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 30, 1942 - Memorial Day

Which is no different from any other [day] as far as we are concerned in here. Everything has been exceptionally quiet around here lately; not even any good rumors worth mentioning. It seems we are just existing from day to day and I sometimes wonder why. Got weighed this morning and am still going down; now to 159 pounds, the lowest in many years. While I am not particularly concerned, I'm hoping I don't lose any more or I won't have enough to hold my bones together. They seem to rattle every time I move now.

When we first came into this camp there were eight of us all together in a mess for the noon day meal, to which we all contributed. There was Louise and Howard, Joe and Em, Earnesto, Iberia and George and last but by no means least yours truly. We built ourselves a shanty and this was home for the eight of us up 'till a few days ago when things started to go sour. Howard seems to have aged considerably in camp and guess that is the answer to a lot of things. Then there being three women under the one roof is something else again, none too favorable. At any rate to make a long story short, a young revolution broke out in camp about a week ago resulting in one family moving out. Pure selfishness is the only reason I can see for it all. I don't care for these family squabbles even when I am not concerned however, they do happen in the best of regulated families, so I am told. I hear both sides of the case and guess there is much to be said for both. Any how, they are building their own shanty and that cuts our camp down to five, at this point.

As I have mentioned on several previous occasions, money is very scarce and getting worse all the time, which does not help the nerves either as there are many little necessities that we must go without. It so happens that I was able to borrow a little from a friend inside some time ago, but as he is now broke I had to negotiate a loan from a friend on the outside to pay off. The money originally borrowed was split between all of us to alleviate the situation for a while anyway. Well, I thought I could get in the cash without any one learning about it in our camp but this is a small place and of course, it was discovered, and because I said nothing about it to the rest of the camp, another revolution took place and now I am an orphan. And so it goes, life in a concentration camp. This is a real education, if I ever had one. No foolin!

Two friends of ours, Bert and Joe Reich, came into camp today after hiding out in the hills since the outbreak of war. Have not yet had much time to talk to them as they and every one else in our camp or shanty, kept them busy with all sorts of questions. From what I can gather so far, they have had a most interesting time of it trying to keep out of the way. In normal times, Bert was a wild gal if there ever was one. Have been on many parties with her and believe me you have to travel fast to keep up with her. I'm not exactly a slouch when it comes to lifting 'em over, even if I do say so myself, but I've got to be in rare form when that gal is around. Joe is a rather quiet type except when he has had one too many then he is a maniac, but that is very seldom. They both looked pretty well after their harrowing experiences and seem glad that it is now all behind them and they are in here with friends. They will undoubtedly have many tales to tell which I hope to make note of later on.

Guess I'm going screw-ball or just happen to be in the mood for scribbling today, as I seem to be doing a lot about nothing. John O'Malley a good friend whom I found in camp, is sitting across from me trying to make a Russian Dictionary or some such thing, so I have a little company with my writing today, so maybe that accounts for the extra amount of "bull." Had a gate pass yesterday to talk to a friend on the outside, through whom I hope to raise a little cash, if I'm lucky, so did not have a chance to make any entries here. However, as the rumor market has been very low lately, we havn't missed out on anything that I know of.

Siesta time is about over and the poker game about to commence so must sign off. At the present standing I am up P70.00 on the books so feel like a plutocrat, or some such thing.

May 24, 1942

This is a heluva way to spend a Saturday night although I have spent quite a number already right here and can't say that I like it yet either. However, so it goes. They are having a show over at the main building tonight and things were very quiet up 'till a moment ago when it started raining and now the crowd is swarming back to roost as the show was called. Thought I would have a quiet evening and catch up a little on the latest dope but no soap. Have been busy building folding canvas chairs lately; make a few dimes every now and then for cigarettes. They cost me about P2.50 to make and I sell them for P5.00. That is not counting the time I work on them which, with available tools, takes about two days per chair.

If, after getting out of this place, any one gets me, or rather tries to get me to stand and wait in a line, it will be a plain case of murder, for that is what we do for everything from the chow line to bathing, toilet etc. Facilities for everything are so limited. To find any one in camp just follow the chow line and they are sure to be there.

Todays paper has pictures of a number of Nurses taken prisoners at Corregidor, several of whom I knew. We had consistant rumors that they had all been evacuated to Australia but like most of the rumors we get in here, they are false. The paper also states that Mexico has declared war on the Axis. Some say this occurred several months ago as there have been people carrying Mexican passports in this camp for some time. Personally, I do not appreciate why the Japs are broadcasting this now but one can rest assured they have something in mind.

Rumors come in that the Russians have at last taken Kharkov after giving the Germans a terrible "shellacking." With all the optimistic news we have been getting about that front lately, the war should be practically over. As a matter of fact, we have had here rumors that Germany had sued for peace on several occasions, but the war still goes on and they are fighting every inch of the way. So far as we know, things are very quiet out this way since the fall of Corregidor. We have heard something about a Coral Sea naval battle, with both sides claiming a victory so don't know what to make of it. There appears to be nothing around the Philippines so it really is beginning to look like we are the forgotten peoples.

In the mean time the Japs continue their abuse and looting of everything in sight; they are now working out on properties of the Filipinos, taking their cars, radios, stores and etc.

And speaking of abuses, we had an example of it right at the gate of this camp several days ago and this is no rumor either, for I witnessed it myself. It seems that a Filipino got into trouble with a Jap civilian just outside the gate and pulled a knife on him inflicting a small cut on the arm or head, am not sure where. The guards at the gate joined in the scrap and all but beat the poor fellow to a pulp. Then they brought him inside the gate, tied his hands behind him and beat him up some more, slapping his face, kicking his shins and stamping the butt of their gun on his foot apparently trying to break his arches. When the poor fellow fell down in pain and exhaustion, they would kick him in the ribs and face until he got up. It was a terrible sight and I was probably a "heel" to watch it as long as I did but could not help seeing what animals they really are. Other guards stood by with fixed bayonets and there was absolutely nothing any one could do but just boil all over at such cruelty. This happened about four o'clock in the afternoon; the poor fellow was kept at the gate and beat up until eight, then was taken away, almost dead. We have since learned his wife and kids came to plead for him and they let him go. That is just another example of the "New Order."

May 19, 1942

Not much new or exciting lately. Reports reach us that Germany is fact [sic] coming to the end; that her lines have been broken in many places and it is now only a matter of days. Here's hoping. (gulp)

Several days ago I sent a friend to my apartment to get some clothes etc; and today received a note saying everything had been taken away, so am now cleaned out and back to scratch. The devils. That will take about another hundred Japs to settle for that. My day is sure to come, and when it does - wow! Am not feeling any too good about it today; there were many things there I shall never be able to duplicate. And the heluvitis I've got to sit here and can't do a damned thing about it but boil over with murder in my heart.
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