ATROCITIES OF WORLD WAR II
GEORGE R. DUNCAN
(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.
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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.
( 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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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.
|COMMENTS AND ADDITIONS TO THIS PAGE PLEASE E-MAIL||