BILIBID PRISON, Manila, Feb. 6. (AP) —
Musty, filthy old Bilibid, erstwhile
Japanese prison of horrors, was a begrimed
citadel of American freedom today.
Thirty-seventh division infantry opened its
doors Sunday for the liberation of its
half-starved, ill-clothed 800 prisoners of
war and 500 civilian internees, including
women and children.
At Santo Tomas university, ten blocks to the
north, there had been some fighting prior to
the complete liberation of its some 3700
internees by the 1st cavalry division. In
the end, it had been necessary to insure
safe conduct for Lt. Col. Hayashi and 65 of
his men to the enemy's lines in order to
free 270 internees held as hostages in the
This was not so at Bilibid. The Japanese
fled their infamy there.
Old Bilibid was in such a deplorable
condition that the ancient Spanish prison
had been abandoned by the Filipino
government before the war.
But the Japanese made full use of its
torture chambers. Many an accused man was
taken from Santo Tomas to Bilibid. If he
came back at all, he came back a broken and
shattered shell of himself.
Prisoners confined to the prison itself and
not taken to the torture chambers, however,
received generally better treatment than in
other war prisons.
The Nipponese prison staff left Saturday
when the first Yanks entered the city
leaving behind a signpost saying, 'Prisoners
and war internees quartered here lawfully
Sunday, while Capt. Theodore Winship (107
North Fifth Ave) Virginia, Minn. was cooking
his handful of corn and rice, he looked up
to see a soldier.
“Hello who are you?” Winship asked.
“I'm an American soldier of the 37th
division,” was the reply. “We've come to
“Where in the hell have you been?” Winship
inquired. “We've been waiting three years
“That's long enough,” replied the Yank as he
broke down the gate.
George Thomas Folster, NBC correspondent,
who visited the prison, said all inmates
were suffering from malnutrition, beri-beri
and dysentery after subsisting on a daily
ration of 110 grams of corn, 50 grams of
rice and 60 grams of beans.
(He said some inmates were British
missionaries and mining engineers who had
been transported south from Baguio, exposed
to the blazing sun and without food on the
Many of the released felt as did H. T.
Hutchinson of Pasadena, Calif. who sent out
word to his wife, “My affection for you must
be shared with General MacArthur and his
Bilibid and Santo Tomas both were liberated
Sunday, although Santo Tomas was reached
Sunday night by several hundred 1st cavalry
division Yanks. Those Yanks had passed right
by pockets of Japanese in a mad dash to
Santo Tomas and the situation at the
university internment camp was tense until
reinforcements got through the next day.
The impression made by the initial
appearance of the Yanks at Santo Tomas is
depicted in the words of David T. Boguslav,
editor of the Manila Tribune.
“The first tank rounded the main building,
housing 11_ (illegible) men, women
and children, was nearly mobbed by a horde
of joy maddened internees, fearlessly
defying for the first time the strict Jap
The released internees included many like
three-year-old Daphne Lee Seater, daughter
of Mrs. James Seater, Washington, D. C., who
has never known anything but life in
A 70-year-old veteran of the Spanish
American war at Santo Tomas summed up the
feelings of the liberated — “America has
come back to us.”