8/20/2006

Kinkaseki (金瓜石), Taiwan Prisoner of War Camp Survivors

Many pictures like this one exist of prisoners of war that were freed August 16th, 1945 from Taiwan's 15 prisoner of war camps. Without exaggeration, we can say the inmates looked similar to those who also emerged from Nazi concentration camps that same year. For 3.5 years, the stick-like figures of Kinkaseki, Taiwan (金瓜石) hobbled around on three teacups of watery rice stew per day. The cooks supplemented this with seaweed or perhaps a rotten vegetable or two. Japanese rice, polished and white, maggoty and mixed with all kinds of filth spelt a poor diet leading to all sorts of dieseases. These included beriberi, dysentry, pellagra, rickets, scurvy and what came to be known as "disinclinitis," meaning "no more inclination to live."

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