Today was earmarked for our to Changi – the infamous WW2 prison. We had a free shuttle bus from The Meridian Hotel. The latter was fully air-conditioned and very comfortable.
We first visited the display of photographs, painstakingly snapped and developed by George Aspinall, during his “stay” at Changi. The prisoners had been forced to sign an oath that they would not attempt to escape. They had signed eventually after three days of hellish confinement under duress.
From there we caught bus no.2 to the museum and chapel at Changi prison itself. I found the chapel particularly touching and realised the men had used their last ounce of strength in its construction and decoration. After much publicity following the war, the painter of the Changi Murals had been located. Two murals had been hidden under a layer of paint. He had been given the task of restoring the artwork.
Also very touching was the way the men had struggled to produce gifts for the children suffering with them. One man had even written and produced a children’s book.
My former husband’s Great uncle was shot in the back by a unit commanded by Norio Kondo. They were all lined up as POWs, by the sea and allowed to have what turned out to be a last smoke. Norio Kondo did face a war crimes trial but was released after a very short sentence from memory.
From The Argus June 29th 1950
He had been found guilty of the murder of between 5-10 Australian POWs at Gasmata, New Britain. I investigated the story in some depth at one point.
My uncle was also a Japanese POW. He was also captured at The Fall of Singapore. Please see:
My Father would speak of man’s inhumanity to man. I found this quote from Wikipedia by Alan Paton,
“There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.”
This might not be as long a list as many of us would like to believe:
Source South China Post
Source: AWM(Australian War Memorial) Collection
Australian Department of Veteran’s Affairs