January 17, 2007,

I met Father Hanquet this morning and showed him all the portraits. At first, he didn't recognize anybody but told me that 17a could be J. Goyas --- who was very active in the black-market business ---

Fr. Hanquet is too kind in pointing out Goyas was simply 'involved in the 'black-market' business'! Because in our Weihsien terminology, camp 'black-marketeering' was almost considered an honorable 'profession' but there was nothing honorable about our FAT 'friend' Goyas' activities there. You see, even in camp he was not adverse to doing a bit of trading (solely for his own benefit) in jewelery, preferrably of the golden variety. I've got no idea where his money came from, but no surprise, he always came out the winner in each of his lop sided deals.

But what Goyas was more notorious for in camp, and Fr. Hanquet may remember this, was his blatant avoidance of any work detail and shamelessly refusing to do his share of work in camp?

I'm sure Langdon Gilkey covered this episode in his book, and who better placed to report on the fat man's LAZY trait than the author of 'Shandung Compound', who just happened to be on the 'Work Detail Committee' himself, at the time.

Finally, it was also common knowledge the WDC discussed various options to try and force him into complying with his obligations but for one reason or another, it was all to no avail.

However, in my opinion the face in 17a isn't that of Goyas! The 17a 'snap' looks like an extraction from the photo of the girls playing softball. 17a matches the face of the man wearing white overalls and being near the bakery suggests he was having a break from all that heavy work, 'kneading' dough! But that sort of dough was definetly not Goyas' type!

Furthermore, he was a lot more rotund than the man watching the game.


Very interesting observations Zandy! Your reminiscing causes memories to flood back to me too! I clearly recall some of the younger children facetiously referring to Goyas as Uncle Jacob. I don't think anyone really had any sort of respect for the old slacker! I also recall hearing, way back in those far-off days, that when Jacob Goyas refused to do his share of work at the pump by the ladies' showers, Mr Stewart, whom we all respected greatly and who trained many of us boys in Block 61 in a sort of Weihsien Camp Cadet Corps, Mr Stewart was reputed to have given this rotund sluggard a well-deserved black eye! Whether it actually happened or was just part of camp legend, Goyas certainly had it coming!


I also recall stories about him lending people money in the camp on condition the borrower signed an IOU for redemption after the War ended. My girl friend told me (and she is still alive) that he had a pile of IOU's in his hand one day and he was counting them up. My mother remarked in the camp that he was disgusting. He was short, fat and with a tanned complexion. My father was wary of him because he was told that he was a spy for the Japanese. He was very affable when met walking around the camp but nobody trusted him.


I think Goyas, who was a Uruguayan merchant, was beaten up by two taipans in camp, after he refused to do his assigned duty rotation at manning a pump..

Such beatings also occurred in other camps, though usually as the result of personal animosities.


That is interesting! I was thirteen years old when I manned that very pump at the ladies' showers'!

Weihsien had a very well-organized and run camp committee, as I'm sure you well know through all your research for your book. This committee was in turn broken down into other committees, one of which was Weihsien Camp's highly respected Discipline Committee. Any acts of violence would certainly have been reported to the Discipline Committee which was headed by a very fair, but firm, Scotsman named Mr McLaren. No one wanted to be reported to McLaren and so such incidents would have been few and far between.

Uncle Jacob was a bit of a legend to us youngsters in the camp. Actually, as Joyce recalls, he was quite friendly. But just don't try to enter into business dealings with him.


I'm johnny-come-lately to this discussion, but wasn't Goyas the gentleman -- and I use the term loosely --who was kicking himself in the butt because he had 7 passports to countries in Central and South America, and happened to show the wrong one to the Japanese, so ended up in camp? It's understandable, under those circumstances, why he felt he didn't have to raise a finger to help...!poor guy.


I congratulate you for airing subject matter and opening up a can of stinking worms, given that Goyas, in my opinion , was the smelliest of all. He makes our (Aus) Ned Kelly a saint in comparison. When I was around 17/18 years old, I remember my parents dealing with him. Firstly, my mother had to trade some jewellery to get half a dozen eggs. That's all very well under our conditions but 3 of them were cracked and rotten. Do you think he would make it up? No way in the world! Secondly, my father traded his gold Hunter watch, (earlier belonging to his father), and would have been my inheritance one day, for a measly pound of sugar.

The comments I have read so far on the Topica site seem to lean towards being Mild. He was, without doubt, the laziest,greediest and most horrible person it was my and my family's misfortune to have ever met. On a more productrive note, I think it would be great if Lucy Lu,Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs, Weifang, could be made aware of that particular situation and the disgust held by the internees at that time.

Insofar as IOU's are concerned, I don't believe that existed as there would be no way in the world that Goyas could ever hope to reedem them after the war.

17a - Could this be GOYAS?