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 19, 1942

Not much new or startling today although rumor has it that our big offensive is on and of course we are all hoping to get out of here soon. There has been considerable air activity lately which to me is a good sign that there is really something stirring and the Japs are having something to worry about. Things have been very quiet up to the past few days but now it seems that there are always planes droning over head. And that's no rumor!

You probably wonder why I use the word "rumor" so often, and you will hear a lot more before this is finished, so had better clarify the situation. Incidently we just live on rumors; when they are good, every one is feeling fine and when they are bad, every one is crabby as hell and ready to scrap at the drop of a hat. We are not permitted to contact anyone on the outside, have no radios in here and the only bit of news we are supposed to be getting is a daily Japanese propaganda sheet that is so poorly written it is almost comical. However, by some hook or crook we do get in information which is most always reported to have been heard over station KGEI, San Francisco, or the British Broadcasting, London. When anyone inside here gets in a transcript of these broadcasts, it circulates around from mouth to mouth and by the time it passes through three or four, you would never recognize it as the same story. When news is scarce, I believe a lot of the rumors are originated right here, with absolutely no grounds what-ever. Everyone is hungry for news and just eat up these rumors, hook, line and sinker, no matter how wild they may be. They seem to make one feel good and keep the moral up with no particular harm done, so guess it is all for the best. If I ever get this caught up to date I intend keeping a record of all these rumors that come in and maybe some day check up on them and see how many, if any, have any truth in them. Just something to kill time and test our bamboo telegraph system.

Conditions became so crowded at the gymnasium as they brought in more and more men from the provinces, we were moved in to the Catholic sisters home where we have a little more room and much better toilet facilities. In here there are only twenty to a room and ventilation greatly improved. We have had to build make-shift showers and washing trays outside the building otherwise this is not a bad set-up at all for a concentration camp. I have talked to refugees from European concentration camps and compared to them, we are really doing quite well. However, I am getting fed up with this life and things can not happen any too soon to suit me.

This is supposed to be the hot season although it has been quite comfortable. We have built ourselves a shanty out on the so-called campus, made from the scraps of everything we could find and this is home for eight of us, at present. With everyones nerves more or less on edge, it is not a very agreeable household, so I spend most of the time keeping clear of arguments by reading, writing and working around camp, only going to the shanty for our noon day meal. While a great many of the people have to get along on what is put out on the bread line alone, we are still getting in supplies and manage to have at least one good meal a day.

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