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World War II
Prisoners of War
World War II, almost 150,000 Allied civilians were held in prison camps
throughout the areas of East Asia occupied by
the Japanese. This included a swath from New
Guinea, to the Philippines,
Indonesia, Burma, Malaya, and China. In addition, some civilians
were held in Military POW camps because the Japanese perceived that they held
some connection with an Allied military force, such as being a reservist or a
member of a self-defense force. Almost 100 camps held Civilian prisoners
throughout the region of Japanese occupation.
government statistics show that 14,000 American civilians were among these
prisoners, with 7,300 held in the Philippines,
3,300 in China, and the rest
scattered throughout the Pacific
Islands and other Asian locations.
Of these, a total of 11% either died in captivity or disappeared. Another
2,000 Americans who were captured by the Japanese were returned home in
prisoner exchanges that occurred in 1942 and 1943.
The Bay Area Civilian Ex-Prisoners of War (BACEPOW) organization is
dedicated to supporting and telling the story of all of these people who were
captives of the Japanese. Though the organization was founded in the San Francisco area, its
membership is now nation-wide, with members in several other countries.
We welcome those who were civilian and military prisoners, their families and friends, and those who are interested in the
history of the prison camps in East Asia.
Our primary focus is on the prison camps in the Philippines, where most of our
ex-POW members spent more than 3 years under the inhumane treatment of the
Japanese occupying force.
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