It was my 8th-grade history teacher, Mr. Danhausen, who started me on my life-long obsession with World War II.
It was my friend, Anthony Garrett, who provided me with a copy of his grandfather's journal.

Elwood Llewellin Garrett was an American businessman in Manila at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
This is his story, as he recorded it, of living under Japanese rule in an enemy-occupied foreign land.

March 11, 1942*

Universidad de Santo Tomas Internment Camp
Manila, Philippines
March 11, 1942

My Dearest Hannah:

The good Lord only knows if or when you may ever receive this, however, as my thoughts are always of you my darling, I am hoping you are well and not worrying too much, for I am still "top-side" and getting along about as well as can be expected under current conditions. Being in a concentration camp is not exactly my idea of life in the Philippines but guess I should not complain as it could be much worse.

I had a letter started to you down at the office, which gave a history of events since my previous letter of December second up to the end of December, but as our office and factory has been taken over by the Japs and is now a wreck, said letter has probably gone to the four winds, so shall try again.

Today is the start of the third month in this camp although it already seems ages. I find it very difficult to settle down to concentrating on anything so you must excuse the disconnected chatter.

As it is very likely that this letter will be censored before it reaches you, I shall stick strictly to business of the day instead of telling you in every other line how much I love you, as is usual. You know what I am always thinking about you and me my darling, so that will have to suffice until we are together once again which I sincerely hope shall not be in the too far distant future. In the meantime I shall endeavor to pen you a line or two every so often of whatever might enter this feeble mind. So here goes nothing! Better get comfortably set for this is liable to go on to great lengths.

I am writing this sitting on my cot with a board across my knees during siesta hour, as this is the only time it is anywheres near quiet enough for one to even attempt to think.

You have undoubtedly followed in the papers and by radio of the attack on the Philippines by the Japs on December ninth, and the eventual taking of Manila on January first and the internment of all Americans, British, Dutch and other beligerents. Yesterday we were informed that the Japs, through the International Red Cross, would advise friends or families in the United States that we were interned here, still alive and doing a lot of kicking, so I gave your name and address and hope you were duly informed. Up to now I have not had much ambition towards writing but the above seemed to have struck a right chord and here I am, at least attempting a start; the finish will be something else again and depends totally on our good ol' Uncle Sam. Up to now the Japs have had everything pretty much their own way but feel certain the tide will soon change as soon as we get organized. In the meantime we live in hopes.

*Interestingly, this is also the same day - unbeknownst to the internees - on which General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines, vowing to one day return.

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