prisoners

Oct

29

1943

Japanese execute troublesome Hong Kong internees


29th October 1943: Japanese execute troublesome Hong Kong internees

he was arrested and subjected to prolonged and severe torture by the Japanese who were determined to obtain information from him and to make him implicate the others who were working with him. Under this treatment he steadfastly refused to utter one word that could help the Japanese investigations or bring punishment to others. His fortitude under the most severe torture was such that it was commented upon by the Japanese prison guards.

Oct

24

1943

Japanese execute Australian commando Leonard Siffleet


24th October 1943: Japanese execute Australian commando Leonard Siffleet

The Major has drawn his favourite sword. It is the famous masamune sword which he had shown us at the observation station. It glitters in the light and sends a cold shiver down my spine. He taps the prisoner’s neck lightly with the back of the blade, then raises it above his head with both arms and brings it clown with a powerful sweep. I had been standing with muscles tensed, but in that moment I closed my eyes.

Oct

19

1943

Disabled PoWs repatriated in Prisoner Exchange


19th October 1943: Disabled PoWs repatriated in Prisoner Exchange

hours spent among the 1,200 new passengers in the Drottningholm on Monday morning furnished a stimulating and indeed an inspiring experience. Most of them had been prisoners for well over three years; all had endured long and severe hardships; some were maimed and many more had less obvious injuries, yet all of them displayed a buoyant spirit. It became apparent, after on had talked with the men in different parts of the ship, that theirs was not merely the natural cheerfulness of men who were going home. These were men whose confident spirit had remained high and intact through the darkest period.

Oct

2

1943

Nazis order murderous crackdown on all Poles


2nd October 1943: Nazis order murderous crackdown on all Poles

They were clad in civilian clothes, and sometimes their hands were tied behind their backs. However, as the victims thus brought to the place of execution usually shouted ‘Down with Hitler’, ‘Long Live Poland’, ‘Down with the Germans’, and similar things, the Germans took steps to prevent the possibility of any such disturbances and began to fill their mouths with cement, or seal their lips with adhesive tape. The victims were brought from the ‘Pavwiac’ clad in shirts, or in clothes made out of paper.

Sep

30

1943

A PoW escape goes wrong in Italy


30th September 1943: A PoW escape goes wrong in Italy

We both knew that, if we were not to spend the rest of the war in Germany, we must make a break in the course of the journey on which we were now embarking. Under my battle-dress I was wearing civilian clothes, which I had obtained from a friendly Italian guard in exchange for cigarettes and a packet of tea. Michael carried a crowbar secured inside his trouser leg. I tapped his thigh and it emitted a reassuring twang.

Sep

28

1943

Escape from unspeakable horror of Camp Syret


28th September 1943: Escape from unspeakable horror of Camp Syret

At last the Germans understood what was happening and all the guards got to their feet. They started pursuing us on cars, motorcycles and with dogs. The ravine was lit with flares. The shooting remained in front of us. The pursuers did not know where to aim their shooting since all the prisoners scattered in different directions. Some of them ran off with a chain still clamped to one leg, since they had no time to unchain it.

Sep

21

1943

Wehrmacht massacres Italian soldiers on Cephalonia


21st September 1943: Wehrmacht massacres Italian soldiers on Cephalonia

My companions were loaded onto trucks and taken somewhere: I won’t see them anymore. My friend, the second lieutenant Giampietro Matteri – from Dongo (Como), twenty-two years old – is killed on September 24. The same destiny for another friend, the second lieutenant Pillepich, from Trieste: I still remember the terror in his eyes when, together with eleven companions, he was dragged from the group. Few minutes later we heard the shots of machine guns, followed by cries of pain, yells, invocations. And then other shots. The finishing strokes.

Sep

10

1943

Germans turn against former Allies and Italian civilians


10th September 1943: Germans turn against former Allies and Italian civilians

So they stayed in shelters while the Germans stripped their homes of silver, linen, food, wine, and anything else of value they could find. The people cheered the troops as their liberators and they were bitter toward their former Allies. Unarmed Italian soldiers wandered about the streets or gathered to talk with British Tommies and exchange souvenirs.

Sep

1

1943

Last notes of a Prisoner of the Japanese


1st September 1943: Last notes of a Prisoner of the Japanese

Mud is everywhere. On the second day we get soup. After three days we start work on the drome. What a sight – two hills of solid coral that we have to level. We work in two shifts – 750 men – 6 a.m. until 12 p.m., and 750 men – 12 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Diarrhoea increases. Dysentery starts. Men going down right and left. After ten days, work at the drome is abandoned. Deaths several each day. The camp is split into two. One half a hospital, all men with dysentery and diarrhoea are taken in.

Aug

26

1943

Barbaric Japanese punishment for PoWs seeking food


26th August 1943: Barbaric Japanese punishment for PoWs seeking food

Meanwhile, in his solitary confinement, the PoW involved was being systematically starved by the Japanese, who reduced his ration to one small dish of cold rice a day and one cup of water. No arrangements were made for washing or tending his many cuts and bruises, and his cell — none too clean on his arrival — became progressively filthier.