Atrocities Against American Pows In Korean War - Page 3

At this time the Chinese guard came and dragged him away and kicked him as they took him away, hitting him with the butts of their rifles and so on, and actually visibly mistreated him before the bulk of the prisoners in the compound. He was taken to an air-raid shelter where he was confined for a period of probably 3 or 4 days. During this time he received very little food or water and was kept tied up during the entire period.

He returned to the compound sometime later and in a very weak and sick condition and he never fully recovered from that and I would say he died within a period of 3 weeks after he was brought back to us.

Lieutenant Colonel Abbott testified as follows concerning monkey-gland operations:

"In this hospital men were dying again daily. It was the same hospital that I portrayed earlier, with some improvements. Men were sleeping on the floor, and they were covered with maggots, they were suffering from dysentery, pellagra, beri-beri, and so on, and in this hospital the Chinese had introduced an operation that they claimed was a cure-all for all diseases and they referred to it as a tissue operation in which they made an incision under the arm and injected into this incision a chicken liver. It was then re-sewed and allowed to heal.

Under these conditions any open cut does not heal readily. They fester and become infected, and the majority of the men that underwent those operations had some pretty nasty looking cuts under their arms and they were suffering a great deal from the incisions that had been made."

SENATOR POTTER: Were men forced to submit to that type of an operation?

COLONEL ABBOTT: They attempted to force everyone to undergo that operation in the hospital. They seemed to feel that it was something new. They said this was something that Russian medical science had just recently developed and that it was a cure-all and would enable men to rebuild their bodies and regain their health, and the average person was at the point at that time where he was willing to accept anything if there was a chance of improving his lot and he would regain his health and be able to get out of there, and they were desperate and many men accepted that"

Evidence that inhumane treatment of prisoners was prevalent at other Communist prison camps was substantiated by the testimony of Cpl. Willie L. Daniels, formerly with the 508th Field Artillery Battalion, 2d infantry Division, who was captured by the Chinese Communists on February 11, 1951, and sent to camp No. 1 at Changsong:

CORPORAL DANIELS: … In camp 1, during that time, you would get up in the morning and maybe you'd see two men setting up like they were talking you know, facing each other, but you go push on them and they'd fall over, both of them dead, just like that. You go down to the latrine, see men setting down there like they were washing their feet, They're also dead. Just dying like flies up there.

SENATOR POTTER: Dying because of?

CORPORAL DANIELS: Malnutrition, beriberi, and dysentery.

SENATOR POTTER: Did they have any medical treatment there?

CORPORAL DANIELS: No, sir; not at that time; no, sir.

Prisoners in hospitals were permitted to die without any attempt to give them relief. Sgt. Wendell Treffery, a former aid man with the 7th Infantry Division, and a prisoner of the Communists at camp No. 1, told of the condition of two of his fellow prisoners in the hospital:

SERGEANT TREFERRY: After arriving up there I started inquiring around where he was. The stalls up there looked like horseracing stalls, like you see at the track, little boxes. I opened the door and there he laid, him and another man. They were both naked, too weak to even turn over and the blowflies was blowing them, and getting them in the mouth and in the eyes. I said his name and I says, "Can't you put something on you to keep those blowflies off you?" He says, "I'm sorry. I can't do it. I'm too weak. I can't even lift my arms." So I go the Chinese doctor and said, "Can't you do something for these men?" I said, "They're going to die in a few days." He said, "Later, later," always later. Then I heard they died.

While I was there the maggots was coming out of his eyes, out of his ears, nose, and everything else. The blowflies were blowing him; not only his case but several cases like that up there. About 92 percent of them that went up to that so-called hospital never come out." ###

Sergeant Treffery experienced treatment from his Communist captors equally as horrible. His toes which were rotting, having been frozen when his combat boots were confiscated, were amputated with a pair of garden shears by a Chinese nurse without benefit of anesthesia. Later, in order to avoid being sent to the hospital where many of the seriously wounded were sent to die, he broke off his remaining two toes with his fingernails.


The evidence presented to the subcommittee clearly determined that the general Communist policy, governing the treatment of American prisoners of war, emanated from a command level. This was evident in the mass slayings on numerous occasions, particularly during times of United Nations offensives. In virtually every instance, the killing of American prisoners was either ordered or performed by a North Korean or Chinese Communist officer.

The confiscation of clothing and footwear, the inadequate medical attention, and lack of food and water, the beatings and torture of American prisoners were constant during all forced marches and in all prisoner-of-war camps up until the peace talks at Panmunjom. This deliberate Communist policy to weaken prisoners was closely connected with their program of incessant political probing and forced Communist indoctrination. As the peace talks progressed the treatment of war prisoners would improve or revert dependent upon the Communist gains in these negotiations.

Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, Chief of Staff, United States Army, and former Commander of the United Nations Forces in Korea told the subcommittee that the Communist brutalities in Korea was a "studied and calculated course of criminal misconduct carried out with such callous disregard of human life and suffering as to indicate a design on the part of the Communist leadership to exterminate prisoners of war in one way or another."

Col. Claudius O. Wolfe, staff judge advocate of the Korean communications zone, testified:

"I believe that there was a very deliberate definite pattern established which indicated that these instances are not the result of isolated, voluntary acts of individuals but an overall plan to deliberately exterminate and to perpetrate these atrocities upon our troops….."

Lt. Col. Jack Todd, head of the War Crimes Division in Korea, termed the Communist policy as one of "…deliberate destruction of the human will, of human dignity, and worth. In short," Todd said, "the animalizing of helpless humanity through starvation, torture, and neglect is one of the most scathing indictments of Communist-inspired brutality…."

Col. James M. Hanley, former Chief of the War Crimes Division in Korea, told the subcommittee that the pattern of Communist atrocities must have stemmed from a high Communist source, "Either orders were issued or they all think exactly alike."

Lt. Col. Robert Abbott, formerly with the United States 8th Infantry Division, and a prisoner of war of the Communists from November 26, 1950 , to September 5, 1953, testified that the Communist policy of starvation was preconceived and, "is something they have given a great deal of thought to and they have applied it effectively in their own countries against their own type, and they use it continuously against their political prisoners and have found it very effective and they thought that they could do the same with us."

The testimony revealed that more than 1,800 cases involving many thousands of victims of Communist war atrocities have been opened by the War Crimes Division in Korea. Lt. Col. Jack R. Todd, Chief of the War Crimes Division, testified the most accurate estimate of American troops who died as a result of war crimes was 5,639 as of November 1953. He stated this figure was conservative and might increase after investigations are completed.

This figure is appalling in view of the evidence that the grand total of all Americans repatriated was only 3,508. This indicates that approximately two-thirds of all American prisoners of war died due to war crimes.

Furthermore, the above American fatalities figure does not represent the total number of American victims of atrocities because many victims survived and were either repatriated or in some other manner found their way back to the United Nations lines. The conservative estimate of probable American victims as of June 1953, was 6,113, which figure is expected to increase.

Evidence further showed that the total number of reported civilian victims reaches the number 35,459 persons, with a probable verifiable estimate of 17,354; and that the total number of reported victims among United Nations forces (including United States troops) was 20,785 with a probable verifiable estimate of 11,622.

Upon hearing the testimony of all witnesses and studying the documentary evidence submitted, the subcommittee advises:

  1. The North Korean and Chinese Communist armies were guilty of the following war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against American personnel during the conflict in Korea from June 25, 1950, until July 27, 1953:
    • a. Murder;
    • b. Attempted murder;
    • c. Malicious and aggravated assaults;
    • d. Various acts of torture, i.e., perforating flesh of prisoners with heated bamboo spears, burning prisoners with lighted cigarettes and inserting a can opener into a prisoner's open wound'
    • e. Starvation;
    • f. Deliberate policy of fostering starvation;
    • g. Experimental medical operations;
    • h. Coerced Communist indoctrination;
    • i. Bayonetting
  2. The Communist government in China is equally responsible and guilty as the Communist government in Korea for war atrocities committed against Americans.
  3. Virtually every provision of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of war prisoners was purposely violated or ignored by the North Korean and Chinese forces.
  4. More than 5,000 American prisoners of war died because of communist war atrocities and more than a thousand who survived were victims of war crimes.
  5. Several thousand American soldiers who have not been repatriated were victims of war crimes, died in action, or are presently confined behind the Iron Curtain.
  6. Communist forces violated the "Little Switch" agreement by failing to repatriate the sick and wounded prisoners in accordance with the Panmunjom truce.The Communists in Korea, by false propaganda, have attempted to inaccurately portray the treatment accorded by them to American prisoners of war.

It is recommended that a resolution be offered in the Senate of the United States proposing that the Senate express its grave concern over these Communist atrocities and recommend to the United States delegation to the United Nations the establishment of an impartial investigating commission of the United Nations. The purpose of said commission would be to inquire into and report the facts of all war crimes committed by the North Korean and Chinese Communist forces in or near Korea since June 24, 1950, and the means of subjecting the criminals responsible to just and lawful punishment.



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