Sketch by Jack Chalker

Phase 3

War Crimes Document

The Internment of Civilians in Singapore By The Nipponese Authorities

February 1942 to August 1945

 

Phase 3 - 10th October 1943 to 21st January 1944

(Later known as the ‘Double Tenth Incident’)

10th October - By 8.30 a.m. the Camp was on Parade and at about 9.30 they were address by an officer of the Gestapo (Kempeitai) who announced that every member of the Camp would be investigated and that those who in any way obstructed or resisted the investigating officers would be severely punished. internees were then marched off to the Exercise Yards of their respective Blocks where they were again paraded. They found on re-entering the Gaol that the whole building had been occupide by Nipponese soldiers armed with rifles and with fixed bayonets and that a party of Military Police offices had been allocated to each living room and floor of cells. In the course of the day internees were called in turn to their living quarters to have their blongings searched by the investigating officers.

Diaries, Manuscripts, printed matter and any articles which the investigating officer failed to understand or regarded as suspicious were taken away. At the close of the day the Military Police Officers (except 2 who remained in charge of the Guard) returned to Singapore taking 19 male internees with them for further investigation. The armed sentries remained in the Camp and during the next 3 months internees were kept under the closest supervision by armed sentries, by day and by night. But this was a small matter compared with the mental strain caused by frequent raids by parties of the Gestapo who continued to make arrests until by the end of the month the number of internees removed for investigation had increased to 44. Of these only 8 returned. The latter had strict orders under pain of execution not to disclose their experiences, but there could be no disguising the mental and physical condition in which they returned to the Camp or the marks of the treatment they had received. Moreover, enough was now known of the methods of the Gestapo for internees to form some idea of the ordeal involved in an investigation - imprisonment in conditions of almost incredible privation and squalor, the merciless beatings, torture by burning, by suffocation, racking, deprivation of food, drink and sleep for prolonged periods. These were not inflicted as punishments. They comprised the process of investigation imposed indifferently on the innocent and the guilty. The full object of the investigation will not be known until it is possible to hold a full enquiry free of Nipponese control but it was in part aimed at the discovery of wireless sets which had been used in the Camp to receive BBC. news and in part to unmask a supposed plot which threatened serious danger to the Nipponese Authorities. Needless to say no such plot existed, but this feet made it all the more difficult to judge what matters would or would not be regarded as suspicious by the investigating officers and few internees could feel that they were safely outside the scope of the investigation.

The Gestapo withdrew their officers from the Camp on 21st January 1944 and control of the internees reverted to the Nipponese Army Authorities. But the investigation had by no means finished and arrests continued until 4th April 1944 by which time 50 internees including 3 women had been taken into custody. Of the male internees 1 was executed, 8 died in custody including 2 who were returned dead to the Camp; 5 died in the Camp Hospital of the effects of their imprisonment within periods varying from a few hours to 2 months after their return to the Camp. If the remaining men 8 were returned within 11 days and others suffered imprisonment for periods varying from 5 to 22 months. Of the 3 women, 2 were imprisoned for 5 months and 1 for 7 months. Nearly all those who returned required prolonged hospital treatment to restore them to a semblance of their normal health.

During the period of Gestapo control all privileges (e.g. lectures, concerts, educational classes, meetings between husband and wives) were cancelled, and the Camp diet was drastically reduced. Internees were subjected to all kinds of persecution from the sentries and the Sikh guards, and instances of face slapping, punching and kicking were of almost daily occurrence.

 

Phase 4 - Nipponese Army Authorities

 

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