Officially investigated and legally attested
reports of Japanese atrocities in the Philippines prepared for the U.S.
War Crimes Authority at Washington show that Nazi death camps in Europe
can show nothing to compare with the horrors of Manila's torture
chambers and houses, and massacre fields and plazas.
An official report is being prepared on the
burial alive of Blakey Borthwick Laycock, of Sydney, after his "execution
" with three British mariners, following savage torture.
Father Francis J. Cosgrave, of the Redemptorists,
Pennant Hills (Sydney)Superior of the Redemptorist fathers Manila, has
supplied a statement to the War Crimes Authority.
Father Cosgrave says in his affidavit:— "Just
after we had eaten lunch, all of us being gathered for protection from the
shelling at the foot of the staircase in the southern wing (La Salle
College), a Japanese officer, accompanied by 20 soldiers, entered and
took, away two of the houseboys
Five minutes later they returned these two boys,
whom they had badly wounded. Then the officers gave a command, and at once
the soldiers began bayoneting all of us, men, women, and children alike.
Killed inside Chapel
"Some of the Brothers managed to escape up the
stairs. These were pursued by the soldiers, some being bayoneted at the
entrance to the chapel, others within the chapel itself. If anyone
resisted the officer would fire at them with his pistol or cut them with
"Some of the children were only two or three
years old a few were even younger and these were given the same treatment
as their elders. When the Japanese had finished bayoneting us they pulled
and dragged the bodies and threw them into a heap at the foot of the
stairs, the dead being thrown upon the living. Not many were killed
outright by the bayoneting, a few died within one or two hours, the rest
slowly bled to death
"The soldiers retired and we heard them drinking
outside. Frequently during the afternoon they came in to watch us and
laughed and mocked at the sufferings of their victims.
About 10 o'clock that evening I was able to
extricate myself (Father Cosgrave received three bayonet thrusts in the
body) from the dead bodies that were on top of me and to anoint some who
were dying. I was more than edified to see the patience and the
resignation with which these people met their death some of them actually
praying to God to forgive those who had put them to death.
"I remained that night behind the High Altar of
the chapel, in the morning I was joined by eight or ten others who were
still living. There we remained until Thursday afternoon, being unable to
leave the building "
Captured Japanese note-books, diaries and orders
bear testimony to the premeditated atrocities.
One note-book presumably belonging to a member of
the Akasuki Force, says:—"February 7 1945. One hundred and fifty guerillas
were disposed of tonight. I
personally stabbed and killed 10. February 8: Guarded over 1,184 guerillas
which were newly brought in to-day. February 9. Burned 1,000 guerillas to
death to night. February 10: Guarded approximately 1,660 guerillas.
February 13. Enemy tanks are lurking in the vicinity of Banzai Bridge
(Jones Bridge, Manila). Our attack, preparation has been completed. Iam
now on guard duty at guerilla internment camp. While I was on duty 10
guerillas tried to escape. They were stabbed to death. At 16.00, all
guerillas were burned to death.
This note-book was captured in Manila by the 14th
Corps on February 24.
A bound mimeographed and handwritten file of the
Manila. Navy Defence Force and South-western Area Fleet Operations Orders
dated December 23 1944. to February. 1945, classified secret and
presumably belonging to the Okada Unit, captured by the 14th Corps says :—
"February 8, battalion order 1200 hours. If the
enemy infiltrates be careful not to lose the opportunity of demolishing
and burning buildings. When Filipinos are to be killed, they must be
gathered into one place and disposed of with the consideration that
ammunition and man-power must not be used to excess. Because the disposal
of dead bodies is a troublesome task, they should be gathered into houses
which are scheduled to be burned or demolished. They should also be thrown
into the river."
A message book belonging to the Kobayashi Group,
containing operation orders, says:— "All people on the battlefield, with
the exception of Japanese military personell, Japanese civilians, and
special construction units will be put to death."
In his affidavit one of the highest ranking
Catholic priests in the Philippines whose name cannot be published for
fear of retaliation , estimates that a total of 82 priests and brothers
were killed. He list's their names.
He adds- "More than 90 per cent, of the Spanish
convents churches and religious houses have been destroyed by the
Japanese, notwithstanding there were no military objectives at all in
This havoc caused by sheer wantonness and for no
good military reason, has left the greatest part of Intramuros in ruins.
The religious artistic, and cultural monuments (the libraries of all these
institutions have been burned) that made of Intramuros a miniature Rome in
the Far East have been obliterated.
"It has been impossible to determine how many
Spaniards were killed . In Looban there were more than 1,000 refugees
mostly women and children, when the Japanese fired the convent. In
Concordia. College there were more than 2,000 refugees, including babies,
orphans, and foundlings, sick people, and the insane. On firing the
building the Japanese closed the doors with chains and surrounded it with
machine-guns in order to prevent anyone from leaving the premises alive.
At the town of Calamba 5,000 men women and
children were killed.
Headquarters of the 145th lnfantry reports:— "The
area east of Juan Luna, and south of Mariones is an open level tract.
Scattered at various points in this area in the grass, on concrete
pavement and in ditches of water, a number of bodies was observed
totalling 48. Approximately one-third were bodies of babies or young
children, and about one-third were women Most of the bodies were found
with hands tied behind their backs.
Shot and Bayoneted
David V. Binkley a major in the U S Army, and
witnesses swear:— On February 7 the bodies of 115 men women, and children
were found on the grounds of the Dy-Pac Lumber Co near the rail-way
station. Many of the men and women and some or the older children had
their hands tied behind then backs. At the edge of the concrete above the
water the concrete was covered with human blood.
The Japanese had shot and bayoneted some 85 men,
women and children on this spot. The ages of the children were from two
years to ten years.
A woman lay face down with an arm around each
child. This woman had been slashed to death by a sabre-like weapon
One child had part of its skull sliced off.
On February 13 at the De La SalleCollege, the
bodies of 76 men, women, and children of various ages were found
scattered. . . The breasts had been cut off one woman . Beside a fence
covered with a lattice lay a mother holding a small boy. The mother lay in
a position as though attempting- to shield the child. . .
"At Fort Santiago, within the Walled City,
approximately 600 Filipinos' were discovered in three dungeons. One
hundred bodies of men, women, and children were found within one
thick-walled dungeon, and 500 bodies were found within a nearby dungeon
having inner doors of massive iron bars, and outer doors of iron-plate on
wood. The appearance of the bodies suggested starvation and possibly
"At Plaza McKinley, near the ruins of the Manila
Cathedral, 40 priests from the Manila Cathedral were found murdered....
All of these men still wore their priests' clothing."
Death By Fire
Dr. Walter K. Funkel. Lecturer of History of
Medicine at the University of the Philippines, testifies:—
"The murder of 16 people happened in the
afternoon around 4.15 to 4.30.. .
Only my sister, a chemist, and I escaped . . .
All the people were driven out together by Navy personnel, three of them
being officers, some with guns, some withspears. . . . Without saying a
word our hands were tied behind our backs. . . .There were six Europeans,
Including mywife . . . The moment
we were bound it became clear to me that they would murder us, so, without
tears my wife and I kissed each other farewell. ... In a half circle at a
distance of two metres they put furniture round us, heaped cushions,
pillows ,and straw bags on it, and poured gasoline over the pile from
bottles. Two of them did that, and the third, a sergeant, who was smoking
a cigar, observed their work.
"The sergeant took from his breast pocket a small
hand-grenade and threw it, not directly at the heap of people, but more to
the right side. . . . My wife, who was lying on her left side, came up
nearer to me and was immediately shot
through the neck . . . Her blood flowed over me in streams ... I was
thankful in my heart that my beloved wife was spared from being burned
It will never be possible to secure an accurate
estimate of the number of civilians butchered in the Philippines. There is
hardly a family in Manila which has not suffered the loss of a relative.
The newspapers are crammed with advertisements seeking missing husbands,
fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.