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.

May 14, 1942

After all these years of chopping kindling, I would have to wait ‘till I got into a concentration camp to cut off a piece of my finger, which I did yesterday. A stupid thing to do, but maybe now I can catch up a little on this as I can not do much work around camp. Fortunately it was the thumb of my left hand, so am not totally disabled although it does hurt like the devil. Have just returned from having the dressing changed which is not much fun either. How-ever, such is life. My carpentry work will now have to suffer for a while and I am already far behind in my orders for folding chairs. Do I have my troubles!!

Latest news about Corregidor is that there were only 2,300 Filipino and 900 American officers and troops on the island when they surrendered. All others, including nurses, gold, currency and supplies had been shipped out, probably to Australia. According to the propaganda sheet we get in here, all American forces in the islands have surrendered so the Japs are supposed to be in complete control. Rumors have a different story, that we are still fighting in the south. Air activity around Manila has been very limited since the fall of Corregidor, so it is difficult to say just what is actually going on. One can not believe the paper and the rumors are just as apt to be more unreliable; so what!

You will undoubtedly find this the most jumbled mess you ever run across, but then, that is just about what we are in here, and it’s getting no better fast. Although we do have some things t be grateful for and that is, that the rainy season has been holding off and we are still enjoying the tropical sunshine.

Some while back I started to give you a little on camp life, then got to wandering as usual. Not having much to write about today, will scribble off a few lines on the subject so that if you ever get caught in a concentration camp you can say that this is the way they did it in Manila.

In a camp of this size, with so many different classes of people, it is necessary to have some organization in order to maintain order and health. When the camp was first started, we had to have a contact man to deal with the Japs, which position, as the camp became larger, developed into a committee composed of both men and women, and now called the Central Committee. This committee is headed by a chairman named Earl Carrol (formerly with the Insular Life Insurance Co.) which acts on all matters pertaining to the camp.

Will wander off for a moment to tell of a little episode in connection with the above named party. One Saturday night when they were having a show, said party brought the Jap commandant up on the stage and after introducing him to the audience, wished him every success in his next venture (commandant was scheduled to be transferred to some other offensive) and then tried to get the crowd to sing “For he’s a jolly good fellow.” A fine spirit of Americanism!! I don’t think! Said party (or rat) will probably be as popular as the measles when we get out of here. If he lives that long. Now that you know the type of “bloke” we have as chairman of the camp we can go on with the story. From this you might imagine how things are run as far as our interests are concerned in dealing with Japs. While a few have endeavored to justify the above episode, the majority feel that it was absolutely un-warranted any way you might look at it.

Operating under the Central Committee, are the Sanitary, Police and food supply divisions. Each having a head man and as many assistants as needed. Everything done in camp is voluntary, and no one can be forced to work, resulting in many not doing a damned thing but get on the bread line twice a day and then kick because they do have to stand in line.

Some one in camp brought in a phonograph arrangement that works through a bank of loud speakers, so we now have music every night ‘till 8:45 P.M. The curfew hour has again been extended and is now 9:00 P.M. We understand that the commandant wanted to make it 10:00 P.M. but the Central Committee objected. Guess they were afraid of what might go on during these dark nights with some body elses wife, or some such thing. From what I have seen so far, many are doing quite alright. Do you follow me? Now don’t get any bad ideas about me for I haven’t a gal friend in camp and am still pure as snow. Believe it or not. And it is a matter of choice too, for there are plenty of the “deadly Species” (females) in camp here. For once in my life I realize when I am well off and am not looking for any particular trouble.

As most all the heavy work and improvements in camp have been completed, I am now on the “can” detail, or in plain English, clean the toilets on our floor. Our room has been assigned this job as a steady diet so we now work, only every three days for a couple of hours, unless some special job comes up.
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