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9 ~ Hunger in the Heart ofHell Ofall emotions mental and, ofall feelings physical, hunger is unquestionably the most overpowering! I assure you, when you are hungry, you will do almost anything. Anything. Major Josephine Nesbit Davis, USA, NC (Ret.) The new year would bring drastic changes in the lives of those interned in Santo Tomas. On 10 January 1944, the commandant informed the Executive Committee that as of6 January, Santo Tomas was under the direct authority of the War Prisoner Department commanded by General Morimoto. The Japanese military was now in charge of the internment camps in and around Manila. Radical changes took place in Santo Tomas after 1 February. Filipino doctors were no longer permitted to work in camp, and all internees housed in Sulfur Springs, Holy Ghost, and other hospitals or "special camps for the elderly" were brought into Santo Tomas. This change meant extra work for the army nurses who were now responsible for their care. The situation was made even worse by the Japanese military's order that only "extreme emergencies" could be sent to outside hospitals. The internees' morale went down considerably when the package line was closed permanently but bounced back somewhat when families were permitted to use the shanties again and the Japanese promised to supply fish and rice to the camp each month.I 126 All This Hell Because of the expulsion of Filipino doctors from camp and the expected influx of internees from the now closed annexes, the Medical Board recommended that American doctors from nearby prisoner of war camps be transferred to Santo Tomas. It specifically requested one eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist; one tuberculosis specialist; three general practitioners; and two dentists. In February conditions in the camp deteriorated considerably. In an attempt to improve the situation, the Executive Committee went against medical advice and allowed ducks to be kept in the shanty area with the hope that the ducks would provide food in the future. With the military in charge of Santo Tomas, the camp was for all practical purposes cut off from the outside world. Lt. Earlyn Black, a twenty-five-year-old native of Groesbeck, Texas, recalled the effect the isolation had on the camp food supply and communications with the outside. Before this time many of the civilian internees received food from loyal Filipino servants who were permitted to bring it to the camp gate. These packages were frequently used to smuggle in news and personal notes, and now that avenue of contact was shut down.2 Fortunately, internees were still able to buy a few items at the vendors' market, and no one was yet experiencing real hunger. Nonetheless, money was scarce for the nurses and prices were still rising. A loafofbread was selling for $1.80, and there was no guarantee how long it would be available. Cigarettes could no longer be purchased in the market or canteen, and smokers who had made purchases months earlier and stored them considered themselves lucky. Coffee drinkers were not as fortunate because it had disappeared from the chow line and was selling for forty pesos a cup at the Japanese-run canteen. Fresh milk and butter were something nurses could only dream about. Even old magazines reminded the captives of food. As Lieutenant Young said, "Ice cream, pie, steaks, apples, grapes and many other foods that we look at in 1941 magazine advertisements must be something foreigners in far away countries eat."3 In mid-February missionary doctors T.D. Stevenson, W.W. Hunger in the Heart ofHell 127 McAnlis, and J.A. McAnlis were informed by the Japanese that they must either live and work outside or willingly be confined to Santo Tomas so they could treat the internees. They chose to live and work inside the camp. On 18 February the Japanese commandant abolished the Executive Committee, replaced it with the Internee Committee, and appointed Carroll Grinnell as chairman. Earl Carroll and S.L. Lloyd were elected to the committee. The Japanese began delivering fish to Santo Tomas, small fish in poor condition. They were accompanied with a warning from the commandant that, "the fish, though small, had to be eaten" and that the prisoners ofwar in Bilibid had been "severely punished" when on one occasion they had buried, instead ofcooked their fish. At first, fish arrived three times a week, and on one occasion, the fish cleaners found six toadfish, a poisonous variety of puffer fish, in three buckets of the daily ration...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813127446
Related ISBN
9780813121482
MARC Record
OCLC
778436177
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2012-02-08
Language
English
Open Access
No
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