Sgt Joseph G.
Diary - Part 1 overview of camp
Source: RG 389 Box 2129 - Often called the "Diaries Box" at NARA
Handwritten Notations: Kamioka, Japan, Letter (Nagoya 1-B)
LETTER AND DIARY OF JOSEPH G. PASE, 1st Sgt., U.S. Army, #8
King St., Georgetoewn, Delaware
CAMP O'DONNELL opened on or about April 9, 1942. Number of
American POWs constantly varied; was base camp for all Americans
MUKDEN POW CAMP opened about Nov. 10, 1942; 1420 American POWs; number of POWs varied constantly, due to deaths and transfer of personnel.
KAMIOKA CAMP Dutch / POW opened camp; 150 Americans arrived May 29, 1944: 194 Americans arrived August 3, 1944, completing complement of Americans.
Names of those who died during internment:
Food: Ate nothing but cooked grain (rice and maize); about once a month each man about 1 oz of meat; about once every two weeks about 3 oz of fish; occasionally as a reward for working hard each man would receive about 5 oz of soy beans; this happened about every three weeks.
Medical Facilities: Were deplorable; once a man was hurt,
or became sick, the Japs placed every obstacle in the way of
his recovery, withholding medicines sent by Red Cross, not issuing
sufficient fuel to warm the sick quarters, providing an insufficient
number of blankets, and greatly reducing the rations of the sick.
They also deprived sick POWs of all reading material, and punished
those who were caught reading or smoking, making it as miserable
as possible for the sick and wounded. Many thus lost the will
to live. A more detailed account may be had from the officer
in charge of all sick POWs in that camp. This officer's name
Housing Facilities: Housing facilities were very poor. Men slept on straw mats with insufficient blankets. 24 men to a room which normally accommodated 10 men. For heat in winter two handfuls of charcoal per day could be burned in a small wooden box in center of room. The buildings were so frail, it was necessary to shovel all snow from roof daily to prevent its collapse.
Latrines: POWs were responsible for digging their own latrines at previously designated locations and erecting shields to protect themselves from the cold winds.
Recreation: We were not permitted any recreational facilities other than reading, and were permitted only 1 book to 6 men every six months; men were not allowed to select their own books.
Red Cross Parcels: Our first Red Cross parcels were received in Aug. 1944. One large parcel to 25 men; one small parcel per man in December 1944; one small parcel per man in Feb 1945; one small parcel per man in March 1945; and ½ small parcel per man in 1945.
Mailing Restrictions: We were permitted to write as many letters as we desired, but very few ever left camp. Many men did not receive a letter or message during their entire internment.
Work: Each man was required to work 9 hours per day in lead mines, with civilian foremen armed with rubber pipes which they did not hesitate to use when a POW failed to accomplish the specified amount of labor. Wounded men (hurt while working) were forced to remain in the mines until their shift was completed; All work was inspected and detailed by Mitsui Mining Company officials daily.
Names of Japanese Camp Officials:
Names and addresses of any persons who might be able to give
Prior to May 24, 1944 I did not occupy a position of any great
responsibility and therefore all written records in my possession
prior to that date were submitted to my superiors in the various
POW camps where I was interned.