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World War Two - POWs

The Japanese Prison Camp at Cabanatuan (Yank Magazine, 1945)

Here is an interview with the American P.O.W.s who were strong enough to survive the abuses at the Japanese Prison Camp at Cabanatuan (Luzon, Philippines).These men were the survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March:

"You were on the Death March?" somebody asked him.

"Is that what they call it?...Yes, we walked to Capas, about 65 miles. Three days and three nights without food, only such water as we could sneak out of the ditches. We were loaded into steel boxcars at Campas, 100 men to a car - they jammed us in with rifle butts..."

The rescue of these men by the 6th Ranger Battalion (U.S. Army) was dramatized in a 2005 television production titled "The Great Raid".

Click here if you would like to read more about the 6th Rangers and the liberation of the Cabanatuan P.O.W. camp.


Indian Sikhs Tell of Japanese Prison Camps (Yank Magazine, 1944)

"Captured in the fall of Singapore, 66 soldiers of the 5/11 Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army were freed by our troops. Used as slave laborers since their capture in February 1942, the Indians were building jetties on Los Negros Island when they were rescued."

"Asked how they were treated by the Japanese, the Sikhs shake their heads sadly, smile and say, 'Not very well.'"


Inhumanity (Newsweek Magazine, 1944)

Here is a short column that recalls the bestial treatment that was meted out to the American and Filipino prisoners of war by their Japanese masters.

"For example, in August of last year, some 300 Japs attacked an unarmed litter train on the Munda Trail. They hacked twenty of the wounded to death..."


Americans Tell of Japanese Prison Camps (Yank Magazine, 1945)

A well illustrated magazine article which relays the tale of two Marines who were captured at the fall of Corregidor in 1941 and spent the remainder of the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp on the island of Honshu, Japan. The two men told Yank correspondent Bill Lindau all about their various hardships and the atrocities they witnessed as well as the manner in which their lot improved when their guards were told that Japan had surrendered.

Click here to read an article about the American POW experience during the Korean War.

Click here if you would like to read about a World War One German P.O.W. camp.


Sports in Japanese Prison Camps (Yank Magazine, 1944)

Assorted yarns told by liberated Allied soldiers as to the types of games played in Japanese prison camps between bouts of malaria, dysentery and gangrene:

"We had a big fellow with us in camp, a guy named Chris Bell, who was 6 feet 2 and the rocky sort. The Jap guards were having a wrestling tournament at the guardhouse and they wanted Bell to come down and wrestle one of those huge sumo men. These sumo wrestlers weigh about 300 pounds and are very agile..."

This was NOT the first time that a Japanese baseball team had faced Americans.
Click here to read about that game.

Suggested Reading:
POW Baseball in World War II: The National Pastime Behind Barbed Wire


Prison Bust in Libya (Yank Magazine, 1942)


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