Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I remember when I saw Tojo

"I remember when I saw Tojo. In December 1946 while awaiting transportation from Tokyo Japan to a Red Cross assignment in Korea, I had the opportunity to attend the War Crimes Trial in Tokyo with a group of Red Cross girls.

Side A - original in possession of Elsie (Barks) Naylor.
As we entered the building where the trial was being conducted, we were searched for weapons and camera. A balcony was set aside for spectators. One side was reserved for Allied Personnel, and the other side for Japanese civilians. On the floor below us there were ten interpreters in five glassed-in boxes. To the left of them were ten judges dressed in black robes, except the Russian judge and the US judge who wore their uniforms. On the left hand side of the room were two rows of prisoners, ten to each row. Tojo was seated in the front row. There were eight defending and prosecuting attorneys at a table in front of the prisoners. Next to them was a long table set aside for the press.

Each spectator seat had earphones. The prosecuting Australian Army Colonel question on this morning a Warrant Officer who had been a Jap prisoner. Out of 2,295 prisoners only 6 survived. When the questions were asked in English, it was translated into Japanese and the Japanese sitting next to us heard it over their earphones. We also heard it in Japanese in our earphones.

Side B - original in possession of Elsie (Barks) Naylor
It was a vary interesting morning. Proof came out of the death marches on Java. Of treatment against prisoners, for example, feeding a Capt. Matthews rice and putting a hose down his throat and forcing water into his stomach, which later caused swelling but no medical aid was given, tacks hammered under fingernails, pounding hammers on heads, cigarette butts burning under arms, stretched on racks, etc.

Tojo and the rest listened intensely at times, but other times just sat reading or writing. We remarked later, however, how kindly most of the defendants looked. Most of them looked like very proper business men. Tojo, Matsui and Muto wore uniforms but everyone else wore suits."

Elsie explains she was given this card with the courtroom seating and rules, before entering the tribunal.

According to WikiPedia, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East was convened in the former Imperial Japanese Military Headquarters on 5 May 1946. Hideki Tojo is pictured below in this official US Army photo seated in a wooden desk, wearing his uniform, roundish glasses and earphones for translation as Elsie mentions in her memoirs.

A brief outline of Tojo's career and the trial is found at the WikiPedia website.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. See Copyright.

No comments: