November 6, 1944

Bombing all day again today – it looks like the real thing – Rumors of landings in Luzon are current again – I wonder –

We hear Nimitz used an offensive smoke screen in his great victory –

I have heard a report about a bombing of Cologne that leaves me so shocked that I do not know how to express myself – 1000 tons of bombs dropped per minute for 90 mintues – I cannot believe it –

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The City would be a waste, the people still living, insane – Even 9000 tons would be frightful – they say that the Germans started this indiscriminate bombing and that we must teach them a lesson – I know war is Hell, but I do feel this is going to far – What will be the results afterwards? Not on the Germans, but on us. The men who under orders release these bombs? I hate war!

I often think of Tony & Bill1 and wonder where they are and if they are still alive – It is their example that keeps me working in this camp – I miss all of you terribly – music, books and a good talk – arguments – Dad’s face at seeing the Daily Worker in the house2 – Some day, God Willing, we’ll be together again.


November 5, 1944

Very heavy raids all day today – there must have been six waves altogether – the first raid this afternoon was the most savage we have had yet – Most of the bombing was over the bay and Port Area – We could hear the poms-poms of the warships – Anti-aircraft fire was intense – Many bullets & pieces of shrapnel fell in the camp.

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Morale is high again – I suppose it is natural that morale should go up and down in direct ratio to the bombings – But it is hard on the nervous system, and many of the old men are restless for days.

The food is getting worse every day – And by the middle of the month our few camp reserves give out – oh well, as the Austrians say “Die Lage ist kritisch aber nicht ernst” – The position is critical but not serious.


November 4, 1944

No action – the morale is very low – jail sentences for stealing rice and mush, or for collecting two meals on one meal ticket.

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The days used to pass very quickly – we seemed to gulp time – Now with more activity The days pass very slowly –

Thomas Mann described this phenomenon in his “Magic Mountain.” In times of no special activity, when one day is just like another, and life is based on routine time passed very rapidly – we lived from holiday to holiday, and from season to season. But where there is no set routine, when life is a mosaic of events, then time passes very slowly – And where months seemed like days, hours now seem like years. It will be this way until the end of internment.


November 3, 1944

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Still no action. Rumors thick & fast. Atimonan, Maubau, Lamon Bay, Infanta, Vigan, Lingayen –

We hear of a great naval victory off Formosa & Northeastern Luzon – the Japs lost 84 capital ships & we lost 6 – Some new offensive method used – Nimitz congratulated –

Election is near – We all believe Roosevelt will win, most of us want him to win. It is reported that Willkie is dead. also Al Smith – Both great men – but in different ways.

We are too tired to clean the camp effectively – It is getting dirtier all the time – & the Japanese want 200 more men to work in the gardens – on 1250 calories per day? (only 1100 from the Japs)


November 2, 1944

Nov. 2nd

No action – but more rumors – a relief ship is supposed to have left Japan for Vladivostok to pick up relief supplies for us (and, more important, for the Amer. War prisoners in Japan & the P.I.). The ship is reported due in Manila by Nov. 20th – there seems to be some substance to this rumor – If the shipment arrives, it will be a real life-saver –

This camp presents a picture of great disparities – There are wealthy people eating meals but little different from the meals – let us say – that

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we had in Spring Lake in Fall 1933 after we had moved to Knights – There are others, who have no supplies at all and to whom the chowder we had every day for at least a week (2 times per day, wasn’t it?) would be better than all the godly drinks you could 
name – I am ashamed of my people here – This disparity is taken for granted – No effort is made towards pooling resources and anyone who offers to do this or give up part of his ration for someone needing it more, is called a “sucker.”

I am in charge of the Old Mens Hosp. here – There are 52 patients, averaging 65 years, all either heart cases, paralyzed, blind or crippled – it is not a pleasant place to work, but I love it. to help these old men keep alive until the Americans come –

All my work during internment has been closely connected with the sick, the children and the aged – I have tried to help where at all possible to care for these three groups – some efforts were successful, others not – It is frightful to be helpless in a place like this, where the motto seems to be “Every man for himself.”


November 1, 1944

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Nov. 1, 1944

Dearest Hope—

In the days to come I shall keep a diary for you – a diary of our last days in the camp. They will be hard and trying days, for we are very short of food and there is danger from bullets and shrapnel – But they will be interesting –

Our food has fallen off sharply since FeB 1944 and for the last two months we have been practically starving.

Month Official allowance Jap camp stocks Extra sources of food
Kits-canteen
February 1700 400 Veg. Mrkt
March 1700 400
April 1600 400 Kits veg mrkt
May 1400 400 ”             “
June 1400 400 ”             “
July 1300 400 ”             “
August 1200 300 Limited kit goods
September 1200 200 ” ”   “
October 1100 200 ”       “
November 1100 150
in calories per capita per day

The old men are dying off – one or two per day – They can not stand the food scarcity – –

The military situation is more hopeful – Our forces

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landed in Leyte on Oct. 18th and we have had raids over Manila on – Sept 21, Sept 22, Oct 15, 17, 18 & 29th

I wonder if I can describe for you the bombing on Sept 21st. Imagine 3000 slowly starving, interned for 2 ¾ years, with no sign of our troops since the fall of Bataan in April of ’42 (Corregidor May ’42). At about 1030 in the morning of the 21st – we heard the drone of planes in the distance – we paid little attention as the Japanese had five or six fields in and around Manila – The noise grew louder; and off to the north one could see a large number of planes headed for the City – Still it was only the number that surprised us – we were sure they were Japanese. The planes began to assume a more definite shape – They seemed different – They were ours! The anti aircraft fire started, and, laughing & shouting we rushed for the buildings – Many were in tears. What a wonderful show those boys put on – spectacular dives – right thru the anti-aircraft fire –

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They came – wave after wave – there must have been 250-300 of them altogether – the next day they returned – we thought that this was the beginning of a campaign in Luzon – we would be out by October 10th –there were no more raids until October 15th! Again elation, especially as the raids were resumed on the 17th & 18th – Then the news of the landings in Leyte – 300 miles to the south – they would soon be here! The next raid came on October 29th – since then no raids – We know that our troops are in Leyte, perhaps in Samar as well, by now – There are rumors of landings in Atimonan on the East Coast of Luzon – who knows? So there is the picture – we are starving, the old men dying like flies – our troops are some 300 miles away on Leyte – It is just like one of those silent Westerns you & I would go to see on 102nd St. on Saturday afternoon – Do you remember? The pianist would stop – The picture would stop – The beleaguered garrison would seem hopelessly doomed – Then the pianist would strike up the Star-Spangled Banner, and the picture, moving again, would show the US Cavalry pouring

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over the hill, flags waving, drums beating, bugles blowing (though we could not hear them). So in this little drama, little in the vast drama of a world-wide struggle, 800 children, 800 people over 60 and 2200 men & women between 18 and 60 in poor health – are struggling to keep alive – we hear the bugles blowing, but the Cavalry has not come yet.

Just for the record (to compare as the days pass) I weigh 118 lbs – 73 pounds less than I weighed in Jan-42.