Victims of Circumstance
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Japanese aggression in the Pacific in December 1941 overwhelmed British and American forces in the Far East. The sudden attack of the Philippine Islands on December 8th, 1941, stranded thousands of Americans who now faced an uncertain and frightening future. Over 3700 businessmen, housewives, school children - whole families who through no fault of their own, were thrown into a set of circumstances which would lead them through three years and one month of starvation, sickness and even death. They were forced to leave their homes and belongings; forced to leave their friends and way of live to live under the domination and whims of the mighty Imperial Forces of Japan. There were interned within the walls of an old Spanish university which would be called the Santo Tomas Internment Camp. Their poignant stories commemorate the human spirit and their will to organize and survive or face untold consequences.
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My parents lived in Manila before WWII. They came back to the states on vacation in January 1941 and were not allowed to return by the State Department. After the war, my father did go back with General MacArthur to assess the damage. My father stayed in Gladys' boarding house and ate all his meals with her.
The story is taken from her diary and memory and is very moving for those who are interested in knowing what went on during that horrible time in Manila.
I bought this for my mother to watch and she kept nodding and agreeing with the entire documentary. It even included some stories that my mother had told me previously (“Roll out the barrel! Christmas is coming today or tomorrow!”).
A must watch for anyone who had been in a POW camp, or knows of anyone who has.