Friday, May 11, 2012
Date: May 11, 2012
Contact: Bridget A. Beers, 229 924-0343
A new temporary exhibit We Can Forgive But Never Forget is on display at the Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville National Historic Site. This exhibit coincides with the 70th Anniversary of the fall of the Philippines. The objects displayed are from prisoners held by the Japanese during World War II who fought on Bataan and Corregidor.
Seventy years ago the men on Bataan and Corregidor fought to preserve our way of life in World War II.These men, living on less than half rations, suffering from tropical diseases and low on ammunition, were surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942 on Bataan. On May 6, 1942 Corregidor and the rest of the Philippines were surrendered. Their valiant fighting delayed the Japanese invasion of the Pacific for six months, long enough for Allied Troops to regroup, train, and prepare for the systematic retrieval of Pacific islands and countries lost to the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Though hopeful that they would be treated as prisoners according to the Geneva Convention at surrender, the troops instead were considered captives. The Japanese did not abide by the Geneva Convention in regards to feeding, housing, and humane care. Men died by the thousands from starvation, dehydration, and illnesses like dysentery and malaria. Many men who survived a grueling march to Camp O'Donnell would only succumb to death due the lack of food, water, sanitary conditions, and shelter. Many did not survive this perilous march, known now as the Bataan Death March.Thousands died from the grueling march and at the hands of Japanese guards.
Thousands of American prisoners of war were eventually transported on "hell ships" to other locations including Japan where they were used as slave labor in mines, manufacturing plants, and shipyards. Americans and other prisoners of war were also used to construct the Thai-Burma Railway, made famous in the novel The Bridge On The River Kwai and the subsequent movie.The exhibit documents the life of American prisoners of war in the Philippines and Japan through photographs, diaries and items used in the daily struggle to survive.
Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, GA and 10 miles northeast of Americus, GA on Georgia Highway 49. The site features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter. Andersonville National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park System and serves as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Park grounds are open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with the museum opening at 9:00 a.m. Admission is free. For more information on the park, call 229 924-0343, visit on the WEB or find us on Facebook.