. 



 
TEXEL MASSACRE
(April 1945) On the island of Texel, just off the coast of Holland, 800 Russian soldiers (who volunteered to join the German Army after being taken prisoner in Russia) decided to mutiny against their German masters. They had been formed into the 822nd Infantry Battalion and were led by around 400 German officers and NCOs. One night at the end of April, the Russians, led by Lt. Loladze, stealthily entered the German quarters and killed 250 Germans as they slept. German battalions were sent from the mainland to secure the island and hunt down the rebels. Summary justice was then dispensed to the Russians, four or five being tied together and grenades placed between them. Only 235 Russians were left alive out of the original 800. During the hunt, 117 Texelers were also killed.

PUTTEN ATROCITY.
On the night of September 30, 1944, a group of Dutch resistance fighters ambushed four German soldiers near the small Dutch village of PUTTEN.  The attack went wrong and three of the soldiers escaped to raise the alarm, the fourth being kept hostage. The German commander of the area, General Heinz Helmuth von Wuhlisch, ordered all inhabitants arrested and the village burned down.  Thirty nine were arrested immediately and lined up on the square.  Hoping to save the 39 men, the resistance group released the hostage, Lt.Eggert.  It made no difference, all the other men in the village were rounded up and together with the 39 men on the square, forced to board a train bound for the Reich.  In all, 589 men from the village were transported to Germany for forced labour. Only 49 were alive at the end of the war. Luckily, of the 600 or so houses in Putten, 'only' 87 were burned down.

RIDDERKERK ATROCITY
(1945) The last atrocity of the war in Europe took place in the small town of Ridderkerk, near Rotterdam. The Mayor had ordered the local police to arrest some 'Hun girls' (women collaborators). While standing with three of their prisoners in front of the house, a German officer and his girl friend passed by in a truck. The police stopped the truck but at a signal from the German officer, a group of ten drunken soldiers stormed out of a nearby house and started firing at the police and their prisoners who had fled to safety back into the house. The soldiers then stormed the house, dragging women and children outside. Eleven men were found inside the house and forced outside to stand up against the wall to be shot down. A wounded man, hiding behind a sofa, gave himself away by his moans. He too was shot dead. The soldiers departed, leaving behind three survivors. 


THE AMSTERDAM REPRISAL

When S.D. officer Herbert Oelschagel was murdered by the Dutch resistance on October 23, 1944 in Amsterdam, the Nazi reprisal was swift and severe. Next day, 29 civilians were arrested and pedestrians on the Apolloaan were forced at gunpoint to witness their execution. At the same time, several buildings were deliberately set on fire.





 

GERMANY

REMAGEN
After the capture of the Remagen Bridge, the US Army set up dozens of Prisoner of War cages around the bridge-head. The German prisoners were hopeful of good treatment from the GIs but in this they were sadly disappointed. Herded into the open spaces like cattle, some were beaten and mistreated. No tents or toilets were supplied. They had to sleep in holes in the ground which they dug with their bare hands. Denied enough food and water, they were soon forced to eat the grass under their feet and the camps became bare and muddy. After the concentration camps were discovered, their treatment became worse as the GIs vented their rage on the hapless prisoners. This harsh treatment at the hands of the Americans resulted in the deaths of over 40,000 German prisoners in the months after the war ended.
It must however be borne in mind that with the best will in the world it proved almost impossible to care for the prisoners under the strict terms of the Geneva Convention. The task of guarding these prisoners, numbering around 920,000, fell to the 40,000 men of the US 106th. Infantry Division. The Remagen cage was set up to accommodate 100,000 men but ended up with twice that number. On the first afternoon 35,000 prisoners were counted through the gate. About 10,000 of these required urgent medical attention which in most cases was completely absent. All roads leading to the camps were clogged with hundreds of trucks bringing even more prisoners, sent to the rear by the advancing 9th.US Army.  Tourists, cruising down the Rhine today can pick out a small memorial and plaque built on the site of the former POW cage.


THE SAGAN EXECUTIONS
(March, 1944)  The Gestapo’s most cold blooded act of butchery was the murder of 50 RAF officers from the POW camp, Stalag Luft III at Sagan in Silesia. Hundreds of officers had a hand in the building of a tunnel, 28ft down below one of the huts. It ran for 360 feet, passing under the wire at a depth of 20ft. The breakout on March 24th. 1944, saw the escape of 79 men before the tunnel was discovered. The last three men out gave themselves up to the guards in the hope that they could delay the search for the rest. Hitler issued a personal order that fifty escapees were to be shot on recapture. Within weeks, all had been recaptured, except three who eventually managed to reach England. After their capture, the officers were confined to various jails near where the arrests took place.. Early in the morning they were taken out of their cells and in groups of two or three, were bundled into cars in company with their guards, and driven out into the country. On the autobahn, near a wood, the car would stop and the prisoners allowed out to relieve themselves. While performing this natural function, the guards would sneak up behind them and shoot them in the neck. Their bodies were then taken to the nearest crematorium. When the urns containing the ashes of the murdered officers began arriving at Stalag Luft III, the enormity of the massacre was revealed.. Most urns had the officers name, date cremated and place-names such as Gorlitz, Brux, Breslau, Liegnitz, Kiel, Munich, Saarbrucken and Danzig. Most urns had the dates, 29th, 30th and 31st March 1944. Official Gestapo files noted that the officers were ‘shot while trying to escape’. After the war, the RAF Special Investigation Branch began its search for the culprits. It took over three years to bring the murderers to justice. Of the 72 culprits traced, 21 were executed, 17 imprisoned, 11 committed suicide, the rest died, disappeared or were acquitted.


THE DACHAU KILLINGS
(April,1945) The Dachau Concentration Camp was liberated by US forces on the 29th.of April, 1945. Prior to entering the camp, the troops had come upon a train of fifty cattle trucks parked just outside the camp. They were filled with the corpses of 2,310 Hungarian and Polish Jews. Enraged, the Americans rounded up the entire SS guard compliment of 358 men. Guarded by angry GIs, they were lined up against a wall to await the appearance of their commander, Heindrich Skodzensky. When he appeared, dressed immaculately with polished boots, and giving the Nazi salute, the GIs lost control and began shouting 'Kill em, kill em'. Filled with murderous rage and with tears streaming down his face, one GI of the 15th Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, opened fire with his machine-gun. When the firing stopped, 120 SS guards lay dead along the base of the wall.


THE WEBLING ATROCITY
(April, 1945) On the same day that the Dachau Concentration Camp was discovered, a massacre took place in the little hamlet of Webling, about ten kilometers from the camp. A Waffen -SS unit had arrived at the hamlet, which consisted of about half a dozen farm houses and barns, to take up defensive positions in trenches dug around the farms. Their orders were to delay the advance of the American tanks and infantry of the 7th.US Army which was approaching Dachau. The farms, mostly run by women with the help of French POWs, came under fire on the morning of 29th.April causing all inhabitants to rush for the cellars. One soldier of the US 222nd.Infantry Regiment was killed as they entered the hamlet under fire from the Waffen-SS unit. The first German to emerge from the cellar was the owner of the farm, Herr Furtmayer. He was promptly shot dead. Informed by the French POWs that only civilians were in hiding, the GIs proceeded to round up the men of the SS unit. First to surrender was an officer, Freiherr von Truchsess, heading a detachment of seventeen men.The officer was immediately struck with a trenching tool splitting his head open. The other seventeen were lined up in the farmyard and shot. On a slight rise behind the hamlet, another group of eight SS were shot. Their bodies were found lying in a straight line with their weapons and ammunition belts neatly laid on the ground. This would suggest that the men were shot after they surrendered. Altogether, one SS officer and forty one men lay dead as the infantry regiment proceeded on their way to Dachau. Next day the local people, with the help of the French POWs, buried the bodies in a field to be later exhumed by the German War Graves Commission and returned to their families.


HARTHEIM SCHLOSS
In 1942, a total of 3,166 civilian prisoners were transported to this place, situated near Linz in Austria, just over the German border,and there put to death by gassing. They were classified as 'unfit to work'. Hartheim was the only prison from which there were no survivors. Used in the SS Euthanasia Programme, around 10,000 mentally retarded and crippled children were murdered here. Five such establishments were set up in Germany, including the infamous Hadamar Psychiatric Clinic. Since the Programme began in 1939, a total of 70,273 mentally retarded people were murdered in these centers. Today, the Schloss has been converted into flats housing 22 families.The only reminder of the terrible events that took place here is a large plaque on the wall of the entrance hall.


NAHRENDORF
(Near Hamburg. 1945) A week after the discovery of the Belsen Concentration Camp, the news reached the British Army's 'Desert Rats' that the 18th SS Training Regiment of the Hitler Jugend Division, had shot their prisoners at nearby Rethem. The 'Rats' were engaged in a fierce battle with the SS defenders in the village of Nahrendorf. Slowly, and in groups, the SS began to surrender. As the noise of battle died away the villagers emerged from their cellars and found the bodies of 42 SS soldiers lying in a shallow grave. The bodies were then interned on a hilltop cemetery near the village. Each year, hundreds of SS veterans visit the cemetery to pay tribute to their fallen comrades whom, they say, were shot in cold blood on the orders of a ‘crazed blood-thirsty British NCO’. 


RUSSELHEIM

(August 26, 1944)   On a bombing mission over Germany, a US 8th.Airforce B24 was hit by flak and crash landed some 90 miles south of Hanover. The nine man crew were captured, one with a broken ankle was taken to hospital. The other eight were put on a train to a POW camp. On the way, the train stopped at Russelheim where the airmen dismounted and were marched through the town under guard. During the march they were set upon by a crowd of townspeople and pelted with stones, bricks and shovels. Two airmen ran for their lives and escaped. The other six, battered and unconscious were shot by the local Nazi leader, a foreman in the towns Opel Works. All were buried in a common grave.





  
 GREECE
KALAVRYTA
(December 13, 1943) Due to partisan activity around the town of Kalavryta in southern Greece, a unit of the German army 'Kampfgruppe Ebersberger', surrounded the town on the morning of Monday, 13th Dec. All the inhabitants were herded into the local school. Females and young boys were separated from the men and youths, the latter being marched to a hollow in a nearby hillside. There the soldiers took up positions behind machine-guns. Below, they witnessed the town being set on fire. Just after 2pm, a red flare was fired from the town. This was the signal for the soldiers to start firing on the men and youths who were huddled in the hollow. At 2.34pm, the firing stopped and the soldiers marched away. Behind them lay the bodies of 696 persons, the entire male population of Kalavryta. There were 13 survivors of the massacre, the town itself totally destroyed, only eight houses out of nearly five hundred, left standing. It was not until late afternoon that the women and young boys were released to face the enormity of the tragedy.


THE KOS MASSACRE
(October 4,1943) When the island of Kos in the Aegean, fell to the German forces, a total of 1,388 British and 3,145 Italian troops were taken prisoner. Italy had signed an armistice on Sept.8 and the Italian troops were now fighting on the British side. On September 11, Hitler gave the order to execute all Italian officers who were captured. The officer in charge of the Italian troops was Colonel Felice Leggio. He, and 101 of his officers, were marched to a salt pan just east of the town of Kos and there, shot in groups of ten. They were buried in mass graves. When Kos was returned to Greece after the war, the bodies were dug up and transported back to Italy for burial in the Military Cemetery at Bari.


CEFALONIA MASSACRE
(September,1943) Almost unknown outside of Italy, this event ranks with Katyn as one of the darkest episodes of the war. On the Greek island of Cefalonia, the Italian ‘ACQUI DIVISION' was stationed. Consisting of 11,500 enlisted men and 525 officers it was commanded by 52 year old General Antonio Gandin. When the Badoglio government announced on September 8, 1943, that Italian troops should cease hostilities against the Allies, there was much wine and merriment on Cefalonia. However, their German counterparts on the island maintained a stony silence and soon began harassing their Italian comrades, calling them 'traitors'. The German 11th. Battalion of Jager-Regiment 98 of the 1st. Gebirgs-Division, commanded by Major Harald von Hirschfeld, arrived on the island and soon Stukas were bombing the Italian positions. The fighting soon developed into a wholesale massacre when the Gebirgsjager troops began shooting their Italian prisoners in groups of four beginning with General Gandin. By the time the shooting ended 4,750 Italian soldiers lay dead. But that was not the end for the Acqui Division, some 4000 survivors were shipped off to Germany for forced labour. In the Mediterranean a few of the ships hit mines and sank taking around 3,000 to their deaths. The final death toll in this tragic episode was 9,640 men and 390 officers. Major Hirschfeld was later killed during the fighting in Warsaw in 1945 after he was promoted to General. 





RUSSIA

KATYN WOODS
(Smolensk. 1939/40) In 1939, during the Russian invasion of Poland, 14,500 Polish officers were captured and interned in three POW camps in the Soviet Union. The next time the world heard of these prisoners was a news broadcast on April 13, 1943, from Radio Berlin. It stated that the German Army had discovered mass graves at Katyn containing the bodies of Polish officers. Eight graves were opened and 4,253 bodies exhumed. All were dressed in Polish uniforms, with badges of rank and medals intact. No watches or rings were found on the corpses. It was established that the bodies were of Polish officers from the camp at Kozielsk, situated in the grounds of a former Monastery, near Orel. Two other camps, at Starobielsk (3,910 men) and at Ostashkov (6,500 men) were wound up and closed in the first days of April, 1940. Whatever happened to these 10,000 odd officers has never been established. They were never seen alive again. From evidence obtained after the war, all prisoners of Kozielsk camp were shot by Stalin's NKVD.
On April 13, 1990, fifty years after the massacre, the USSR for the first time admitted its responsibility for the murders. The whole controversy was finally laid to rest when Boris Yeltsin, handed over the secret files on Katyn to the Polish president, Lech Walesa, on October 14, 1992. In May 1992, in a wood near Kharkov, a Russian private investigation team discovered a mass grave containing 3,891 bodies of Polish officers from the camp at Starobielsk in the Ukraine. In June of that year, Soviet authorities discovered 30 mass graves at Miednoje, one hundred miles north-west of Moscow. They contained the remains of 6,287 Polish prisoners from the Ostashkov island camp on Lake Seliguer. Before the massacre, 245 officers from Kozielsk, 79 from Starobielsk and 124 from the camp at Ostashkor, were transferred, for no apparent reason, to a camp at Pavlishchev Bor, a hundred miles north-west of the Kozielsk camp. These 448 officers proved to be the only survivors of the Katyn massacre. In other parts of the Katyn Forest, other graves were discovered containing the bodies of Russian political prisoners who were executed in pre-war days by the NKVD. It seems that the Katyn Forest was the main execution site for Stalin’s secret police.


BABI YAR
(Kiev.Sept.29,1941) A picturesque ravine near the city of Kiev. There, on September 29, the SS herded the entire Jewish population of Kiev and the surrounding area, into the ravine and systematically began to slaughter the entire 33,771 souls. They were individually executed with a bullet in the neck. The killing took a whole two days, the bodies then burned in pyres, each containing 2,000 corpses. Later the SS brought in excavators and bulldozers and the ravine was filled in. In early October, Moscow informed the outside world of the discovery of the mass grave. The West, mistrustful of the Russians, dismissed the news as 'Products of the Slavic imagination'. During the 778 days of the German occupation of Kiev, many thousands of Russians and Ukrainians and other nationalities, were killed at Babi Yar. Of a total population of around 900,000, only 180,000 were living in Kiev at the end of the German occupation.


KORSUN MASSACRE
(USSR February 16/17, 1944) During a violent blizzard on the night of Feb.16, the German 8th Army made a last desperate bid to break out of the Russian encirclement around the town of Korsun. They flocked into two ravines in the surrounding countryside, and where the two ravines met, the troops then emerged into open country. There, the Soviet troops, under General Konev, were waiting. Soon after 6am, the slaughter began. Soviet tanks drove into the German columns crushing hundreds under their tracks. Fleeing in panic, the troops were then confronted by units of Cossack cavalry who started hacking them to pieces with their sabres. There was no time to take prisoners and the carnage continued till it was all over. In the short space of three hours, over 20,000 German soldiers lay dead. Another 8,000, who had fled the scene, were rounded up during the next few days and taken prisoner.


NICOLAIEV MASSACRE
(Russia)    During the month of September, 1941, Action Group A, consisting of around eight hundred men, and commanded by SS General Otto Ohlendorf, was operating on the Russian southern front. In the period, 16th to 30th September, in the area around Nicolaiev, and including the town of Cherson, they rounded up and massacred 35,782 Soviet citizens, mostly Jews. This was the figure reported to Hitler from the SD office, dated October 2, 1942.

RUSSIAN P.O.W. MASSACRES
Second only to the extermination of the Jews, the massacre of Russian prisoners of war must rank as the greatest of tragedies of World War 11. Starved to death in their POW cages, they died in the open, having eaten the last blade of grass. Thousands were tortured and then shot in concentration camps, or, as slave labourers, worked till they dropped in quarries and in factories. It is estimated that around 3,299,000 Russian prisoners of war were disposed of in this way.  



AUSTRALIA

COWRA BREAKOUT

(Aug.5, 1944)     The greatest prison break in history took place from the Prisoner of War camp at Cowra in New South Wales, Australia.  The compound contained Japanese and Italian POWs.  On the night of 4/5th August, 1,104 Japanese prisoners broke out, believing that dying while attempting to escape would wipe out the shame of capture.  In the wholesale indiscriminate shooting that took place during the breakout, 231 Japanese prisoners were killed and 107 wounded. Only four Australian soldiers were killed and four wounded. Eighteen of the 20 odd huts were set on fire in which 20 prisoners had already committed suicide. In all, 334 Japanese escaped from the camp and in the hunt that followed, 25 died by shooting and suicide.   Fearing reprisals against Australian POWs in Japanese prison camps, the whole incident was kept top secret for over six years.




LIDICE

(June 10, 1941)    Two Czech patriots, Jan Kubis and Joseph Gabeik, members of the Free Czech Forces in England, were dropped by parachute near Prague. Their mission, to assassinate SS Gruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, the Reich protector of Bohemia and Moravia. The ambush took place on May 27, 1941, as Heydrich drove to his office. Severly wounded, he was rushed to Bulovka Hospital where he died eight days later. The SS reprisals then began. On June 10, the SS police squads surrounded the small village of Lidice some six miles from Prague and rounded up 88 children who were then sent to the gas chambers in Poland. Sixty women were sent to concentration camps and executed and all the men in the village were lined up and shot then buried in a pit. The village was then dynamited and bulldozed flat. A further 252 Czech citizens were arrested and condemned to death for sheltering the assassins. Revenge was also taken in the concentration camps where thousands of Czech political prisoners were murdered. Kubis and Gabeik, with five other helpers, evaded capture for a while but were finally trapped in the Church of St. Cyril. A fierce gun battle followed in which three of the men were killed. The SS then flooded the crypt, and fighting to the last, with water up to their chests, the remaining heroes used the last bullets on themselves. Today, the Church of St. Cyril is open to the public as a memorial shrine to the Czech resistance.





 
 
PACIFIC REGION

NANKING MASSACRE

(December 1937)   Known historically as the 'Rape of Nanking'.  In 1937 (the real start of WW11) the Chinese capital had a population of just over one million.  On December 13th. the city fell to the invading Japanese troops.  For the next six weeks the soldiers indulged in an orgy of indiscriminate killing and rape. They shot at everyone on sight, whether out on the streets or peeking out of windows. The streets were soon littered with corpses, on one street a survivor counted 500 bodies.  Girls as young as thirteen, and women of all ages were raped by gangs of 15 or 20 soldiers who roamed the town in search of women. Over a thousand men were rounded up and marched to the banks of the Yangtze river where they were machine-gunned to death.  In the following six weeks, the Nanking Red Cross units, buried around 43,000 bodies.  About 20,000 women and girls had been raped, many were murdered.  Department stores, shops, churches and houses were set on fire while drunken soldiers indulged in wholesale looting and bayoneting of Chinese civilians for sport.  In charge of the troops during this time was General Iwane Matsui.  At the Tokyo War Crimes Trial, Matsui was found guilty of a war crime unrelated to Nanking and sentenced to death. He was hanged in 1948.


THE LAHA AIRFIELD EXECUTIONS.

(February 9, 1941)   Two graves, about five metres apart,  were dug in a wooded area near the Laha airstrip on Ambon Island. They were circular in shape, six metres in diameter and three metres deep. Soon after 6pm, a group of Australian and Dutch prisoners of war, their arms tied securely behind them, were brought to the site. The first prisoner was made to kneel at the edge of the grave and the execution, by samurai beheading, was carried out by a Warrant Officer Kakutaro Sasaki. The next four beheadings were the privilage of eager crew-members of a Japanese mine-sweeper sunk a few days previously by an enemy mine in Ambon Bay. This could only be considered as an act of reprisal for the loss of their ship. As dusk decended, and the beheadings continued, battery torches were used to light up the back of the necks of each successive victim. The same macabre drama was being enacted at the other round grave where men of a Dutch mortar unit were being systematically decapitated. On this unforgettable evening, 55 Australian and 30 Dutch soldiers were murdered. Details of this atrocity came to light during the interrogation of civilian interpreter, Suburo Yoshizaki, who was attached to the  Kure No.1 Special Navy Landing Party, at that time stationed on Ambon.
A few days later, on February 24, in the same wooded area, another bizare execution ceremony took place.  Around the graves stood about 30 naval personnel who had volunteered for this grisly task,  many of them   carrying swords which they had borrowed. When some of the young prisoners were dragged to the edge of the grave, shouting desperately and begging for their lives, shouts of jubilation came from those marines witnessing the executions. In this mass murder, which ended at 1.30am the following morning, the headless bodies of 227 Allied prisoners filled the two large graves. Witness to this second massacre was Warrant Officier Keigo Kanamoto, Commanding Officier of the Kure No.1 Repair and Construction Unit.


PHILIPPINES MASSACRE

A full account of all massacres of Philippinos by Japanese troops would fill several books.  In Manila, 800 men women and children were machine-gunned in the grounds of St.Paul's College.  In the town of Calamba, 2,500 were shot or bayoneted.  One hundred were bayoneted and shot inside a church at Ponson and 169 villagers of Matina Pangi were rounded up and shot in cold blood. On Palawan Island, 150 American prisoners of war were murdered.  At the War Crimes Trial in Tokyo, document No 2726 consisted of 14,618 pages of sworn affidavits, each describing separate atrocities committed by the invading Japanese troops. The Tribunal listed 72 large scale massacres and 131,028 murders as a bare minimum.


BANKA MASSACRE

( St. Valentine's Day, Feb.14, 1942)  On board the SS Vyner Brooke were 65 Australian Army nurses who, together with other civilian women and children, made up the 300 odd persons being evacuated from Singapore. In the Banka Strait, a narrow strip of water between the islands of Banka and Sumatra, the Vyner Brooke was bombed and sunk by Japanese planes. Twelve nurses had drowned and 32 ended up in prison. A few lifeboats containing 22 nurses managed to reach Radji beach on the mangrove lined shore of Banka Island. On advice from some islanders they were advised to give themselves up to the Japanese as there was no hope of escaping. That night another lifeboat arrived on the shore containing  between 30 and 40 British servicemen from another ship sunk earlier. The civilian women, some nurses and children, then set out to walk to the nearest Japanese compound to give themselves up. Once in the compound the nurses were subjected to  an endless night of revolting rape by officers and NCOs of the  guard platoon. ( After the war it was learned that the same platoon was later posted to Rangoon, Burma, but on the voyage their ship was sunk with great loss of life.) When the Japanese arrived at the beach  the men and women were separated, the men were marched into the jungle, never to be heard of again. The soldiers returned and forced the remaining 22 nurses to wade out into the sea. There, they were machined-gunned to death, leaving only one survivor, Sister Vivian Bulwinkle, who later managed to reach the island's Japanese Naval Headquarters where she was put to work in the hospital. For over three years she kept the secret of the massacre to herself  and a few friends. To speak openly about it would have been a certain recipe for execution. When the war ended only 24 of the original 65 nurses were still alive.


THE PARIT SULONG MASSACRE.

In January,1942, a company of Australian and Indian soldiers were captured by the Japanese and interned in a large wooden building at Parit Sulong in Malayasia. Late in the afternoon of January 22, 1942, they were ordered to assemble at the rear of a row of damaged shops nearby.The wounded were carried by those able to walk, the pretext being the promise of medical treatment and food. While waiting at the assembly point, either sitting or lying prone, three machine guns, concealed in the back rooms of the wrecked shops, started their deadly chatter, their concentrated fire chopping flesh and limbs to pieces. A number of prisoners whose bodies showed signs of life, had to be bayoneted. In order to dispose of the bodies, which totaled 161, the row of shops was blown up and the debris bulldozed into a heap on top of which the corpses were placed. Sixty gallons of gasoline was splashed on the bodies and then a flaming torch was thrown on the pile. Just before midnight, the debris of the nine shops had burned into a pile of grey ash two feet high, the 161 bodies totally incinerated. The perpetrator of this foul crime was Lt-Gen.Takuma Nishimura who later faced trial before an Australian Military Court.  Nishimura was previously convicted of massacres in Singapore and sentenced to life imprisonment by a British Military Tribunal on April 2, 1947. After serving four years of his sentence, he was being transferred  to Tokyo to serve out the rest of his sentence and while the ship stopped temporarily at Hong Kong he was siezed by the Australian military police and taken to Manus Island where his second trial was held. He was found guilty and hanged on June 11, 1951.


POL PLANTATION

(Feb.5, 1942)    On the 31st. of January, 1942, Japanese forces landed on the island of Ambon. Defended by men of the Australian 2/22 Battalion, New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and men of the 2/10 Field Ambulance Unit, they were soon overwhelmed and taken prisoner when the airport at Laha was captured.  The first 10 men taken prisoner were immediately bayoneted to death. The rest, including 60 Dutch and many Ambonese workers were confined  in a large house near the airfield. On the 5th. they were taken out one by one and marched to a spot in a grove of coconut trees. There, they were made to kneel at the edge of a large hole, previously dug by the Japanese. After they were blindfolded they were then beheaded by the sword or stabbed through the chest by the bayonet. Two weeks later, on the 20th.of February, another 220 prisoners were killed in the same way at a spot some 140 metres away. Six men survived the massacre, two dying some days later. When the Australian 11th. Battalion recaptured the area in April, 1945, a mass grave containing around 150 skeletons was found. The order for the killings was issued by the commander of the Japanese forces, Rear Admiral Hatakeyama. In Australia, the official Government report on the massacre was not released until 47 years later, in 1988.


SLAUGHTER ON LAE

(March 3, 1943)    On the 28th.of February, 1943, a convoy of eight Japanese troopships, escorted by eight destroyers, were enroute from Rabaul to the island of Lae to disembark around 7,000 men of the Japanese 51st. Division. On March 3rd. the convoy was spotted as it sailed through the Bismarck Sea and  soon attacked by a force of over 300 American and Australian aircraft. All eight transports and four escort destroyers were sunk, (a total of 33,730 tons). The other four destroyers, with the help of two Japanese submarines, rescued 2,734 men from the stricken ships. Thousands of others who survived the sinkings, were swimming in the water when attacked  mercilessly by machine-gun fire from the American planes and depth-charged by Motor Torpedo Boats. This was to prevent the swimmers from reaching the shore and reinforcing the enemy troops already there.


MURDER ON WAKE

(Jan.12, 1943)    The Japanese invasion of Wake Island cost them dearly, 11 naval craft, 29 planes and around 5,700 men killed. The stubborn defense of the island by the tiny garrison of US Marines and civilians lasted for fourteen heroic days. On December 23, 1941, Major James P.S. Devereux of the 1st. Defence Battalion, US Marine Corps, and Commander Winfield Cunningham of the Naval Air Station, realizing that the odds were hopelessly stacked against them, called for a cease fire, raised the white flag and surrendered the island. In January, 1942, the US Marines were herded aboard a Japanese hell-ship, Nitta Maru, for transportation to Yokohama and then to Shanghai. Those left behind included the civilians and the wounded Marines. A year passed and on the night of January 12, 1943, the Japanese accused the civilians of being in secret radio communication with US naval forces. The 98 American civilians still on Wake were marched to the beach and there lined up with their backs to the ocean and brutally murdered by machine guns. After the war, the Japanese commander on Wake, Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara, and eleven of his officers, were sentenced to death by a US Naval Court at Kwajalein.


THE TRUK MASSACRE

(Feb.1944)  During the American attack on the island of Truk in the Carolines, around 100 women, (most of them 'Comfort Women', those girls forced into prostitution by the Japanese Army) took shelter in a dugout behind the Naval base where they worked. With defeat staring them in the face, the Japanese, fearing that the 'comfort women' would be an encumbrance and an embarrassment, should they fall into American hands, decided to dispose of them.  During a lull between air-raids, three ensigns were sent to the dugout. Armed with machine guns, they approached to find a few women emerging from the pitch-dark interior. They were immediately shot on the spot. Entering the dugout with guns blazing, they fired randomly in the darkness. When the screams of the women had died down and only the moans of the wounded could be heard, the ensigns flicked on their torches to find around seventy bodies, drenched in blood, lying on the floor.


PALAWAN

 (October,1944)  One hundred and fifty American prisoners of war, working on the construction of an airfield on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, were herded into an underground shelter when an air-raid alarm sounded.  The Japanese guards then proceeded to pour petrol into the bunker and set it alight.  Eight prisoners managed to escape through a door at the rear but 142 others were either burned to death or shot down as they tried to escape out the entrance.


SAN FERNANDO CEMETERY

 (1944) On the 23rd of December, fifteen American prisoners of war, who were too sick to work, were taken from their prison cells and driven to the outskirts of San Fernando, Pampanga, in the Philippines.  There, in a small cemetery, a hole fifteen square feet was dug. Guards from the truck then took up positions around the hole.  One by one , the POWs were brought to the edge of the hole and ordered to kneel.  They were then bayoneted and decapitated.  After the war, the guard commander, Lt.Junsabura Toshino, was sentenced to death and hanged.


SANDAKAN

(1945)   The prison compound in North Borneo holding 2,296 Australian and British POWs.  Captured when Singapore fell, they were transported to Sandakan to help build a military airstrip for the Japanese. When their labour was no longer required, they were confined to the prison compound outside Sandakan where they slowly died from starvation, disease and brutalities. As the Allies approached the islands, over 1,000 prisoners still alive, were force marched in groups of 50 to another camp in the jungle at Ranau, about 120 miles away. The 291 prisoners, who were too sick to march and left behind at Sandakan, were shot soon after. In June, 1945, of the 600 odd prisoners that left Sandakan for Ranau, only 140 reached Ranau alive, the remainder had died or were shot during the march. Prisoners were shot out of hand, their bodies littering the route.  On another inhumane death march, 536 POWs left Sandakan but only 189 were still alive when they reached their destination, 142 of these were Australians. During their short stay at Ranau, six Australians managed to escape, the rest were either shot or died from exhaustion.  Of the six escapees, three died later and only three from the original 2,296 were alive to bear witness at the War Crimes Trials which followed at Rabaul and Tokyo in 1946. Altogether, 1,783 Australian prisoners-of-war were murdered in Borneo. Today, the  Sandakan War Memorial Park, with its two Australian memorials, is beautifully laid out on the former site of the notorious prison camp.


THE AIKAWA ATROCITY.

(August 2, 1945)   A few miles west of Honshu lies the Island of Sado, Japans fifth largest. On Sado, during WW11, the Japanese built the POW Camp109, at Aikawa. In the camp were a mixture of British, Australian, Dutch and American servicemen who had been transported to the island for slave labour in the Aikawa Ore Mine. On the morning of the 2nd. of August, an order from the Camp Commandant was given to have all prisoners herded into the deepest part of the mine some 400 feet underground. Unknown to the unsuspecting prisoners, demolition charges had been placed the previous night at depths of 200 and 300 feet. After the guards had hurriedly departed, the mine was blown up at exactly 9.10am, the toiling prisoners left to their fate. As soon as the dust and smoke had settled, every available guard set about dismantling the narrow-guage railway and depositing the parts inside the entrance to the mine.The guard detail then set off a large demolition charge which caused an avalanche of rock and earth to completely cover the mine entrance. During the next few days, the whole camp complex was demolished and all signs of previous occupancy removed. The 387 Allied prisoners entombed in the mine were never seen again. Lieutenant Yoshiro Tsuda later admitted during interrogation, that because of an Imperial Army Extermination Order, that provided for the swift extermination of all POWs should the islands of Japan be threatened by invasion, he had no misgivings whatsoever about the murder of such a large number of prisoners. He was just following superior orders, he said.


THE HANKOW REPRISAL.

Every criminal act known to man was inflicted on Chinese civilians by the soldiers of Nippon during their occupation of Manchuria. Indescriminate killings, beheadings, bayoneting of live victims and the vicious raping of tens of thousands of women and young girls, were the order of the day. Living with this constant terror and barbarity the civilian population could offer but little opposition. However, on August 19, 1945, four days after the surrender, a civilian group managed to capture twenty six Japanese soldiers and executed them near the town of Hankow in north-east China. Four of them were beheaded, four were tied to posts and shot through the back of the head, another four had their arms and legs broken and then crudely amputated, four more were found minus hands and feet and had their genitals stuffed into their mouths. The remaining ten had their eyes gouged out and then bayoneted to death. In this act of reprisal, the past methods of killing by the "Sons of Heaven" had been copied to the letter.


THE MANCHURIAN SLAUGHTER.

On August 8, 1945, the USSR declared war on Japan. Having extracted their terrible revenge on Germany, they were now fired by a desire to punish Japan, the second instigator of World War 11. Aided by the Mongolian Peoples Republic Army, they attacked the Japanese Kwantung Army in northern Manchuria. The fighting was ferocious and vengeful, the Nippon soldiers attacking in hordes, arms linked, into a withering fire of machine gun bullets. Many, armed with explosives, threw themselves under the tanks of the advancing Red Army at the same time shouting their Emperors name. The few soldiers who were captured showed no hesitation in committing hara-kiri by exploding hidden grenades and at the same time killing many of their captors. The Soviet and Mongolian soldiers unfortunate enough to be captured by the Japanese, faced a swift and terrible death. Their bodies were mutilated, eyes gouged out and genitals removed before decapitation. The Red Army officially claimed that 83,737 Japanese troops had been killed during the 24 day campaign. When the northern Kwantung Army laid down its arms and surrendered, Stalin took his revenge, they were transported to Siberia and there put  to work on forced  labour projects.


THE CHERIBON ATROCITY.

(July, 1945)    In the port of Cheribon in northern Java, a Japanese submarine took on board ninety civilian prisoners. All were European and included women and children. As dusk fell on that day in late July, the submarine set sail. It travelled on the surface, the ninety prisoners standing outside on deck. From the top of the conning tower two machine guns, aimed fore and aft, could be plainly seen. Fearing the worst, many of the women started crying but were helpless to do anything. Clinging to each other for stability in the gently rolling sea, the ninety captives waited and prayed. After about an hour the submarine suddenly slowed and dived without warning. The machine guns were never used. Swept off the deck as the ship slid beneath the sea the prisoners faced their worst nightmare. Schools of sharks attacked the screaming mass of humanity as men women and children were torn to pieces in a feeding frenzy. There was only one survivor who, minus an arm and right foot to the sharks, stayed alive long enough to be picked up by three Javanese fishermen. After relating his story he lost consciousness through loss of blood and died from his injuries a short time later. His body was then committed back to the sea, the three fishermen fully aware of their fate should they return to port with the body of an European who was supposed to disappear. After the war this atrocity was reported to the authorities but as all naval files and records of ship movements had been destroyed by the Japanese, the identity of the submarine and its crew was never established.


LOA KULU MASSACRE.

(July 30, 1945)   After surrendering to overwhelming numbers of Japanese troops, around one hundred  members of the Netherlands East Indies Army were disarmed and for a while permitted restricted freedom in the town of Samarinda, in Borneo, where most of the soldiers lived with their families. Early on the morning of July 30, all prisoners, including their families, were rounded up and taken before a Japanese officer who summarily sentenced them all to death. No reason was given as they were bundled into lorries and taken to Loa Kulu just outside the town. There they had their hands tied behind their backs and as the men and children watched, the women were systematically cut to pieces with swords and bayonets until they all died. The screaming children were then siezed and hurled alive down a 600 foot deep mine shaft. The men captives, forced to kneel and witness the butchery of their wives and children, and suffering the most indescribable mental torture, were then lined up for execution by beheading. When the grisly ritual was over, the bloodied corpses and severed heads of the 144 men  were then thrown down the mine shaft on top of their murdered wives and children. The horror of Loa Kulu was discovered by Australian troops who had earlier started a search for the missing Dutch soldiers.


ATROCITY ON LUZON.

While many atrocities were committed on Luzon, this one stands out for its sheer bloodymindedness.  Fourteen Filipino resistance fighters surrendered to the Nippon savages after their amunition was expended. Tied together neck to neck and with hands tied behind their backs, they were marched three miles to their place of execution. Ordered to sit down, another group of prisoners were brought in and forced to dig fourteen holes two feet wide and four and a half feet deep. When the digging finished the fourteen Filipinos, with their neck ropes removed, were forced to jump into the holes while the other group shovelled the earth back into the hole and stamped it down hard until only the head and neck of the victims were visible above ground. Their repungnant duty finished, the grave diggers were then lined up and shot in cold blood. The attention of the Japanese was now focused on the fourteen heads awaiting decapitation. A few soldiers had gone behind some bushes to defecate and after scraping together their excreta  on to banana leaves they returned to the buried victims and kneeling down offered each head a last meal. Unable to move, the helpless men could only shake their head from side to side whereupon the Japenese soldiers stuffed the revolting faeces into their mouths amidst peals of laughter from their comrades. After they had  their fun, the serious business of execution commenced as an officer drew his sword and with deft strokes seperated the fourteen heads from the bodies. No one was ever punished for this foul deed.


MASSACRE ON ANDAMAN.

Situated midway between the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, lie the tranquil Andaman Islands. As the food shortage became acute during the last month of the war, the Japanese occupiers decided to exterminate all those who were no longer useful or employable. All were deprived of their personal possessions and household goods before being embarked on three boats. About two kilometres from the shore of the uninhabited Havelock Island they were forced to jump into the sea and swim to the beach. Most of them, around a hundred, drowned on the way and those who made it were abandoned to die of starvation. The next day, eight hundred Chinese civilians were rounded up and transported to another uninhabited island. Transferred to the island in small boats, they wandered aimlessly on the beach waiting for further orders. Soon, a detachment of Japanese troops arrived and what followed was one of the most hineous crimes in the annals of the Pacific war. It took the detachment just over an hour to slaughter all but two of the eight hundred Chinese civilians, by shooting and bayoneting. Next day, August 15, 1945, the day of the Japanese surrender, a burial detail of troops arrived to remove all traces of the massacre. Within twenty-four hours all 798 bodies were collected and burned in funeral pyres until only fragmented bones and ashes remained. The ashes were then buried in deep pits dug on the beach.  In a gross miscarriage of justice, the Japanese officer responsible was sentenced to only two years in prison.


THE PIG BASKET ATROCITY

When the Allies capitulated to the Japanese in East Java in 1942, around two hundred Allied soldiers took to the hills around Malang and formed themselves into groups of resistance fighters. Eventually they were rounded up by the Kempetai. The captured soldiers were squeezed into three feet long bamboo pig baskets and transported in open lorries, under a broiling 38 degree sun, to a rail siding and then transferred in open railway goods wagons to the coast. Half dead from thirst and cramp, the captives were carried on board waiting boats which then sailed out to the shark infested waters off the coast of Surubaya. There, the unfortunate prisoners, still enclosed in their bamboo cages, were thrown overboard to the waiting man-eaters. The commander in chief of Japanese forces in Java, General Imamura, was later aquitted of this atrocity in a Netherlands court for lack of evidence. A subsequent Australian Military Court found General Imamura responsible and handed down a sentence of ten years imprisonment.


GENOCIDE IN SINGAPORE

Collectively known as the 'Chinese Massacres', this peaceful city was subjected to acts of savagery, in many cases beyond anything the Nazis had dished out. The soldiers of Nippon had but one thing on their minds in Singapore, to exterminate the entire Chinese population of this great city. Reliable estimates put the final number killed at between nine and twelve thousand. After interrogation by the Kempetai they were obliged to hand over all their personal possessions, rings, watches, jewelery, money etc. before being forced on to captured British lorries and driven to the Tanjong Pagar Wharf where they were beheaded. The slaughter continued for twelve successive days as boats from Singapore Harbour brought even more Chinese civilians to the execution site. In the Geylong district, thousands of Chinese were herded into the grounds of the Teluk Kuran English School. Alltogether, 3,600 persons were then interrogated by the Kempetai. In groups of two hundred, they were taken by truck to the crest of a hill off Siglap Road and there they were killed by shooting, beheading or bayoneting. All but one of the Teluk Kuran School victims, perished. In another massacre, seven hundred Chinese were taken to an area just east of Changi and murdered in the most disgusting manner. Their headless bodies were then thrown into already dug mass graves. The victims heads were piled up on the back of a waiting lorry and carted away. Next morning, the sight that greeted the Singaporians was something that they will never forget. Everywhere, mounted on the tips of long bamboo stakes, were the severed heads of the murdered Chinese. After the war, a British Military Court sentenced the commanding general of Japanese troops in Singapore, Lt.Gen.Takuma Nishimura, to life imprisonment, but at a later trial for other crimes, an Australian Military Court handed down a death sentence. He was hanged on June 11, 1951.


THE HOSPITAL MASSACRES

Directly in the path of the invading Japanese hordes lay the Princess Alexandria Hospital in Singapore. Guarded by a detachment of Ghurka troops they were ordered by a Japanese officer to lay down their arms. The Ghurka NCO replied that this was not a military target but a civilian hospital. Angered by their refusal to disarm, the Japanese officer ordered his men to sieze and kill two dozen of the Ghurka guards. This order was promptly carried out and the Nippon soldiers then entered the hospital. The wholesale slaughter which followed defies description, sick and dying patients being butchered in their beds. Some were just shot, others clubbed and bayoneted and not a few were beheaded by the sword. A number of the victims were survivors from the Prince of Wales and Repulse. The scene of carnage resembled an abattoir, disembowelled patients sprawled everywhere. Doctors and medical orderlies were then killed as were the nurses who were first raped in a most brutal fashion. A similar attrocity occured in Manila when the Headquarters of the Filipino Red Cross  in General Luna street was captured. Some seventy civilians, sick patients and a number of children were put to death in the same brutal and sadistic way. In Burma, on the afternoon of February 7, 1944 an Advance Field Hospital was overrun by the Japanese who first wiped out the protective guard of West Yorkshires then killed every doctor and medical orderly they could find. The sick and wounded were massacred where they lay after their personal possessions were stolen. In all, thirty-one patients, nine orderlies and four doctors were brutally put to death.


PINGFAN

(1945)    When Russia invaded Manchuria in 1945, the Japanese Government ordered that Pingfan (the Japanese experimental Biological and Germ Warfare Centre in occupied Manchuria) be destroyed. This complex was established by General Ichii and an Imperial prince and cousin of Emperor Hirohito. The documentation authorising the building of this establishment carried the Imperial Seal of the Emperor. Prisoners in the holding cells were first killed and all Chinese and Manchurian slave labourers who were forced to work in the complex were then machined-gunned to death.  About 600 were killed this way, the bodies of the victims cremated in ovens the same way as those used in the Nazi death camps, and their ashes then dumped into the nearby Sungari River. The whole Pingfan complex was then blown up before the Russians arrived.  Pingfan had 4,500 flea breeding machines which produced 100 million infected fleas every few days.  These fleas, infected with plague, typhoid, cholera and anthrax organisms, were to be dropped on the invasion troops in a last ditch effort to win the war.  Emperor Hirohito, realising that the war was over, opposed it after the Hiroshima bomb was dropped.


MUKDEN

 About 350 miles from Pingfan (the Germ Warfare Complex in Manchuria) was the prisoner of war camp at MUKDEN  where 1,485 American, British and Australian POWs were  sent  on November 11, 1942.  Every few days they received inoculations and vaccinations. Within three months 230 had died.  By November, 1943, a total of 84 British, 16 Australians and 1,174 US servicemen had perished.  It is estimated that around 60,000 prisoners, including the Chinese, lost their lives in this inhuman experiment. The terrible experiences suffered by prisoners at Mukden, has been, for over forty years, one of the best kept secrets of World War 11.
None of the Japanese scientists and doctors at Mukden or Pingfan were ever brought to trial, owing to a deal done with the USA, through General Douglas MacArthur, in which it offered immunity from war crimes in exchange for scientific data acquired at Mukden and Pingfan.  After repeated requests by war crime investigators for authority to arrest General Ishii and the Imperial prince, the requests were denied by MacArthur. After the war these men, about thirty five of them, held top positions in Japanese medical and scientific institutions.



In the Netherlands East Indies, now Indonesia, 26,233 Dutch nationals perished between 1942 and 1945 during the Japanese occupation.
The combined figure of British and American prisoners of war who died while in Japanese captivity, totaled 35,756.



 
 
By the year 2000, Germany will have paid out 102 billion D.Marks in restitution and compensation to the victims of the Nazi regime. Germany has faced up to its legal and moral obligations. Not so Japan. Denying its wholesale massacres and thieving by its moronic hordes, the Japanese Government officials hide behind their bland smiles and polite bows and think 'Japan Number One, other countries Number Ten'. For over fifty years, Japan has denied its abuses of Human Rights and refuses to pay any compensation to its victims, especially the survivors of its 250,000 sex slave program.(At this moment a few survivors are fighting for compensation in the Japanese courts). Until Japan faces up to its responsibilities, civilized nations everywhere must regard it with grave suspicion.


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