Mitsubishi ... and World War II Slave Labor
Frank Goldstein was a POW slave labor for Mitsubishi Copper Mine at Sendai #6, Hanawa POW Camp. An excerpt from account of Frank's experience there follows. [ www.proviso.k12.il.us/Bataan%20Web/goldstein.htm ]
Frank ended up in northern Japan at Sendai Camp #6 which was outside of Hanawa. Here, along with 500 other POWs, Frank worked in the copper mines. In the mines, Frank worked on a blasting crew whose job it was to blast ore loose. The Japanese engineer had a deal with the POWs that he would mark the walls with the amount of dynamite to blast. He would then leave the mine and leave the POWs alone. As it turned out he was deathly afraid of the dynamite because it was old and extremely volatile. Being alone, the POWs would perform "little acts of sabotage", like putting too large of a charge to make the vain of ore useless.
At one point as a POW, Frank was so sick from pneumonia that he could not walk up the road to the mine. He fell in the snow and had to be carried the rest of the way. On the second day, he again was too weak to walk up the incline to get to the mine. This time, when he fell in the snow, he was left lying there for twelve hours while the other prisoners worked. On their way back to camp, the other POWs picked him up and carried him back. The Japanese decided that he was too ill to work in the mine so they had him make nails from copper wire in the camp.
... Not too long after this, B-29s appeared and dropped food to the prisoners. The Japanese townspeople helped the POWs carry the food to the camp. Since material for clothing was scarce, they were interested more in the silk from the parachutes for clothing than the food in the drums.
One day, a jeep with American soldiers appeared and the soldiers told the former POWs to sit tight until the railroad line had been repaired. After it was repaired, the prisoners took the train and then an LST to Yokohama. Frank then took a destroyer back to the Philippines. The reason for this was that the former POWs were in such poor physical shape that the American Military Command did not want them to be seen back home in this condition. In Frank's case he weighed 97 pounds when he was liberated.
(Last Updated: January 31, 2004.)
"This time, when he fell in the snow, he was left lying there for twelve hours while the other prisoners worked."