The facts that I am going to relate seem to be so unlikely and so horrifying that I did not attempt to write them down until I was sure of their veracity. They were related to me by some Filipino and American soldiers who came from the frontline and were reassigned to other units before the takeover of Manila. Afterwards these facts were confirmed by trustworthy persons, although it would not be prudent to give out their names. I shall relate them as they were related to me. Some people may be shocked, but such crimes cannot be kept secret.
The Japanese soldiers did not take prisoners. They assassinated those who fell into their hands or who surrendered to them, not by bullets but by incredible forms of torture especially in the case of American captives. They would tie the captives to a tree and kill them with bayonets. In some cases, they would crush the captive’s hand and feet with the butt of their guns. They would cut the extremities and let them heal for further torture. The most common was to tie their hands behind their backs, put them on their knees and hit them mercilessly with bayonets or sabers. That way, aside from torturing their victims, they also saved on bullets.
Such savagery cannot be justified. Neither can I find any satisfactory explanation on the motive behind such cruelty. Having personally seen the respect they have for the civilian prisoners in Santo Tomas, I cannot reconcile it with such brutality towards the prisoners of war. I do not think they employ these means to terrify the fighting men and make them desist from fighting. On the contrary, the soldiers are infuriated and become more decided than ever to fight it out to death rather than suffer such tortures. Neither can I ascertain whether the Japanese are obeying orders of the High Command or only of subordinate officers.