Camp O'Donnell

Arriving at Prison Camp

“…he would annihilate every one of us right then and there, but he didn’t have that authority.”

“Then I was [on] a train there— a hundred men to a box car. The doors all closed and when were arrived 3 or 4 days later, twenty-five or 30 men in each box car had died.

Upon arriving at the camp in 1942, we were told by the Japanese that we were not prisoners of war and that we would not be treated as POWs, but that he would annihilate every one of us right then in there but he didn’t have that authority.

There was a hut with no floor and a grass top that had originally been built for the Philippine army. The Philippine Army had not materialized and camps were never completed, so we were just thrown in there. The huts had no floor and the dust was terrible and unimaginable. We were given nothing whatsoever, no water, no food was available. You might get a bowl of rice a day until the camp was organized so food was forthcoming on a daily basis.

There would be 150-200 men to a hut. Each night you would go to bed, when you would wake up the next morning, there would be 15 to 20 dead in one of the barracks. So, you never knew when you went to sleep at night who would wake up the next morning. We lost at least that many each night out of every barracks. An average of 200 men each day at O’Donnell."