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Juan Castillo
Lipa, Batangas, P.I.

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The Death March

 

When a Filipina, about eight months pregnant, passed a rice ball to a friend of Drake’s, “the guard ran up screaming and jabbed her in the belly with his bayonet — right through the fetus. She fell, and he bayoneted her again in the heart. Then two other Japs came up, and one took out a hunting knife. They ripped her clothes off — cut her belly open — dragged that fetus out, held it up, and laughed like the fiends of hell.

 

“I had to turn my back. I had nothing to vomit, but I heaved until my socks came over my kneecaps.”

 

— Memory H. Cain, Sr.

“Beyond Courage”

“Story of Atrocities by Japs on Hapless Prisoners is released by the U.S.; Deliberate Starvation, Torture, Death”

 

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Fort Santiago

 

One of the oldest fortifications in Manila. Built in 1571, on the site of the native settlement of Rajah Soliman. First fort was palisaded structure of logs and earth. Destroyed in the Limahong attack in 1574. Stone fort built between 1589 and 1592. Damaged in the 1645 earthquake. Repaired and strengthened from 1658 to 1663. Became the headquarters of the British occupation army from 762 to 1764. Repaired and renovated in 1778.

Former headquarters of the Philippine Division of the U.S. Army. Occupied by the Japanese military in 1942 where hundreds of civilians and guerillas were imprisoned, tortured and executed. Destroyed in the Battle of Manila in 1945.

Used as depot of the U.S. Transportation Corps before turnover to the Philippine Government in 1946. Declared Shine of Freedom in 1950. Restoration and maintenance of the fort began in 1951 under the National Parks Development Committee. Management was turned over to the Intramuros Administration in 1992.

 

Fort Santiago Historical Plaque

Jap Atrocity Killings Were Battle Orders

 

MANILA, P.I. (AP) — APR. 2, 1945 — Captured Japanese documents bearing dates between last Dec. 23 and Feb. 14 strongly suggested today that wholesale atrocities on civilians in Manila were the result of orders issued to the Nipponese garrison.

The atrocities were not, the reports indicated, the work of isolated groups of Japanese who took matters into their own hands, although at the time a good many of them so appeared.

Included in the documentary reports of Japanese slaughter of helpless civilians in the downtown battlefield were Nipponese documents and orders captured by soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 14th Corps, some of them mimeographed and bound.

 

Death Order Found

 

One Japanese message book contained the following order issued to the Kobayashi group, then inside the walled Intramuros, on Feb. 13:

“All people on the battlefield with the exception of Japanese military personnel, Japanese civilians and special construction units will be put to death.”

The following is a paragraph from a Japanese battalion order dated Feb. 8, captured in the Intramuros by 14th Corps soldier:

“When Filipinos are to be killed, they must be gathered into one place and be disposed of with the consideration that ammunition and manpower must not be used to excess. Because the disposal of dead bodies is a troublesome task, they should be gathered into houses which are scheduled to be burned or demolished. They should also be thrown into the river.”

A diary, presumably belonging to a member of the Akatsuki force in Manila and captured by the 14th Corp, contained the following items:

 

Feb. 8—Guarded 1,164 guerrillas newly brought in today.

Feb. 9—Burned 1,000 guerrillas to death tonight.

Feb. 13—150 guerrillas were disposed of tonight. I personally stabbed and killed 10.

The pattern of atrocities as described in the affidavit reports is so similar as to indicate strongly they were by general order to all Japanese troops.

 

Many Are Starved

 

Some of the cases rival the most brutal of (...illegible) and tortures. Perhaps the most horrible is contained in the report of atrocities at Fort Santiago, inside the Intramuros, sworn to by Col. J.D. Frederick, commander of the 129th Infantry of the 37th Division.

Probing in the rubble of the destroyed fort, Frederick and his men found a dungeon-like room partially below the ground whose only exits were sealed by two seven foot steel doors bolted from the outside.

Inside, they found the decomposing bodies sprawled around were oriental civilians. The only window in the five-foot thick walls was partly sealed.

Frederick thinks most of the victims starved to death, but that some of them suffocated. Thirty bodies were sprawled around the steel doors. They died trying to force the doors.

Throughout the Intramuros Frederick and his men found smaller piles of corpses, of both sexes, many with their hands bound and wearing bayonet wounds.