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Soviet mass killing of Japanese in 1945?

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Years ago in university I read a book (which I cant recall the name of or find now) which talked about how when the USSR moved against Japan at the end of the war they captured something like 300,000 Japanese (in Manchu?) who were never heard from again (likely killed). I have been trying to find more information about this but havent been able to.
Does anyone have any information or know where I could find it on how many Japanese were captured by the USSR in 1945?
 
Not the best source of information but it does give some numbers on the Japanese POW's in the Soviet Union.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_POWs_in_the_Soviet_Union
 
FascistLibertarian said:
Does anyone have any information or know where I could find it on how many Japanese were captured by the USSR in 1945?

See page 340 of David Glantz's The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria, 1945: August Storm or

Behind a curtain of silence : Japanese in Soviet custody, 1945-1956  by Nimmo, William

"Mr. Molotov came to see me, on instructions from Moscow...[Molotov] wanted to complain of the way in which the surrender terms [with Japan] were being carried out. He complained particularly about the way the Japanese Army was being demobilized. It was dangerous, he said, merely to disarm the Japanese and send them home; they should be held as prisoners of war. We should do what the Red Army was doing with the Japanese it had taken in Manchuria -- make them work... No one can say accurately how many Japanese prisoners have been taken to the Soviet Union. In mid-1947, the best guess was that approximately 500,000 were still there."(James F. Byrnes, SPEAKING FRANKLY, New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers,  pp.213-214)

"April 12, 1998
Japan's Blossoms Soothe a P.O.W. Lost in Siberia
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
At last, World War II has ended for Toshimasa Meguro.

He is deaf and slight and stooped, and the horrors of starvation and forced labor in Soviet prison camps have left him a timid, swaying reed, scarcely more substantial than his shadow. But now, after 53 years in Siberia waiting for the dusts of World War II to settle, Mr. Meguro has finally been allowed to come home.

The lifting of the curtain of Communism in Russia has revealed Mr. Meguro and others like him: Japanese prisoners who were sent to Siberian labor camps after World War II, but who were never allowed to return home and were subsequently forgotten by leaders in Tokyo and Moscow alike. Another former Japanese prisoner is to return later this spring for the first time, and by some accounts dozens of others are still alive in Russia.

When Mr. Meguro returned to Japan last month, for the first time since he was seized by Russian troops in 1945, what struck him most were not the skyscrapers and bullet trains and heated toilet seats, not the evidence that he was returning to a different and far more prosperous nation than the one he had left as a young soldier. It was not the material transformation of Japan that overwhelmed him, or all the concrete and steel, but rather the cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossoms, now in ecstatic bloom across central Japan, have always captivated the Japanese, for their beauty and fragility makes them the stuff of haiku and the Japanese soul itself. Sure enough, Mr. Meguro's weak, rheumy eyes moistened as he spoke of seeing the ephemeral pink blossoms.

''When I saw those cherry blossoms again,'' Mr. Meguro said, speaking in Russian because he has mostly forgotten his Japanese, ''I realized how much I am Japanese. I realized how happy I am to come back to Japan.''

Mr. Meguro, 77, and the other former Japanese prisoners are the human flotsam of the great clashes of this century, ordinary people who somehow found themselves caught up in and battered by terrible waves of war and ideology. Only now, in the flickering twilight of their lives, are they getting on dry land again.

Japan has mounted determined efforts to recover the bones of soldiers who fell on distant battlefields during World War II. But it has made much less of an effort to recover former soldiers still alive in Russia.

''The Japanese Government is interested in collecting the remains of soldiers, but it doesn't show any interest in finding living people,'' said Yoichi Ogawa, the secretary general of the Japan Sakhalin Compatriot Exchange Association, a private organization that has searched for Japanese in Russia.

Seichi Saito, a former soldier who was held in Russia after the war -- but for only two years -- said the problem was that Japan had accepted Russia's assertions that all Japanese had been returned long ago.

''Once they accepted that, there was no more reason to look for people,'' Mr. Saito said.

Sadaaki Numata, the chief Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said however that the Government had established procedures to repatriate the former prisoners in Siberia and does pay for them to return to Japan. He noted that the number of these former prisoners returning to Japan is increasing.

''We are trying as much as we can to get these people back,'' he said. ''Those people who remained are dispersed in many parts of Russia, and the information which we have on them is 50 years old. And that presents serious practical difficulties in locating them.''

Russia's treatment of former Japanese soldiers touches a deep nerve here. At the end of the war, Soviet troops seized and imprisoned more than half a million Japanese troops and civilians in China and other places. More than 50,000 perished in brutal conditions in Stalin's labor camps in the late 1940's and early 1950's. The Soviet Union made its last major repatriation of Japanese prisoners in 1956, but since then there has been a trickle of others like Mr. Meguro, particularly since the collapse of Communism.

Mr. Meguro was a code-breaker stationed throughout the war on Sakhalin, an island that Japan then controlled but is now part of Russia. He was sent to Siberia after Japan's surrender and spent eight years in a labor camp.

Asked what it was like, Mr. Meguro looked blank and said nothing. His interpreter from Russian to Japanese, Eiko Tanikawa, a Japanese woman who also was stuck in Russia after the war and was allowed out only after writing in 1968 to Nikita S. Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, said gently: ''I asked him about it this morning, and he said: 'Some of my close friends died in the camps, and I don't want to remember that time. It's too awful to speak of.' ''

Upon his release in 1953, Mr. Meguro said, he was assigned to work in a remote collective farm in Siberia.

''I applied to go back to Japan, but that was denied,'' Mr. Meguro said.

It is not clear why Mr. Meguro was kept in the area, but he had been working in a small logging camp and it may be that the camp directors did not want to deal with the expense and nuisance of sending him home. So he was simply put under the supervision of the nearby collective farm, and he was so relieved at the improvement that he did not much question it.

''On the collective, people accepted me and were very kind,'' he said. ''I married, and my wife's family was very good to me.''

Mr. Meguro's wife, Maria, is Russian and he has three grown children who see themselves simply as Russians. But Mr. Meguro has been stateless all these years, always obliged to report to the authorities and never allowed to travel even within Russia.

A timid man, not one to challenge authority, Mr. Meguro says he never pushed to return to Japan. Only last fall, when Japan's Prime Minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto, paid a visit to Siberia did Mr. Meguro test the waters. With the encouragement of Maria, who saw how much her husband treasured the Japanese samurai movies occasionally shown on Russian television, Mr. Meguro dared to write to a Russian newspaper, asking to be allowed to visit his homeland.

The letter was published and found its way to a Japanese newspaper. Veterans' groups then helped arrange for Mr. Meguro to make a visit home.

On arriving at a Japanese airport, Mr. Meguro was greeted by a crowd of television cameras and by two childhood friends -- with whom he shook hands Russian style, instead of exchanging bows Japanese style. Mr. Meguro later prayed at the graves of his parents, who never knew that he had survived the war.

Mr. Meguro concluded his 10-day visit and returned to Russia on April 6, but he set in motion a process that is expected to grant him a military pension -- with 10 years' back pay.

''I will not move back to Japan,'' he said. ''After all, my wife is Russian. But I would like to give her a great gift of a visit to Japan to show her my homeland.''(http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E5D7133DF931A25757C0A96E958260)




 
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