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Japanese transport Hell Ship Teia Maru


Japanese Exchange Ship Docks ― Gripsholm at Montevideo

The Japanese official news agency, Domei, said yesterday in an English-language dispatch to East Asia that the Japanese exchange ship, the Teia Maru, had arrived at Hong Kong from Shanghai en route to Marmagao in Portuguese India, the Office of War Information reported.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published September 23, 1943

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Sept. 22 (U.P.)-Eighty Japanese who "want to go back to Tokyo" and three who did not were loaded aboard the Swedish liner Gripsholm, exchange ship, in the harbor here today. The ship, which a few days ago loaded Japanese nationals at Rio de Janeiro, is bound for Goa, India, where the enemy alien passengers will be exchanged for Allied nationals.

Those who did not want to go were Naoya Nagamine, née Maria Julia Igartua, and her two children. Uruguayan born, she lost her citizenship and technically became a Japanese national when she married the secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Santiago, Chile.


Americans Now on Way from Japan on Board the Teia-Maru

BOMBAY, India, Oct. 7 (U.P.)Approximately 1,200 Americans, including 461 missionaries and many prominent business men, are en route home from Japanese-occupied territory aboard the Japanese ship Teia-Maru, it was revealed today when the provisional passenger list was released for the first time.

The Teia-Maru, with its 1,500 Allied and neutral nationals is expected at Mormugao, principal port of the territory of Goa in, Portuguese India on Oct. 14 or 15, I where it will meet the Allied ex !change ship, the Swedish liner II Gripsholm with its cargo of Japa f nese nationals.

The two ships are expected to remain in Mormugao about six days before beginning their trip home.

The Americans on the Teia-Maru include Cornell S. Franklin of Columbus, Miss., who practiced law and held a judicial appointment in Honolulu before moving about twenty years ago to Shanghai. Dr. Thomas Balfour Dunn and wife and three of their four daughters are among the repatriates. John T. S. Reed, Shanghai manager, heads the list of National City Bank of New York employees being repatriated. Alfred E. Schumacher, manager, heads the list of the Chase National Bank. Oscar Steen, vice president of the American President Lines and long Orient chief of the Dollar Lines, also is aboard the ship.

The -provisional list also includes twenty-two Standard Oil employees, including Myron A. Mitchell and John A. Bristow.

One of the most widely known repatriates is Miss Helen Burton, proprietor of the Camel Bell Shop in the Peking Hotel.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones Fuller Malone and their child, born after' Pearl Harbor, also are listed, as are Eddie Meyerink, Eric D. Sitzenstatter, George Lynott, Max Andreas Lorenzen and James Perkins.

John Potter, Shanghai real estate agent, and William B. "Billy" Christian, representative of the British-American Tobacco Company, also are listed as being on the exchange ship.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 8, 1943


Japanese Vessel with Americans to Dock at Mormugoa

MORMUGOA, Portuguese India, Oct. 14 (UP)―The port officer was informed today in a wireless from the Teia Maru that the Japanese ship bringing American repatriates from the Far East would arrive at Mormugao tomorrow at 1 A. M. (4 P. M. Thursday, New York time], and that the Gripsholm, bringing Japanese from America, would arrive the following day.

The Teia Maru will proceed immediately to dock, but the passengers are likely to remain aboard until the Gripsholm arrives, as there is no shelter for them in this port except aboard.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 15, 1943


Teia Maru Docks at Mormugao — Most Passengers Appear Bronzed but Strained


Allied Repatriates to Stay on Japanese Vessel Till Actual Transfer Begins

By wireless to The New York Times,

MORMUGAO, Portuguese India, Oct. 15—The Japanese ship Teia Maru arrived here this morning carrying roughly 1,500 American, Canadian and Latin-American citizens from Japanese-occupied territories in the Far East.

Most of the American passengers will be exchanged at this neutral little Portuguese Indian port for an equal number of Japanese who have been interned in the United States since the outbreak of war with Japan. The Japanese are due here on the Swedish ship Gripsholm, which had not arrived this morning.

This exchange is the second of its kind since the Pacific war began, the first having taken place last year at the Portuguese African port of Lourenco Marques. The Teia Maru steamed slowly into this jungle-girt little port at 10:30 this morning. The 1,200 Americans, 250 Canadians and eighty-odd Latin-Americans aboard were almost all on deck, crowding the rail, swarming over the booms or hanging on to the lines as the ship was maneuvered into dock. Shabbily dressed, their faces bronzed from weeks of sailing in tropical seas, the passengers were mostly silent.

All of them had been caught in China, the Philippines, Hong Kong or Japan by the Japanese since the attack on Pearl Harbor and have been interned since December, 1941.

The American Consul General at Goa, Austin R. Preston, and his consular aides; Paul Ekstrom, chancellor of the Swedish Consulate at Bombay who is representing the Japanese in the exchange; Paul Sykes, Canadian trade commissioner in India, who is representing the Canadian Government here, and International Red Cross officials were the first to go aboard the Japanese ship.

They went aboard prepared to attend to many welfare cases. Many of the Americans aboard are aged persons who will require special medical attention. Many carloads of Red Cross supplies have been brought in by rail here for the Teia Maru.

The Gripsholm also is loaded with fifteen hundred tons of medical supplies, food and clothing that will be taken back to enemy controlled territories for Americans and Britons and others by the Teia Maru.

Portuguese police and soldiers formed a cordon around several acres of ground flanking the wharf and permitted only authorized persons inside.

The American, Portuguese and Swedish officials handling the exchange have been working out details for weeks.

During the period of their stay here of the Teia Maru and the Gripsholm the repatriates will not receive leave but will be allowed on the dock within the restricted area. Enclosures and lanes between the two ships have been arranged for so that there will be virtually no contact between the Japanese and Americans as they come onto the docks or pass between the two ships.

The Americans from the Teia Maru will not be transferred to the! Gripsholm until the berthing assignments have been completed on the latter.

Capt. Almeida Pinheiro, Portuguese naval officer and director of Mormugao Port, who is acting as delegate or "umpire" for exchange, went aboard with Mr. Preston. Many of the Americans on board were stripped to the waist and wore only khaki shorts. Many had long beards. The women wore faded slacks and dresses. Everyone was bronzed but looked strained.

A New Picture of Wake Island Under the Direction of U.S. Navy Airmen


Swedish Liner with Japanese: Is at Mormugao for Transfer of 1,500 on the Teia Maru


Citizenship of Americans' Baby, Born on Liner 13 Days Ago, Debated by Passengers

, Portuguese India, Oct. 16 (AP) ― The Swedish exchange ship Gripsholm, carrying Japanese from the Americas, arrived here today to repatriate 1,500 United States citizens, Latin Americans and Canadians who reached this port yesterday on the Japanese liner Teia Maru. The transfer of the repatriated persons is expected to take about a week.

Passengers in the T-to-Z name group were allowed today to take their personal luggage off the Teia Maru. This section of the alphabet was chosen because it contained the exact number of persons that officials of the Japanese ship wanted to handle.

A limited number of passengers were allowed by the Japanese officers to come ashore to the restricted fifty-foot zone around the gangplank to meet friends or to stretch their legs. A Japanese official stood at the head of the gangplank saying "yes" or "no" to the passengers, depending on the case they put up to come ashore.

A favored few were permitted to be guests of the consuls ashore. A special craving for fruit was shown by those who had lived in the Philippines where fruit is plentiful. One hungry passenger nabbed a basket intended for another. Fruit abounds on Mormugao, especially bananas, limes and guavas.

The heat bore down considerably on the passengers, but they were buoyed up by the prospect that the transfer to the Gripsholm would begin late in the afternoon or early tomorrow.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 17, 1943

Baby's Citizenship Is Issue

MORMUGAO, Portuguese India. Oct. 16 (U.P.) ― Cheers by several hundred Japanese rang out across the water as the Gripsholm, painted white with diagonal stripes in Sweden's colors and bearing the word "Diplomat" in large black letters on her side, was pushed into her berth here today. The passengers sang as the liner anchored directly below the veranda of the Antigo Palacio Hotel. The Gripsholm's arrival quickly overshadowed what had been the chief topic of debate among the freedom-hungry persons awaiting transfer, the nationality of the youngest passenger aboard the Teia Maru. She is 13' days old, and the debate arises from the international circumstances of her birth.

She was born on a Swiss-supervised Japanese ship, formerly owned by France, while the vessel lay off Japanese-occupied British territory. The ship was en route between Japanese-occupied Manila and this outpost of Portugal.

The parents are American. Some of the passengers aboard the Teia Maru argue that the baby is British, some that she is American and some that Japan can lay a claim to her citizenship.

The most authoritative opinion assures the parents that she is 100 per cent American, but that does not stop the argument, which is a, relief from shuffleboard.

So far the only direct contact with the passengers has been by consular agents. Correspondents will not be permitted to obtain personal stories until the repatriates have been transferred to the Swedish liner Gripsholm and the Gripsholm reach Port Elizabeth, Cape of Good Hope.

The Teia Maru carries nearly three times as many passengers as, her one-time owners, the French Messageries Maritimes, conceived; could be accommodated in the first and second-class cabins, but the passengers have taken their overcrowding in good spirit.

Tall tales of experiences in prison camps have gone the rounds. Each seemingly sought to out boast the other on the amount of weight he had lost during incarceration. Eventually the talk drifts around to food, the great, rich mounds of American food they are going to eat soon.

Japanese prison camps in Japan, China and the Philippines are represented aboard the Teia Maru. The internees were confined for periods ranging from six to twenty-two months. One group spent time in two or more camps. They call themselves "postgraduates of the Japanese internment system’. Committees have been organised to conduct school for the children, to supervise exercise on the crowded decks, which one passenger said reminded him of Coney Island on a summer Sunday, and to assist the Swiss delegate, Hans Abegg, in looking after the ship's company.

The passengers include 492 Protestant missionaries, representing thirty-five denominations. There are three university groups and 162 Roman Catholics, representing twelve orders of nuns and eighteen orders of priests.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 17, 1943


Americans and Others on Ship at Mormugao Suffered in Concentration Camps

By Wireless to The New York Times.

MORMUGAO, Portuguese India, Oct. 16 (Delayed) ― The slow complicated process of unloading passengers and baggage from the Japanese liner Teia Maru was fairly well advanced by noon today as Mormugao awaited the arrival of the Gripsholm. The Teia Maru, with 1200 Americans, 250 Canadians and a small number of Britons and Latin Americans being repatriated from Japanese-controlled territories in the Far East, had been in port more than twenty-four hours at noon. The Gripsholm, with 1,500 Japanese, brought from internment in the United States for repatriation to Japan, arrived thirty hours after the Teia Maru. Several hundred Americans from the Teia Maru were allowed to leave the ship and remain within a restricted area along the waterfront yesterday afternoon and this morning in connection with the unloading of baggage and negotiations between the passengers' committees and American, Portuguese and neutral officials.

Show Effects of Ordeals

Newspaper men were permitted to mingle with the passengers in the dock area but were barred from going aboard the Japanese ship. The writer talked with scores of friends of pre-war years in China and other Far Eastern countries. All showed the strain of nearly two years in enemy hands, much of the time spent in internment camps. Many had lost thirty pounds or more, some had developed prematurely gray hair and the faces of all were lined with evidences of ordeals.

Still subdued by many months of repressed, regimented living, the passengers could not conceal a glow of happiness at being released here into a new life among their own people. They talked about themselves at first a bit reluctantly and then, as the feeling that they were actually free again gained power, they poured out stories of their adventures.

Most of the Americans were from camps in the Shanghai area. A few from North China, a few from Hong Kong and some from the Philippines had been in concentration centres since a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most of the Shanghai Americans were free to go where they pleased under supervision until November 1942, when many were interned as "political prisoners’. The Teia Maru was more crowded than the concentration camps. She brought 1,503 passengers, who were crowded into public rooms and bedded down in nearly every cranny that could be found.

Baggage Was Limited

When the Americans left the Shanghai camps for the ship, they were allowed to take 200 pounds of baggage in three bags and 1,000 yen, which was exchangeable into 5,500 Chinese puppet Government dollars.

After the Gripsholm docked, a group of American seamen who had been recruited at the last minute in New York to fill vacancies in the Swedish crew gathered on the afterdeck facing the Teia Marti and sang "God Bless America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner." They drew cheers from the Teia Maru. The Japanese on the Gripsholm waved many flags but remained quiet.

Baron Hayashi, Tokyo Foreign Office representative on the Teia Maru, was one of the first aboard the Gripsholm. On leaving he told newspaper men there had been two suicides and three births on the Gripsholm during the six-week voyage from New York.

Americans on the Teia Maru cheered when an American newspaper man brought reports that the Gripsholm had plenty of ham, eggs, steaks and butter.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 18, 1943


Americans and Japanese Are No Longer Restricted as They Await Transfers in India

By Wireless to The New York Times

MORMUGAO, Portuguese India, Oct. 17 (Delayed) ― Americans from the Japanese liner Teia Maru and Japanese from the Swedish liner Gripsholm mingled along the Mormugao dockside today as preparations to exchange the passengers of the two vessels continued. A general spirit of tolerance prevailed but there was no conversing between the two groups. The Americans, freed from Far Eastern detention, and Japanese from the Americas watched each other curiously and occasionally rubbed shoulders. The Americans gazed longingly at the commodious comfortable Gripsholm and listened avidly to stories of the good food in her larders.

The exchange of passengers has been delayed until Tuesday. Meanwhile baggage and cargos are being unloaded and accommodations assigned. The Americans have already had samples of the amenities that await them on the Gripsholm, for members of her crew tossed hundreds of packages of American cigarettes to Teia Maru passengers and Miss Ann McMechan, head of the American Red Cross unit aboard the Gripsholm, distributed candy to American children. Miss McMechan has clothing for the needy, toys, cigarette, pipe tobacco, books and magazines ready for distribution when the Americans board the ship.

Plans to keep the Teia Maru and Gripsholm passengers separated ashore have been dropped. This afternoon at 4 o'clock all Japanese ashore were organised into groups for calisthenics.

There now are no restrictions on passengers' leaving the Teia Maru for the restricted dock area. There has been a rush to buy fruits from hawkers, so the banana supply has already grown scanty.

Americans, working in gangs, continue to do most of the handling of their own baggage. Japanese similarly are assisting in unloading their belongings.

Catholics on the Teia Maru hope to arrange a shore visit to the Tomb of St. Francis Xavier, but this cannot be decided for several days.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 19, 1943

Japanese Exchange Ship Sheds Her National Flag

By The Associated Press.

MORMUGAO, Portuguese India, Oct. 20 ― After a Portuguese protest, the Japanese exchange ship Teia Maru lowered today a Japanese flag run up in place of the Portuguese flag which she is required by international law to fly while in a Portuguese harbor. The Rising Sun emblem had been sent aloft to celebrate the arrival of Japanese repatriate aboard from the Gripsholm, but the Portuguese would have none of it.

Aboard the Gripsholm, the center of attraction for 1,500 American repatriates was the store run by Benny Segal, where clothes, toilet goods and candy sold on a Christmas rush basis.

Repatriate said Don Bell, National Broadcasting Company commentator in Manila who had been reported killed after the Japanese occupied the city, was alive and well and doing three newscasts weekly over the loudspeaker system at the Santo Tomas internment camp.

The New York Times
Copyright ©The New York Times
Originally published October 21, 1943


American Sailing is Delayed —
More Exchanges Hoped For

MORMUGAO, Portuguese India, Oct. 21 (AP) ― Hopes for future repatriation exchanges were voiced by both United States and Japanese officials today as the Japanese ship Teia Maru left for home.

She was laden with Japanese nationals and 2,400 tons of Red Cross goods for internees and war prisoners in Japan.

The Japanese, repatriated from the Americas, were traded for Allied nationals who were brought here on the Teia Maru and transferred to the Swedish liner Gripsholm.

The Gripsholm, which took aboard 400 tons of Red Cross supplies for Japanese interned in the Americas, was expected to sail tomorrow, with 1,500 Americans, Canadians and Latin-Americans. In a message relayed through the Swedish Embassy, Baron Yasushi Hayashi, who conducted the exchanges here for the Japanese, said that he favored more such trades soon. Austin Roe Preston, United States Consul General in Portuguese India, who directed exchange arrangements for the Americans, said he hoped for more too.

The Japanese apparently were disgruntled over the crowded quarters on the Japanese ship in comparison with the spaciousness of the Gripsholm and they showed it by their manner.

The delay in the Gripsholm's sailing left the 1,500 Americans, Canadians and Latin-Americans with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs for an extra twenty-four hours. However, they did not appear to be suffering much.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 22. 1943


Exchange Liner Due in New York Dec. 2, After Stop in South Africa and Brazil


Rev. J. Hillcoap Arthur Dies Before Ship Leaves—In China 31 Years as Missionary

Special to The New York Times.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 ― The chartered motorship Gripsholm, with 1,236 American repatriates aboard from Japan and Japanese-held regions in the Far East, sailed from Mormugao, Portuguese India, today and is due in New York on Dec. 2, the State Department announced today.

The vessel will stop at Port Elizabeth, South Africa from Nov. 2 to 4, and at Rio de Janeiro from Nov. 14 to 16.

A few cases of illness have been reported among the repatriates, the State Department said, but there is a complete medical department on the ship that is "fully equipped to care for all actual and possible needs of the passengers." The next of kin of the sick persons have been notified. This practice will be followed in event of more cases of illness.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 23, 1943


A missionary, who died two days ago aboard the exchange ship Gripsholm, thirty-six hours before she sailed from Portuguese India for America, was identified here yesterday by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions as the Rev. J. Hillcoap Arthur, whose widow and three sons- reside in Pasadena, Calif., The Associated Press reported.

The board said the Rev. Mr. Arthur was associate general treasurer of their China missions when he was interned in a camp in the Pootung section of Shanghai early this year.

He had been a Presbyterian missionary in China for thirty-one years, stationed first in Hangchow and from 1937 on in Shanghai.

He had been ill for several years and was carried aboard the Gripsholm on a stretcher. He died of cerebral apoplexy; the board announced.

Burial took place in Vasco da Gama, Portuguese India, two miles from Marmugao.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 23, 1943


Presbyterian Missionary 30 Years in China Dies on Gripsholm

The Rev. James Hillcoat Arthur, who was a missionary in China for more than thirty years, died of cerebral apoplexy on board the Gripsholm last Wednesday, according to information received by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America from the State Department. He was 58 years old. Born in Sydney, Australia, son of a Scottish sea captain, Mr. Arthur was graduated from the College of Wooster, Ohio, and the Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. He was appointed a missionary to China by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in 1912. Until 1937, he was stationed in Hangchow, where he had charge of evangelistic work. In 1937, the China Council appointed him to the office of the Associated Mission Treasurers in Shanghai, where he was at the outbreak of hostilities in December, 1941. A message received here last March indicated that Mr. Arthur, with other missionaries, had been interned, but no camp address was given.

Mr. Arthur visited the United States last in 1940 and left his family here when he returned to China.

He leaves a widow, Mrs. Leila Droz Arthur, and three young sons of Pasadena, Calif.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 27, 1943


South Africans Plan to Entertain Repatriates From Orient

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA, Oct. 30 {AP) ― This seaside resort will be thrown open to the American, Canadian and Latin American repatriates from Japanese prison camps when the exchange ship Gripsholm arrives here about the middle of next week en route to New York.

It will be the internees' first stop at an Allied port. Four or five hundred private homes will be opened to the guests for the day or overnice t, as they choose, housewives have been learning to cook American dishes.

The children will have free movies, a picnic, swimming and all types of games.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published October 31, 1943


Leaves South Africa-Will Stop Next at Rio de Janeiro

, South Africa, Nov. 4 (AP-The Swedish liner Gripsholm, carrying 1,500 citizens of the Americas who are being repatriated after nearly two years' internment in the Far East, sailed tonight for New York via Rio de Janeiro.

The ship had been in port here two days. She is due in Rio de Janeiro about Nov. 14.

The Swedish home radio said yesterday that the Swedish exchange liner Drottningholm arrived safely in Swedish waters at 10:30 Wednesday night despite Germany's withdrawal of safe conduct assurances for Swedish shipping. The broadcast was recorded by United States Government monitors.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published November 5, 1943


Will Act as Liaison for Kin of Repatriates, With All Visits to Shipside Barred


WASHINGTON, Nov 13 ― The American Red Cross will represent all relief organizations at the pier in Jersey City when the exchange motorship Gripsholm arrives on Dec. 2 with repatriated Americans from the Far East, the State Department said today. The Red Cross will give information to repatriates and deliver mail, telegrams, addresses, telephone numbers and other information as, to where they can meet friends and relatives in New York.

Repatriates, the department said, should not expect to meet friends and relatives on the pier, as this will not be permitted by the authorities for security reasons. Relatives and friends have been advised to remain at their hotels, homes and other points of contact away from the pier and to advise the Red Cross as to their exact location and telephone numbers in New York City.

Mail and telegrams for repatriates arriving on the Gripsholm should be addressed as follows: Mr. John Doe, Gripsholm repatriate, care of New York Chapter, American Red Cross, 315 Lexington Avenue, New York, N. Y., or Mr. John Doe, Gripsholm repatriate, care of Postmaster, New York, N. Y.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published November 14, 1943


Rio de Janeiro Host to Americans From Japanese Camps

By Cable to The New York Times.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 15 ― Men, women and children being repatriated to the United States from Japanese internment camps walked down the gangplank of the Liner Gripsholm, as she docked here today, smiling at reaching the free Americas.

The 175 children bound for the United States-some of whom had been born in Asiatic countries were housed ashore among members of the American colony. They will be entertained through tomorrow, until the Gripsholm sails for New York.

Brazil was observing a national holiday on the anniversary of the founding of the republic, but some stores here opened to enable the repatriates to buy warm clothing for the trip northward. One American newspaper man among them said the khaki shirts and shorts he wore were all he had in the world. Reaching here from the port of exchange with Japan at Mormugao, Portuguese India, the Gripsholm had aboard 1,290 United States citizens, 248 Canadians, 178 Latin Americans and three Portuguese. Missionaries, including 504 Protestants and 162 Catholics, made up the largest group of the Americans. All who landed were invited guests of Americans here. About 200 aboard the Gripsholm, fifteen of them stretcher cases, are still suffering from privations of Japanese concentration camps, especially at Shanghai, where some described conditions for the men as hard.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published November 16, 1943


Gripsholm Passengers Say: "Talk" Means Reprisals on Americans Left Behind

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 16 (AP) ― There is great fear among the repatriates aboard the exchange ship Gripsholm that some irresponsible person might say something that would get back to Japan by radio and cause the Japanese military police to visit reprisals upon the heads of thousands of internees left behind in China, the Philippines, Japan and elsewhere, it was learned here today.

These fears are based on definite warnings given by Japanese officials as the repatriates left the camps for embarkation. One warning came from A. Kodaki, Philippine chief of the Japanese External Affairs Department, and S. Kuroda, commander of the Santo Tomas camp at Manila.

Kuroda called attention to the possibility of reprisals against other internees in the event any repatriate sensationalized isolated incidents that Japanese authorities, felt were exaggerated or untrue. Kodaki admitted that the Japanese made many mistakes in handling internees, but said they had tried to rectify them.

On the night of Iast September 24 Kodaki appeared before the internees and made a speech. He spoke of the lucky ones going home and the less lucky remaining and hoped that the former would not forget those staying behind. He told the latter, "Be patient; wait your turn." He hoped the day soon would come when all could say farewell to the camp.

Pootung Called "Worst" Camp

Approximately 850 men, including 154 Americans, in the Pootung internment camp at Shanghai are facing "a harder lot every day," John Francis Harris of Panama City, Fla., said on the arrival here of the repatriate liner Gripsholm yesterday.

Mr. Harris was interned eight months at Pootung, where he served as assistant American liaison representative between the American prisoners and the Japanese authorities.

Pootungers "lack food, medicine and other essentials and things are growing worse," he said.

Mr. Harris expressed belief that Pootung, with the exception of Hong Kong, was the worst camp in China primarily because "the Japanese don't seem to care much about it."

"They apparently think that, because it is composed entirely of men, they can get along on less," he declared.

Mr. Harris is anticipating his first reunion in two years with his family ― Mrs. Peg Harris and daughters, Jil, 6, and Lyn, 5. They live at 178 Gretna Green, Brentwood Heights, Calif.

Mr. Harris was in Japan for RCA from 1932 to July, 1942, when he went to Shanghai.

"This war will be a long hard pull," he said. "Perhaps I represent a minority opinion, but I think the Japanese know they are going to get licked. Yet they are going to put up a stiff fight."

While at Pootung, which is across the Whangpoo from Shanghai's famed Bund, Mr. Harris lived with eighty other men in one room of a warehouse that had been condemned three years previously. With virtually no equipment, the internees cleaned the ancient buildings, cleared the grounds of rubble and made the place as comfortable as possible.

"Everyone there now." he said, "is hoping there will be another repatriation."

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published November 17, 1943

Gripsholm to Dock Here Today With 1,500 from Japanese Camps

Red Cross to Help Repatriated Civilians, at Least 200 of Whom Are in Ill Health ―
Relatives Not Permitted at Pier

Fifteen hundred Americans and Canadians, back from Japanese internment camps in Japan, China and the Philippines, will arrive here this morning on the exchange liner Gripsholm, which is expected to dock at Pier F, Jersey City, about 10 o'clock. Elaborate preparations, to receive them have been made by Governmental agencies and the American Red Cross.

The passengers on the 18,353-ton Swedish liner include 1,290 Americans, some of whom have never set foot in this country before; 248 Canadians, and a small number of Latin Americans. Among them are 175 children and at least 200 persons who are known to be in ill health from the rigors of their imprisonment, including fifteen stretcher cases.

Missionaries, of whom there are 504 representing thirty-five Protestant denominations and 162 Catholics, make up the largest group on the Gripsholm, but there are also many business men and their families who were trapped by the outbreak of the war in the Far East. Most Government officials and newspaper correspondents captured by the Japanese at that time were exchanged on the first trip of the Gripsholm, which ended last August.

The State Department announced that for reasons of security relatives of the repatriates would not be permitted on the dock to greet them. Instead, the American Red Cross has been designated as the official clearing agency and the headquarters of its New York Chapter at 315 Lexington Avenue will be the reception center for putting separated families in touch with one another.

The Red Cross, which has been designated by the State Department to act as the official relief agency for the occasion, will have a staff of professional and volunteer workers on hand when the repatriates disembark. One of their tasks will be to distribute to those returning 20,000 letters, telegrams and other messages.

Red Cross trained social workers will provide advice and guidance for those in need. Some of them will be sent to the Travelers Aid Society and others will be referred to the headquarters of the City Department of Welfare at 902 Broadway, which will act as the official agency for disbursing Federal funds to them. The Red Cross motor corps will provide transportation for those who require it.

Maj. Gen. Robert C. Davis, executive director of the New York Chapter, announced last night that the Red Cross had already been advised that at least fifty individuals or families among the passengers would require assistance. Some of these are family groups I that lost all their possessions when war engulfed them; others are children traveling alone.

The son of an American soldier, separated from his father who was stationed in Tientsin, China, and the son of an American sailor, who left his wife and child in China when he was transferred back to this country in 1939, are among the charges of the Red Cross, which will seek to make arrangements for them to go on to relatives in this country.

The Red Cross has also reserved 400 rooms in hotels at varying price scales to assist the repatriates to find temporary quarters quickly. It will provide those who seek this form of assistance with a ticket for a hotel room at the price the individual or family is able to pay.

Federal funds will be made available in sufficient amounts to provide clothing, food, transportation costs, cash for immediate, needs, medical service and, in some cases, rent and furniture, according to announcement last night by Peter Kasius, regional director of the Social Security Board, 11 West Forty-second Street.

Mr. Kasius, explaining that these funds would come from a special Civilian War Assistance Allocation for the purpose of assisting Americans who have suffered from enemy action to resume their full duties and activities as citizens, said that the Social Security Board would make the funds available but would not administer their distribution directly.

Following its usual procedure, he said, the Social Security Board has named the State Department of Social Welfare to act for it, and the latter in turn has appointed the City Welfare Department its agent. Where medical attention is needed, Mr. Kasius said, the United States Public Health Service will provide it, or will reimburse the local welfare department if it is more practicable for the latter to administer it.

The 248 Canadians on the Gripsholm will be placed on a special train and rushed to Montreal.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published December 1, 1943


Civilians Freed by Japanese Burst Into Song at Sight of Statue of Liberty


Overcrowding and Poor Food in Camps Described but Most Are Healthy After Voyage

Sun-tanned, healthy and ecstatically happy, but exceedingly reticent about many of their experiences, more than 1,000 of the 1,4401 passengers ― 1,222 Americans and' 217 Canadians—aboard the diplomatic exchange liner Gripsholm debarked yesterday after the 18,353-ton Swedish ship docked at Pier F, Jersey City.

Two hundred of the passengers were still on the ship late last night, awaiting the same exhaustive examination that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and officers of Army and Navy Intelligence already had given their companions. Navy press relations officers expressed hope they would all be cleared by midnight, but said that many of the passengers, including some already cleared, would voluntarily remain on the Gripsholm until this morning. An undisclosed number of those aboard were removed by the FBI to Ellis Island for further investigation. The officials in charge of the search were reluctant to discuss this aspect of the arrival, but it was recalled that when the exchange ship Drottningholm docked last June they found among the expatriates a man named Herbert Karl Friedrich Barr, who subsequently was convicted of espionage.

Canadians Take Sealed Train

The Canadians on the Gripsholm were among the first to land. By an agreement between the Canadian and the United States Governments they were escorted to buses which took them to a special train, which was sealed and guarded en route to prevent anyone from having access to them as they were speeding north to Montreal.

Joy at their safe arrival in this country and concern lest some careless remark might be carried back to their former jailers and infuriate the Japanese against the 6,800 Americans still remaining in the internment camps seemed to be the emotions most strongly felt by the hundreds who passed the gantlet of questioning and were permitted to land.

Their delight at their return, which prompted those on deck when the big liner passed the Statue of Liberty to burst spontaneously into "God Bless America," was visible in every countenance; from those of children of 3 or 4 to those of gray-haired missionaries who were back home after thirty, forty or more years in the East.

Others Remain Prisoners

But even though they were bobbling over with the sheer happiness born of freedom, it was evident that not for a minute did they forget their unfortunate former companions who are still at the mercy of the Japanese. As 9-year-old Suzanne Hazard of San Francisco put it when reporters and photographers clustered about her and her 6-year-old sister Joan:

"We can't tell you all of the things about the camp."

Before they were permitted to leave at least one of the internment camps, it was learned, some of those who arrived yesterday were sternly warned by Japanese officials not to criticize conditions upon their arrival here. This warning was reinforced by the injunctions of State Department officials on the Gripsholm, who are even now hoping to arrange another exchange and wish to avoid antagonizing Japanese officialdom.

Those who would tell about the camps at all gave almost unanimous testimony to the terrific overcrowding and the entire lack ...

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The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published December 2, 1943


Continued From Page One

... of privacy that marked them; to the poor quality of the food and the scantiness of medical supplies. But they also told of the gallant community efforts to make the 'best of their hard lot.

Majority in Good Health

Perhaps the most surprising feature of the debarkation was the glowing good health of the great majority of the arrivals. Many of them had put on from eight to twenty-five pounds during their, voyage on the Gripsholm, which began on Oct. 27 at Mormugao, Portuguese India. They had been bronzed by the tropical sun as they steamed peacefully through the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and north through the Atlantic.

Missionaries — with the 504 Protestants representing thirty-five denominations, and the 162 Catholics almost equally divided between priests and black-robed nuns — made up the largest group among the repatriates, but there also were many business men and their families, and a surprising number of Government officials who had failed of exchange on the Gripsholm's first trip last August.

The big Swedish Liner, her sides emblazoned with the blue and yellow Swedish flag and gigantic white letters that said : "Diplomat. Gripsholm Sverige," arrived at 8 A. M. yesterday at Quarantine, where she was boarded by representatives of the FBI, Army, Navy, the State Department, the United, States Public Health Service and the customs and immigration authorities.

An early morning mist hung over the Upper Bay as the big ship, her rails lined with eager passengers, moved toward the last stop on her 21,000-mile voyage. To Navy personnel and newspaper photographers who went down the bay in the crisp morning air, the Gripsholm seemed ghostly as she first loomed up through the fog.

Crowded on the after promenade deck were a mass of Americans, men, women and children, who began to sing "God Bless America" spontaneously when they caught their first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty on Bedloes Island. The melody was quickly taken up by those in other parts of the big vessel until it rang loud and clear across the waters of the bay.

It was 9:55 A. M. when the Gripsholm finally was berthed at Pier F of the American Export Line in Jersey City, but it was almost two hours before the first of the arrivals came down the gang plank. Navy press relations officers, however, brought out a few crumbs of information for the, small army of waiting reporters and photographers.

Red Cross Outfits Many

The American Red Cross, which, had been named by the State Department as the official relief agency for the occasion, took 20,000 pounds of clothing aboard the liner and outfitted many of the arrivals from head to toe. It also provided ambulances for a dozen stretcher cases among the homecoming men and women, and motor transportation for many others who were not in the best of health.

A staff of volunteer workers manned a Red Cross booth where the passengers, on debarking, were able to claim waiting letters and telegrams. Twenty thousand messages were on hand. The Red Cross also acted as the official agency for putting repatriates in touch with their families, who were not allowed on the pier by the State Department for reasons of security.

One of the largest gatherings of newspapers, radio and newsreel representatives in many years was waiting on the pier. In a section reserved for them by the Navy. Indicative of the widespread interest in the arrivals was the presence of reporters from many small and medium-size cities, such as Fargo, N. D., and Lincoln, Neb., which normally would not be directly represented at even the biggest news story in this city.

When at last the first few passengers were escorted by Navy public relations officers into the press section the reporters, who had been stamping impatiently on the cold stone floor of the barn-like pier, descended on the unfortunates in such numbers that it was impossible for anyone to get half a dozen coherent words from those being interviewed.

The confusion was so great that one veteran reporter remarked: "These people are going to go home and tell their friends that the atrocities began on their arrival in New York." Navy press relations officers tried vainly to maintain some semblance of order, but it was not until late in the afternoon, when the trickle of passengers had grown into a stream, that the situation improved.

8-Week-Old Baby Debarks

An eight-week-old baby, Gretchen Penelope Whitaker, with her older brother and sister, J. Paul and Andrea, and their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Whitaker of Apponaug, R. I., was among the first off the ship. Little Gretchen was born on Oct. 2 on the Japanese exchange ship Teia Maru, en route from the Far East to Mormugao, where the exchange took place.

At first the tiny youngster seemed contented, but after a long wait in the cold and draughty pier she began to protest audibly. A group of gold-braided Navy officers shielded her from view while her mother affected necessary replacements. One of them asked Mrs. Whitaker, a pretty young blond woman, how the baby had stood the trip.

"Listen to her squalling," she replied with a smile.

Claude A. Buss, 59, of Sunbury, Pa., who was executive assistant to Francis A. Sayre, the United States High Commissioner to the Philippines, was among the arrivals. He said that the United States must always maintain armed forces strong enough so that "the Japanese will never dare attack us again." However, he added that "we will have to learn to get along with Japan and they with us’. "We should not dominate them, because they will try to come forward again," he said. "Nobody likes to be suppressed. We must come to some friendly basis with them and allow them to keep their emperor, who is the basis of their national Life and Religion. No other form of government would be acceptable to them."

Says Japanese Are Confident

The Japanese people still believe that they are going to win the war, although their leaders may have begun to have their doubts, according to Carl Mydans, photographer for Life Magazine, who was on the Gripsholm with his wife, Shelley Smith Mydans. They were interned first at Santo Tomas University in Manila, and later in Shanghai. He said that food was bad and medical supplies scanty in both places.

"The average Japanese soldier is a little guy who thinks he's good," Mr. Mydans observed. "He has been told he's tough and he believes it."

He expressed his pride at the spirit with which the Americans confined in the internment camps have stood their hard lot and said that even the Japanese had commented on their organising ability and the way in which they have created a community life for themselves within prison walls.

An eyewitness of an incident resulting from the raid on Tokyo led by Maj. Gen. James A. Doolittle in April 1942, was among those on the Gripsholm. He was James R. Beasley of Savannah, Ga., an employee of the American Tobacco Company, who spent ten months in an internment camp.

He said that about a week after the B-25 bombers had raided the Japanese capital he saw a Japanese river boat going upstream past the camp where he was confined at Ning-po, China, about an overnight boat trip from Shanghai. It carried the wreckage of a B-25, he said, and two American fliers who were under heavy guard.

Royal Arch Gunnison, newspaper and radio correspondent who represented the Mutual Broadcasting System in Manila, said that Japanese propaganda was utilising to the fullest possible extent and with considerable success reports of disunity and labour troubles in the United States.

"The morale of the average Jap soldier today is good," Mr. Gunnison continued. "He doesn't learn of the losses on other fronts. They are always 'strategic withdrawals to shorten our lines.' In my opinion, the Jap is going to be hard to beat. He will be just as difficult as the German at his worst. The Japs are prepared for a hundred-year war."

Roy C. Bennett, managing editor of The Manila Bulletin, whose friends in this country had been fearful that something might have happened to him in the absence of any positive information, is alive and well, according to several of the repatriates, who reported that he is now confined in the Santo Tomas camp in Manila.

After fifty-six years' residence in China, Dr. John Calvin Ferguson, 77, of Newton, Mass., arrived here in the company of his daughter, Mary Esther Ferguson. He went to China originally as a missionary, but later turned to other fields and at the outbreak of the war was publishing the Chinese language newspaper Sin Wan Pao in Shanghai.

"It is going to be a long story before the war in the Pacific is over," he commented. "It depends a great deal on what happens in Europe. Japan went into the war with confidence in victory and the Japanese still think they can win,” Chinese are dying at the rate of 100 a day in the streets of Peiping, at present, according to Dr. Ferguson, and probably three times that many are dying daily in Shanghai. He said that the Japanese allow the bodies to accumulate until they can haul them away in cart loads.

On fifteen different occasions, the propaganda newspaper circulated by the Japanese among the Inmates of the Chapel camp at Shanghai reported that the United States Fleet had been annihilated, according to Mrs. Jessie F. Nichols of Los Angeles, who returned with her 12-year-old son Donald. Her husband, an insurance broker, is still in the camp. She said the diet there was very monotonous, consisting of fish, rice and cabbage. Many of those among yesterday's arrivals were not interned by the Japanese immediately after the outbreak of the war, but were permitted to keep their freedom, under observation, in various parts of occupied China, until late last winter and early last spring. One of these was W. T. Alexander, Far Eastern manager for the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company, who was at liberty for some months in Shanghai before being interned at Pootung Camp.

He was crowded into a single room with 126 other men, he said, … [to be continued]

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published December 2, 1943

... and in all 1,100 men were jammed into the camp, which occupied an abandoned tobacco warehouse across the Whangpo River from the Shanghai bund. He said that the food was very bad.

"Several times the men in the camp preferred to go hungry rather than eat the food that the camp kitchen was forced to serve," he said. "We got to thinking that the United States was not doing anything," he added. "Nobody doubted the outcome of the war, but it seemed that we were making awfully slow progress."

The Rev Montgomery Hunt Throop of Ithaca, N. Y., who was in Japan with the Episcopal Missions, seemed disinclined to discuss details of his stay in the Shanghai internment camp. Asked about conditions there he merely raised his hands and said "Oh gracious" and let it go at that. He said he thought he detected signs of discouragement among the Japanese before he left. He found the talk changing from confidence in victory to wonder about "What will we do if we lose this war?"

John F. Harris, an official for the Radio Corporation of America, who had spent eleven years in the Orient, regained, on the journey home, twelve of the eighteen' pounds he had dropped during internment. He told of the lack of mail, except local Ietters, and said he found the Japanese exchange ship somewhat crowded. There was plenty of room for all, though, on the Gripsholm. He looked fit. Mrs. Katherine Holt Walter, who was born in Shanghai, was anxious about her husband, a sergeant of United States Marines. She saw him for the last time on Dec. 4, 1941, three days before Pearl Harbor and heard later that he was on Corregidor. There has been no word from him since, so far as she knows. Mrs. Walter was seized by the Japanese in Manila. She was on her way to Forest Hills in Queens to meet her husband's parents for the first time.

Edgar S. Wise of Stowe, Pa. who was district passenger agent for the American President Line in Shanghai, had spent seven months in the Chapei prison camp. He was seized on the President Benjamin Harrison. Mr. Wise warned that "the Japanese make a formidable enemy and that their morale holds’. He said he was not mistreated, but that food was inadequate. He lost thirty pounds at Chapel, but regained ten on the Gripsholm. Isaac Sasson, lace importer, whose home is at 1926 Sixty-fifth street in Brooklyn, was aboard with his wife and their three children. They were taken at Shanghai and spent several months at Chapei, sharing a hut with two other families. Jackie, 10, aria Maurice, 14, recalled one bright hour on the Japanese exchange ship. It was when the Japanese permitted them to listen in on the World Series. The Japanese followed the games with keen interest and seemed to approve when the Yanks won.

The New York Times
Copyright © The New York Times
Originally published December 2, 1943

[further reading:]

- LIFE Magazine .... [click here]

- from Donald Menzi's scrapbooks: .... [click here]

- 1943-The_voyage_of_the_gripsholm.pdf .... [click here]