go to home page

... the most recent messages are on top !

De : L PR
Envoyé : dimanche 30 mars 2014 17:26
À : HagenChristopher
Cc : Janette & home
Objet : Re: Hello Leopold

Hi Christopher,

Maybe that you have already noticed ...
Weihsien-paintings' website:
Books chapter, click on "shantung compound"
and then on the moving pictogram:

There is a list with the real names and the fictive ones !!
it is a good book ...

all the best,

De : L PR
Envoyé : dimanche 30 mars 2014 17:19
À : sipabit ; Christopher Hagen
Cc : Janette & home ; de Jongh ; angelalousia@yahoo.ca
Objet : Re: B-29

Hi Ted,

Yes, that is quite correct.

Father Hanquet liked to tell me the story of how he was a Roman Soldier and that they painted his legs with iodine tincture and that his costume was made of a multitude of tin cans !! Ha! Ha! He always laughed heartily ... and that the roar of the lion was Father deJaegher’s voice.
Funny, he always came back to Androclès and the Lion !!

Father Hanquet would have been 100 this year ...

bien amicalement,

De : HagenChristopher
Envoyé : dimanche 30 mars 2014 15:44
À : tapol@live.be
Objet : Hello Leopold

Thanks for all your help.
I changed the B29 part.
My website is free access and non commercial, but I will contact Kim Smith now and make sure she's ok with the one sketch I included.
I see also the pic is also Smith's, So I will ask about that as well.

Anne deJongh sent it to me, but it's in his online collection.

\\Am reading Shantung Compound atm, very interesting read… will change that in the story as well.

C.S. Hagen

De : sipabit
Envoyé : dimanche 30 mars 2014 14:18
À : L PR ; Christopher Hagen
Cc : Janette & home ; de Jongh ; angelalousia@yahoo.ca
Objet : Re: B-29

Yes I believe I mentioned that as well. Leopold, my memory is telling me the planes on which we flew back were either C-46 or C-47.
The B-29s were used to drop food.

Wow, wasn’t Fr. deJaegher the “voice” of the Lion?

De : L PR
Envoyé : dimanche 30 mars 2014 12:05
À : Christopher Hagen
Cc : Janette & home ; Teddy Pearson ; de Jongh
Objet : B-29

Dear Christopher,

Thanks for your text ...

Nobody flew back to Tientsin on a B-29 as you mention in your text. It most certainly is a C-47 ... (Could you correct this !)
B-29s are exclusively military planes ... bombers ! ... civilians excluded !!

Father “Darby” as you mention, is in fact: Father Scanlan

and also an excellent résumé in Father deJaegher’s book:

Oh! Yes,

The sketches and photos of William A. Smith are by Courtesy of his daughter, Kim Smith. (Have a look at her blog on the Weihsien-paintings’ website)


The photo of the wall with Anne deJongh also comes from William A. Smith ...

Maybe you could send her a message to let her know ... pascin727@gmail.com and make sure that she has no “objection” for using her father’s sketches and photos on your blog !
I don’t know much about copyright laws but I do know that is is sometimes very complicated and not the same in every country or state !!!

As long as your blog is “free access” and “non commercial” ... I shouldn’t worry too much !

Hope you manage,
... all the best,

De : L PR
Envoyé : dimanche 30 mars 2014 11:19
À : Angela
Cc : Janette & home
Objet : Re: The Weihsien Story - ** nice to know how your started I remember

Dear Angela,

The two e-mail addresses are OK ... they arrive at the same place.
Glad you like the “I-Remember” work 😀

I still have Leonard’s e-mail address thought it is quite a long time I haven’t had any news from him. mostaert@hinet.net.au and his “snail-mail-address”:


“The Pines”
Penrose NSW 2579

... all the best,

From: Angela
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2014 9:22 AM
To: L PR
Subject: Re: The Weihsien Story - ** nice to know how your started I remember
9929 an Sun Mar 30

Hi Leopold, .

For some reason - I couldnt log on Topica .. but your Website - reading about what people submitted is truely wonderful . Its is really an excellent account of the experiences of the children - I havent had the chance to read it all but definitely will . What a brain wave to .. just publish what was written without names. & yes publishing can be experience. It must have helped you to come to gripes with the past to record what others said hope so but you/ve done such a terrific job . .. Mary Privite advised to log on to Topica but it didnt work for me .. Think your sister wrote very well & I will e mail her too .. to commend her on what she's written .. Anyways you/ve been a great help to Chris .... so many years later .. people have no idea .... do you remember Leonard Mostaert ?? His father Belgian & mother Russian - his dad worked with mine at the Credit Foncier ... they had a big house British concession while we always lived in Credit foncier flats I ping bldg & later Belfran bldg next to the bridge. Of course his father was a few steps above my Dad ... as well but Leonard was in school with my brother ... I met him later in Sydney ...


ps Notice I have 2 emails for you - which shd I use tapol@liebe or the other?

From: L PR
To: Angela
Cc: Janette & home
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2014 9:29:58 AM
Subject: Re: The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen*** Yes good corrections

Dear Angela,

It was just an idea I had at a certain moment.

I was just learning MS-Publisher at the moment and thought that it would be a good idea to make a book about Weihsien. I had the “pictures” and the text ... everybody wrote on “Topica” ... all sorts of things about Weihsien and as I didn’t feel like asking for copy write permissions ... I didn’t put any names on it and just began every paragraph or “idea” with ... “I-Remember”. At the end of the book, I listed all the names ...

I didn’t want to edit a book (and make a business out of it) so, I just made a *.pdf-file and free for you to print it or not. Later on, I found a publisher who could print a book ‘(or “album”) on a one shot basis. Quite expensive though ... but it is worth it !!


The title is: “The Children of Weihsien” and there are – so far – a little less than 300 pages !! – 2 volumes!

... all the best,

From: Angela
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2014 10:21 AM
To: L PR
Subject: Re: The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen*** Yes good corrections
0220 am Sat mar 29

Hi Leopold,

What is the I rememer book - is that referring to your website?? gather I am one of those readers.... who doesnt know of it. Yes of course he shud use your first name Leopold - that makes sense ... or Leopold Pander ... I/ve asked him to forward what people wrote to him as I/m intersted. somehow I felt I missed out - cannot give him any of my impressions except what I heard from my mother ... but at least I was spared any hardship being an infant & even later with no recollection being so young. Yes memory doesnt go back that far. Think I can only remember perhaps over 3 yrs old in Peitaiho.. must have been 4 yrs - those were good memories ... donkey rides on the beach ... we lived next to the bungalow where my Uncle Paul splingaerd & his family lived .. I remember Renee most of all well actually not so much but have photos of her in the their bongalow... but hikes to Western hills with the Mostaerts ..... Leonard &^ his Russian mother - I didnt want to walk that far. However , nothing of Weishien .

Did I tell you that a gal called Magda often came & took me around ... she probably had nothing much to do & I was with her the day the parachuters came & the gates opened ... my mother never worried as the placed was enclosed ..so I was with Magda that day & met her in 2005 ... she married a Canadian & came with her two sons...

angela ...

De : sipabit
Envoyé : samedi 29 mars 2014 21:59
À : HagenChristopher ; Angela Cox Elliott ; A. Knuppe ; tapol_(Skynet) ; Pierre Ley ; rwbridge@freeuk.com ; Mary Previte
Objet : Re: The story…

I am not clear on the "target" for this story. However, I do know I have not given any permission to print my photo. I am not certain about copy right law in North Dakota, but around here one asks first. Ted.

De : HagenChristopher
Envoyé : samedi 29 mars 2014 21:14
À : Angela Cox Elliott ; A. Knuppe ; tapol_(Skynet) ; Pierre Ley ; rwbridge@freeuk.com ; Mary Previte ; sipabit
Objet : The story…

Hello everyone,

Here is the story -- http://www.cshagen.com/courtyard-of-the-happy-way-tientsin-at-war-part-ix/

I can't thank you all enough for your help, your memories, photos and time. Although I am a younger generation of Tientsiner, growing up in Tianjin in the 1980s, there are so many fascinating stories and characters from Tianjin that most my age and younger know nothing about. Even the expats living in Tianjin today, walk the streets in complete cluelessness as to the history of Tianjin. Shamefully, I might add, but that's just my two cents. Thanks to you all, some of those older stories have come to life through my website, and in Weihsien-Paintings. The story is finished, and I know there are many details that I simply cannot add without turning the story into a book, but I will be spending a lot more time reading Leopold Pander's website, and the books and short stories there. Although I have one more story to do after this one, I have to take a little break for a while from my website, to edit my second book, and begin - again - my third novel…

I hope you all have an excellent time at the reunion next year. One day I plan to visit Weihsien (Weifang), and I will remember you all when I do. 😀

C.S. Hagen

De : L PR
Envoyé : samedi 29 mars 2014 17:29
À : Angela
Cc : Janette & home
Objet : Re: The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen*** Yes good corrections

Dear Angela,

It was just an idea I had at a certain moment.

I was just learning MS-Publisher at the moment and thought that it would be a good idea to make a book about Weihsien. I had the “pictures” and the text ... everybody wrote on “Topica” ... all sorts of things about Weihsien and as I didn’t feel like asking for copy write permissions ... I didn’t put any names on it and just began every paragraph or “idea” with ... “I-Remember”. At the end of the book, I listed all the names ...

I didn’t want to edit a book (and make a business out of it) so, I just made a *.pdf-file and free for you to print it or not. Later on, I found a publisher who could print a book ‘(or “album”) on a one shot basis. Quite expensive though ... but it is worth it !! http://weihsien-paintings.org/I_Remember/ALBUM/p_Book.htm

The title is: “The Children of Weihsien” and there are – so far – a little less than 300 pages !! – 2 volumes!

... all the best,

From: Angela
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2014 10:21 AM
To: L PR
Subject: Re: The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen*** Yes good corrections
0220 am Sat mar 29

Hi Leopold,

What is the I rememer book - is that referring to your website?? gather I am one of those readers.... who doesnt know of it. Yes of course he shud use your first name Leopold - that makes sense ... or Leopold Pander ... I/ve asked him to forward what people wrote to him as I/m intersted. somehow I felt I missed out - cannot give him any of my impressions except what I heard from my mother ... but at least I was spared any hardship being an infant & even later with no recollection being so young. Yes memory doesnt go back that far. Think I can only remember perhaps over 3 yrs old in Peitaiho.. must have been 4 yrs - those were good memories ... donkey rides on the beach ... we lived next to the bungalow where my Uncle Paul splingaerd & his family lived .. I remember Renee most of all well actually not so much but have photos of her in the their bongalow... but hikes to Western hills with the Mostaerts ..... Leonard &^ his Russian mother - I didnt want to walk that far. However , nothing of Weishien .

Did I tell you that a gal called Magda often came & took me around ... she probably had nothing much to do & I was with her the day the parachuters came & the gates opened ... my mother never worried as the placed was enclosed ..so I was with Magda that day & met her in 2005 ... she married a Canadian & came with her two sons...

cheers angela ...

De : L PR
Envoyé : samedi 29 mars 2014 10:03
À : HagenChristopher
Cc : Janette & home
Objet : Re: The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen

Dear Christopher,

Hi !
After a night’s sleep, a few things come back to me ...

At a moment, in your text, you use the word “chapel”. In my understanding, a chapel is very small ... What do you think about the word “assembly hall” ? All the religions could use that space ... big enough for everybody !

The word “anonymous” .... Could you replace that by – for example – “from the I-Remember-Book” or: “quoted in the “I-Remember-Book” or something like that ... If one of your readers doesn’t know what the “I-Remember-Book” is ... he can ask !!

Oh! Yes! instead of writing “Pander” ... can’t you just write: “Leopold”. ... To my knowledge, there was only one “Leopold” in camp (except for my father who had the same Christian name).

I’m glad that my sister finally wrote to you ... she remembers Weihsien quite well !
... all the best,

De : HagenChristopher [mailto:c.s.hagen@icloud.com]
Envoyé : vendredi 28 mars 2014 17:40
À : Pierre Ley
Objet : Re: Weihsien, from Janette

Thank you Mrs. Pander!

I have added some of this information to the story. Much appreciated. I will look up Hulme's book as I am hungry for all information about old Tientsin that I can find.

What a time that must have been, such fascinating historical drama that ended so many things - good and bad - depending on how you look.

If I have any more questions, or if there are any memories you would like to add, just contact me. My bio info is on my website - www.cshagen.com but if you want to know more about me, please feel free…

Thanks again!
C.S. Hagen


Ven 28-03-14 17:36

Hey Leopold,

Have been adding more color to the story since yesterday, including everything from rat's head prizes to eggshells, and your sister contacted me with some interesting information.

Here is one anonymous quote:
According to an anonymous report in the Weihsien-Paintings website, a young internee at the time remembered Liddell’s burial service.

“I remember that grey winter day, when a bedraggled procession of children in threadbare, outgrown overcoats followed the coffin of our beloved “Uncle Eric” to the small camp graveyard. Our legs were bear in the bitter cold; our woolen stockings were the first things to wear out, and trousers were not part of our wardrobe in those days… As we followed the pallbearers on the frozen ground, one of them, my brother Norman Cliff, the cheap coffin creaked and groaned: would it hold together until they reached the grave? It did, and no one else knew of their distress.”

Many young internees learned new card games or played marbles, while the more adventurous young held rat, bedbug and fly catching contests. According to an anonymous report in the Weihsien-Paintings website, a young boy won the fly catching contest with a count of 3,500 neatly counted flies in a bottle.

Another anonymous post in the Weihsien-Paintings website says, “I believe that is why I look back on Weihsien with joy – I believe it molded me and the adults who kept us entertained beautifully and we did not feel like we lacked – we all ate the glop so what difference did it make? I didn’t feel needy or forlorn because there were so many people building us up and keeping us going.”

(Also have caught a couple grammatical mistakes, and a couple issues such as B-24 not B-29, etc…) Lots and lots of detail to this story. Thank you!
C.S. Hagen

On Mar 28, 2014, at 4:28 AM, L PR wrote:

Dear Christopher,

Many thanks for your text about Weihsien ...
Just that it is a B-24 that liberated us (not B-29)

http://weihsien-paintings.org/The7Magnificent/photos/p_ArmoredAngel.htm and
that we were evacuated on C-47s (and not B-29s)

As for the “anonymous quotations” from the “I-Remember books” ... let me know if you want the names ... I should be able to find them !!

Best regards,

De : Pierre Ley
Envoyé : vendredi 28 mars 2014 16:18
À : c.s.hagen@icloud.com
Objet : Weihsien, from Janette

Dear Chris,

I’ve read through your Weihsien Story draft and liked it very much. Please feel free to use any text in my name from my brother’s web-site.

I remember much of my life in camp, viewed by a 4 to 7 y.old girl. All my memories are of a personal kind, or would only be a repeat of all that has already been said.

Of course the children in Weihsien lived through very exceptional times, experiences were diverse, felt and understood differently through our varying ages.

Perhaps most of us still have a time-warp-short-cut to camp, a sort of “Madeleine de Proust”, a color, sight or smell, an object an event, like peanut butter for me, as I loved tasting the sticky mush as my mother ground peanuts brought in from “outside” I remember the small room, the four-squared window, the light flowing through, the wooden door, and my baby sister in her cot! She was born in camp… Well….

I very much liked Desmond Powers’ book as well as Pamela Masters’ … others too, have you read “Tientsin” by David C. Hulme ? (cf amazon) As an adult I’ve tried to find all I could about the Pacific War, other experiences lived by children in other camps. We were very “lucky” in Weihsien to have been held in Northern China-Japanese Territory, and kept by consular police as well as the military. In my memory KingKong Bushido was a laugh, a kind of bogey man. Of course the Japanese were our captors and we felt that very well! But many were very kind in a personal way. After all we were all stuck in the middle of nowhere with the Chinese civil war surrounding us. I only felt the danger of our situation through my parents’ angst.

Perhaps a good psychiatrist will one day come up with a good idea: studying the extraordinary resilience of Allied children in all of the Concentration Camps of the Pacific WWarII.

Being back in Tientsin wasn’t easy at all, we were helped by French friends who had declared themselves “Vichyists” I had my first real meal at their house: plates, knives, forks, spoons to the right, napkins (!!) Some kind of crinkly green stuff (salad) bathed in oil, uneatable, rabbit meat, what’s a rabbit? I found out and pushed my plate away.

We could at last go home to our apartment in the Belgian Bank, at a corner of the Victoria Road next to Leopold Building. Our boy Tchen welcomed us back, I don’t remember if our Catholic amah Therese was still there. Our apartment was just empty space, everything had been taken away, no tables, chairs, piano, curtains… the fleeing Japanese?...

So we, as so many others, started our life all over again.

My mother (and Leopold’s!) was White Russian, she had an interesting life, I’ll write about that …

All the best,
Janette Ley Pander

De : sipabit
Envoyé : vendredi 28 mars 2014 14:18
À : Angela ; Chris Hagen ; pander41@skynet.be
Objet : Re: Weishien *** more

I don’t know Gilkey at all.

I could be wrong about the name Scanlon. IIRC there is a list of names in Leo’s web site. However, as I saw him myself one time, he did indeed get his eggs through a hole in the bottom of the wall, but when a guard would pass by, he would squat over the eggs and pretend to be defecating. The time I saw him, the guard threw him an empty cigarette package, presumably for cleaning purposes. IIRC the breast plates were not soldered together but clinched.

I remember being a “devil” in one play, chosen mostly for an ability to turn cartwheels. I wore a hat which had tow red horns sewn on to it. Cannot remember the name of the play. 😁

From: Angela
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 3:32 AM
To: Chris Hagen ; Ted Pearson ; pander41@skynet.be
Subject: Fw: Weishien *** more
2330 pm thurs mar 27


Quote from Shantung Compound Noel Coward.s Hayfever & James Barrie's Mr Pym Passes by a hair raising pruduction of Night Must fall & a most hilarious Private Lives. Also other dramatic plays Gilkey says ** The culminations of this dramatic development was reached in June 194, when a full scale performance of Shaw.'s Androcles & the Lion was stage with 3 complete stage sets a full scale lion made of cloth & cardbord, and armour & helmets for 10 Roman guards soldered together our of tin cans from the REd Cross parcels. There was a choral society which sang Handel's Messiah . Stainers The Crucifixion, Mendelssohn's Elijah & others.....

This is just an fyi from Gilkey's book ... another .... TEd accord to Gilkey the trappist monk was Father Darby ... Quote the most successful & certainly the most intriguing of the cleriical egg runners was a small , bespectacled Trappist monk name Father Darby. The strict rules of his order against speaking at any time were temporary lifted so that these monks cud work with the rest of us. Thus Father Darby was able to tell us a good deal about his life as a Trappist Monk for 26 years. For that quarter of a century prior to coming to camp. he had not spoken more than 3 or 4 words to any living soul. A charming friendly little man while he was with us he more than made up for lost time. He wud talk by the hour with anyone who would listen to him.. I am sure he was a devout Trappist but one summer evening I came to realize he had many other facets to his personality. Passing by one of the camp's more elegant patios, I saw a group sampling o By -gar. In their midst was Father Darby - dressed in a * secular* white summer formal - replete with white jacket, black jacket & trousers - and regaling that fashionable audience with his Irish stories.humour .

Father Darby had a seemingly foolproof method of receiving eggs undectected. In an obscure corner of the wall about a foot above the ground he had pried loose a few bricks. He wud kneel down at this spot & pull the eggs thru the hole as a Chinese farmer pushed them from the other side. If a guard happened along, two Trappist friends down the line wud begin a Gregorian chant.

At this signal Darby would quickly cover the eggs with his long monk's robe and , already on his knees be deep in prayer by the time the guard reached him . He kept up this practice for two or three months without being caught. Some of the guards were apparently more than a little afraid of these *holy men * with their massive beards & LONG ROBES. BUT FINALLY one day a guard lifted Father Darby/s robe as he kneldt by the wall. to his surprise & the monk's embarrassement , he found one hundred & fifty eggs nestling there. Whatever the guards may have thought of the occult powers of Western holy men , they certainly never gave them credit for being able to lay eggs....

Father Darby was whished off to the guardhouse. The first trail of camp life began. The camp awaited the outcome of the trail with bated breath... we were fearful that this charming Trappist might be shot or at bestst tortured. For two days, the chief of police reviewed all the evidence on the charge of black marketing which was to say the least, conclusive, At the end of the elaborate trail, the chief announced his stern verdict. First he said that because he was determined to stamp out the black market , he wud have to make an example of Father Darby ,, adding parenthetically that it pained him * to punish a man of the cloth *. The camp heard this proncement with a shudder . And so, said the chief he was going to sentence Father DArby to one and a half months of solitary confinement . the Japanese looked baffled when the camp greeted this news| with a howl of delight., and shook their head wonderling as the little Trappist was led to his new cell joyously singing.

One petty officier who was for a period of the guards seemed to us perfectly to incarnate these unlovely traits... (Mad ravings feet stamping kicking at available furniture flail his arms threateningly - all for no apparent reason) . Short, powerful with a square head & ha heavily whiskered chin - he was| the Japanese equivalent of the classic Western Drill sergeant, Seeiming every time anyone in camp was doing something that looked as though it might be fun., like sunning himself in a bathing suite or holding some lady's hand this officer wud appar on the scene & bellow out the familiar Chinese words ppp * Boshing- de * which means You cant do it .... the result was that everyone came to call this pompous little man Sergeant Bo-s hing de .... Often you wud see his squat form strutting along a camp street, surrounded, like a horse with gnats by a throng of small children/ they wud hop up and down & yell at the top of their lungs ** Sergeant Bo-shing de** Needless to say he. didnt appreciate this regular reception & so apparently , in what must have been an interesting scene, he asked the commandant to do something about it. But how does one get children to stop yelling a name - short of shooting them. to cut it short - a notice was put to that from then on he was to be called Sergeant Yomiara. by decree of the Emperor. However Gilkey relates he had another side - Laurence Turner of Yenching Univ 65 yrs a scholar had come to know some the guard very well. He has asked & recd permission to to sleep outside in his camp cot., There dressed in his Chinese gown & sipping his tea - he frequently chatted with the guards as they made their rounds. He also ran his daily mile around the inside of the camp. early in the morning. this feat so impressed the age - venerating Japanese that they frequently told others they respected him more than they did any other internee.

Much to his surprise Laurance was invited to have tea one day in bo -Singh-de's quarters a large bedroom in one of the mission homes in the walled - of section of the compound. When he entered the drill seageant's room - Laurance could hardly believe his eyes. Decorated by the seageant| himself It was furnished in the most artistic Japanese taste, illustrating utter simplicity a remarkable sense of harmonious sense of space & a painstaking attention to detail., At the focal point of the room complimented by a pair of classical flower arrangements , was a little home shrine to the sergeart's samurai god . ..

anyways Gilkey wrote some interesting aspects of the camp ... - thought I'd share with you if you havent read the book ..

cheers angela

De : sipabit
Envoyé : vendredi 28 mars 2014 00:53
À : c.s.hagen@icloud.com
Cc : angelalousia@yahoo.ca ; pander41@skynet.be ; Mary Previte
Objet : Re: The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen ** what do you think??

“she returned to visit her birthplace for the first time in 1996. “ She was not born at that time. She returned in 2005. and was born in 1943. Ted You have to check your facts more diligently, I think before I agree to supply you with more detail.


From: Angela
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2014 3:13 PM
To: Ted Pearson
Subject: Fw: The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen ** what do you think??
1215 pm thurs mar 27


have asked him to change my return to 2005 - he's confused with the Tientsin reunion ... accord to Gilkey Shantung compound... there were 250 Italians who came from Shangai ..

if there 's anything you want to add about yourself let him know but use cshagen@gmail.com as my msgs to his other email haven't reached him

cheers angela

De : sipabit
Envoyé : jeudi 27 mars 2014 21:21
À : c.s.hagen@icloud.com
Cc : angelalousia@yahoo.ca ; pander41@skynet.be
Objet : Weishien


This is Ted Pearson, older cousin of Angela.
I was 7+ when I went in. She sent me your rough draft which I found interesting.

First of all I hope that you do not mind the comments, unsolicited as they are. I put them down as they occur to me.

The major error I saw was that the plane that liberated us was a B-24, not a B-29. I have a “painting” of the parachute drop. The B-29s came later with the food drops. Lots to talk about there. I was one of the first out of the gates and was the first to meet Peter Orlick. It was an interesting meeting. 😀

My Dad was a corporal in the militia. I remember him burning his uniform. We lived in the British Concession but as an RC I went to school in the French Concession.

This of course stopped and I had to change to the British Grammar school and start learning latin.

You should have some description of the “cultural” life in the camp. Many plays were put on, my Dad Frank, acted in GBS’ Androcles and the Lion. (The lion’s roar was a priest (whose name I forget)[ndlr: Father Raymond deJaegher] who roared into a huge (victrola type horn).

He, my Dad, also danced in a ballet with Betty Lambert, related to Desmond Powers.

There were classes given for drawing, my mother and father took these lessons and there is art work available, some of which I still have. Some copies I gave to the museum (sic) at Weifang when we returned in 2005.

There was music, with oratorios such as the Messiah, mostly led by Percy Gleed. My mother and father sang in these.

There was softball, mens and womens teams. catholic children had their first communions, and the nuns, mostly Americans, made all the gear for the rituals. Somewhere my ex-wife has (or used to have) all that stuff.

The Black market’s principal marketer was Fr. Scanlon (?), an Australian Trappist, who decided to speak because he was the only one. However, when he was caught (another good story) he was confined to a cell and promptly started his ritual, matins vespers, etc at all hours, so the Japanese released him.

The children all worked. My late brother mended shoes, the library was in the same bldg. I did a lot of reading. I did a wake-up bell tour for the first day’s rollcall, once a week.

We had a swat the flies contest and the winner got a rat’s skull.

We regularly stole coal from the Japanese compound. Food included eggplant... it was when I was well into my 40s before I could eat one again.

Everyone had a job, my mother was a dishwasher, my Dad a stoker.

Cesspools were cleaned out by the Chinese who were allowed in with a donkey/mule pulled wooden tank truck. They ladled the sewage into the tank.

After the escape, IIRC the camp committee negotiated the X-ray machine from the city in order to promise to not allow any more escapes.

I remember Mrs de Jong (is that the mother of your contact?) who I think had quite a few children including one Henrietta. I had a major crush on her. Mrs de Jong would fry up cheese sandwiches when she got the makings, it was like manna from heaven.

Any how you should check some of these details (and provide a translation for tsao ni mama ROTFL) One family, the Marshall’s lived in our block and I believe they were Americans and she spoke Japanese.

People traded work. My Dad made chairs, for a stove, built of bricks with a biscuit tin oven.

Do not forget the eggshells. The camp committee decided that to prevent rickets the children should get powdered egg shell. 1 tbspn each child. All egg shells were saved for this purpose. UGH!

I know I never got rickets. After liberation the camp changed a lot. The Americans wired the camp up with loud speakers. To this day I still remember the song Oh what a beautiful morning and this is the army Mr. Jones.

Anyhow, do your due D. Contact me any time.

De : HagenChristopher Envoyé : jeudi 27 mars 2014 17:12 À : A. Knuppe ; tapol_(Skynet) ; Angela Cox Elliott ; rwbridge@freeuk.com ; Mary Previte
Objet : The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen

The Weihsien Story -- The Weihsien Story - by C.S. Hagen - [rough draft, please let me know of accuracy in your quotes etc.. (Or anything you might want to add) Thank you all! pictures, of course, not included]

By C.S. Hagen

TIENTSIN, CHINA – Colonial rule in Tientsin ended with three whimpers. The first was one of Tientsin’s most heart-stirring days, according to historian, author and Tientsin native Desmond Powers.

English military battalions such as the Lancashire Fusiliers, the Sixteenth Colonial Infantry and platoons of the British Volunteer Defense Corps lined the streets to bid US troops goodbye.

“And here they come,” Powers wrote in his book Little Foreign Devil, “the band crashing out Stars and Stripes Forever. Then the men, nine hundred strong, marching shoulder-to-shoulder, grinning sheepishly at the ovation. And a deafening ovation it is with all that shouting and cheering and handclapping and firecrackers. Women break through our cordon and fling themselves on their departing sweethearts.”

By 1938, one year after Japan’s invasion of China began, the situation in Tientsin had become untenable, according to the Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs Walter Adams. The US Army Fifteenth Infantry was withdrawn from Tientsin and was replaced by a token force of US Marines.

“It’s all over…” Desmond Powers wrote. “The crowd filters away. A breeze disperses the lingering wafts of burnt powder, but it will be hours before the sweepers deal with the litter of spent firecrackers.”

The second whimper came two years later and “without notice, without fanfare, without the roll of a single drum, the beep of a single fife.” With war raging in Europe, Great Britain called its colonial troops home. British troops marched for the last time north on Victoria Road, laid in part with bricks from Tientsin’s old “Celestial City” wall, demolished after the Boxer Uprising in 1900.

“For the first time since its inception in 1863, the concession was without the protection of the Imperial Army,” Powers wrote. No one truly thought colonial life would ever end, much like the Edwardian Era; the good life would last forever.

But mayhem reigned. Chinese protests of the Unfair Treaties threatened British Commerce. Japan blockaded Tientsin’s port. Policemen went on strike. Opium and heroin were available on every street corner.

The yellow emergency flag replaced the Union Jack on the topmast of Gordon Hall, Tientsin’s political center and formidable castle, which to the Chinese was a symbol of colonial domination. Gordon Hall, built in 1890 in commemoration of General Charles Gordon, was torn down due to damage after the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake.

The third whimper came a year later. Only a handful of poorly trained British Volunteer Defense Corps were left to defend Tientsin’s remaining foreign residents, numbering approximately 750 resident enemies of Japan. Many of the French had gone “Vichy;” the Germans and Italians were allied with Japan; the White Russians and Jews were predominantly stateless.

To avoid confrontation, ammunition was confiscated, according to Powers. His thirty-seven-member-group in charge of defending the British Bund had empty clips. On December 8, 1941, which due to the international time difference was the same day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the Island Dwarfs – a Chinese derogatory term for Japanese soldiers – also poured into Tientsin’s British Concession.

By March 1942, enemies of Japan, which included Great Britain, Greece, the Dutch, Spanish, Danish and the United States, even Eurasians were paraded from Victoria Park and down Victoria Road.

“Among those being jostled about by the arrogant Japanese were agents for large American oil, auto, and tobacco companies, British shipping magnates, and representative of banks of all nations, who traded in the Far East for a century,” Pamela Masters wrote in her autobiography The Mushroom Years. Although Masters was not born in Tientsin, her family had lived and worked in China for three generations.

Everyone, Masters wrote, from the youngest infant to the oldest shipping magnate, wore the “demeaning” red arm band, with the character ying, the symbol for England, which ironically also means hero, emblazoned for all to see.

Mary Previte, who is now an American and a noted speaker on life as a child during World War II in China, was from Chefoo. Taken from school she was separated for nearly four years from her parents and imprisoned at the Courtyard of the Happy Way in Weihsien, now Weifang, Shandong Province. She spoke at the Sixtieth Anniversary celebration of the Weihsien Concentration Camp on August 17, 2005, remembering her arrest vividly.

“They brought a Shinto priest to the ball field of our school,” Previte said. “He conducted a ceremony that said our school now belonged to the Great Emperor of Japan. They pasted paper seals on the furniture, seals on the pianos, seals on the equipment – Japanese writing that said all this now belonged to the Great Emperor of Japan. Then they put seals on us – armbands.

“We belonged to the Emperor, too.”

Despite the incessant turmoil in Tientsin before World War II, not one local Tientsiner cheered the foreign exodus while they were marched at gunpoint to the train station. Third class carriages waited to transport all enemies of Japan to concentration camps, known as “civil assembly centers.” Masters remembered her family’s coolie servant, named Jung-ya, running up and offering to carry their heavy suitcases.

“They [Master’s parents] smiled their thanks, and without thinking, handed their suitcases over to him. A soldier rushed up out of nowhere and hit Jung-ya across the head with his rifle butt. As he fell to the ground, the guard snatched the two cases from his unresisting hands and shoved them at Mother and Dad, shouting and waving his rifle and stamping his foot.

“The message was clear to all who witnessed the incident.”

Masters and her family were also sent to Weihsien’s the “Courtyard of the Happy Way.”

Powers was tricked into believing he was en route to a ship for India, but landed in the Pootung Camp, a tobacco godown, or warehouse, in Shanghai before being herded to the Lunghua Civil Assembly Center. He was later transferred north to Weihsien, where he was reunited with his family and 1,540 other internees.

While en route to his first prison, Powers walked the “White Man’s ultimate humiliation” along the wide esplanades of the Far East’s banking capital. Japanese strategists declared themselves saviors of China for ridding the cities of “Roundeyes,” and Japanese soldiers fully expected the Chinese to ridicule the Western prisoners along the way.

Not one Chinese uttered a single insult, Powers wrote. Despite repeated attempts to banish the foreigner from their country, Chinese onlookers were strangely quiet.

“No insults thrown, no jeers, no catcalls. A sea of silent poker faces saw us onto the waiting tender.”


WEIHSIEN, CHINA – Anne Knüppe-de Jongh was twelve-years-old and a student at St. Joseph’s High School in Tientsin’s French Concession when she was “arrested” by Japanese soldiers.

For fifteen months following Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, she lived in fear with her parents and siblings in Tientsin. As Dutch citizens, she was forced to wear the identifying red armband. Barbed wire barricades and Japanese soldiers handling Arisaka rifles separated the concessional areas.

“My parents were very troubled,” Knüppe-de Jongh said. “They dreaded an internment.” Her father was a manager for the Holland-China Trading Co.

Before the war began however, her life was filled with pleasant memories, of fancy dress parties, pond skating in winter, playgrounds and horse racing. Every five years her family would travel by sea or by the Siberian Railway home to Europe, and her summers in China were spent vacationing at Peitaiho (Beidaihe). The life her parents provided was of a style no one thought could end, and when the good life was taken, it was shattered with the ferocity of a Gobi sand storm.

Ron Bridge, an Englishman, was born into the British Concession at Tientsin. His family’s history in China dates to 1885, when his grandfather Albert Henry Bridge acted as an interpreter during the post Boxer Uprising negotiations in 1900. He was nine-years-old when he became an enemy of Japan and was sent to the Courtyard of the Happy Way.

“Just could not get out of the house facing a Japanese machine gun,” Bridge said. “Movement was restricted with night curfew, but one could walk about with a red armband in Tientsin.” His father and uncle were directors of Pottinger & Co., among other projects a real estate company established in the late nineteenth century. Being bilingual he knew the red armband was also a symbol of bravery, or “elite,” which “really got up the Japanese noses,” he said.

The noose tightened. Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere began with blitzkrieg speed at Pearl Harbor, simultaneously spreading south over Asia’s islands and west across China’s provinces.

Great Britain’s defeats spurred a sense of failure in some colonialist men, overturning their self-image of the dynamic, colonial, indefatigable male. According to one account written by Bernice Archer called The Internment of Western Civilians Under the Japanese 1941-1945, many Western men were disheartened.

“There we were literally reduced to our bare selves. We no longer had about us the aura of our offices, our clerks and tambies, our cars and comfortable homes and servants. All the trappings of our Western civilizations had been ruthlessly shorn from us. We were prisoners and nothing more.”

Women prisoners, according to Archer, were expected to share the same corporate and patriotic loyalties as their husbands. When they married a colonial man, they married his job as well, and were expected to play their designated roles.

“This was a prison.”

Tientsin’s foreigners were crammed into trains, then marched into prison – the Courtyard of the Happy Way – lined up on an athletic field next to a church for roll call.

Through the eyes and diary of David Treadup, a former internee, John Hersey wrote in his book The Call: “I was listless, tired, downhearted, in pain, but that wall roused me. My buttocks prickled at the sight of it. It was as if I were in an old wooden house and waked up from a deep sleep smelling smoke. This was the usual eight-foot gray brick mission compound wall, familiar to me as an often seen boundary of refuge for foreigners, setting the limits of a peaceful sanctuary form the Chinese universe roundabout – except that now there was a difference: guard turrets had been erected at the corners of the wall. This was no refuge. This was a prison.”

Out of the twelve Japanese internment camps holding foreigners in Mainland China, the Weihsien Civil Assembly Center was one of the largest. The internment camp was originally built by American Protestant missionaries in 1924, and requisitioned by Japanese military and consular officials for a camp to hold foreign enemies in 1942. The prison’s commandant was Mister Izu, the prison’s captain known by children as “King Kong.” The prison became a propaganda showpiece, Japan’s idyllic centerfold, featuring electrified wire and an encircling stone wall, manned gun towers, rows of cells for internees to live, coal-burning kitchens, eighteen Chinese-styled squatty potties and forty Western-styled toilets, all of which drained into cesspools.

“This place, they knew and could see, was a former missionary compound,” Hersey wrote. “Now all was drab and befouled. Most of the passageways were cluttered with all sorts of furniture and trash thrown out from the buildings, presumably by uncaring bivouacs of Japanese troops and, later, by quartermasters in hasty preparations to receive these internees.”

The Japanese had not made any arrangements for a hospital, but they were proud of the fine job internees created out of rubble. They photographed Weihsien, according to internees, and sent the pictures across the world as propaganda showing how well they were treating the prisoners.

Most internees worked diligently at their assigned tasks, some rose before dawn to stoke kitchen fires; Catholic nuns volunteered for latrine duties. Management fell to the internees, as the Japanese wanted little to do with their prisoners.

Canadian citizen Angela Cox Elliott was born in the Courtyard of the Happy Way, and although too young to remember many details, she returned to visit her birthplace for the first time in 1996. Her father, George Edward Cox, was the prison camp’s tinsmith and a friend of the Powers’ family. Before incarceration he was a graduate of Tientsin’s St. Louis College and a secretary at Credit Foncier de l’Extreme Orient. He also served with Powers in the Tientsin Volunteer Defense Corps. Elliott’s mother, Philomena Splingaerd, half Chinese, half Belgian, was one of many granddaughters of Paul Splingaerd, the “Belgian Mandarin,” who was knighted by Belgian’s King Leopold II and raised to the ninth level of Mandarin by the Qing Imperial Court.

Elliott was born in the camp’s hospital, which had already been ransacked for supplies before the internees arrived. Leftover hospital equipment was pieced together. Doctors learned to improvise. Requests for supplies were never fully granted; medicines trickled in at a snail’s pace.

Elliott remembers Japanese guards treating her kindly, as they did most children.

“The Jap soldiers may not have been that kind to other children, but I looked somewhat Japanese or Asian,” Elliott said. “They more or less left people alone. My ma said that a Japanese soldier used to come by and liked to play with me, probably reminded him of his kids as I am so Asian looking.”

The camp was approximately 49,000 square meters, and held at one time or another more than 2,250 internees. It also held a chapel, used by all denominations, a small baseball field, which was used to play softball after too many balls sailed over the wall, a large bell by Block Twenty-three, which was off limits to internees.

Roll call was mandated every morning. After two prisoners, Arthur Hummel Jr., and Laurance Tipton escaped to spend the rest of the war fighting alongside Chinese guerillas, roll call was changed to twice a day, once in the morning and once at evening.

Clean water was one of the camp’s most significant problems.

“Water was a problem at Weihsien,” Bridge said. “The wells were often within ten yards of the cesspits.” His family, including two adults and two children, were initially given one room, twelve feet by eight feet, in which to live. Communal meals consisted of vegetable scraps, potatoes, turnips, soybeans, millet and Indian corn, and rarely rice.

Food was scarce, especially toward the end of the war. “Of course there was that horrible hungry feeling, that had to be covered by gaoliang porridges and thin soups,” Knüppe-de Jongh said. Her family had arranged with a Swiss friend to be sent parcels several times a year, which included smoked bacon, lard, egg powder and other food products. “I remember my mother baking a kind of omelet from egg powder with chips of bacon and it tasted really delicious, in my memory.” Her brother, Paul, who was also born three months after arriving at the camp, was undernourished, weak and small for his age.

With approximately 2,500 internees waiting lines became inevitable. There were lines for the toilets, chow lines and lines for lukewarm showers. The winters were bone-rattling cold; summers were hot and humid. Every capable person was assigned chores. A discipline committee headed in part by former Tientsin Municipal Police Chief Inspector P.J. Lawless and Ted McLaren was organized, and punishments were unique to the environment. Once, according to Hersey, Treadup was sentenced to make two circles of the camp wearing a sign saying “I Am a Thief” around his neck after stealing a piece of meat.

In the Courtyard of the Happy Way, trading taipans lived next to hooligans, former prostitutes and drug addicts alongside Catholics and Protestants. Single men and women had their own dormitories; families were put into thirteen feet by eight feet cells. Hersey offers a unique description of Treadup’s roommates in the single men’s dormitory.

“A potbellied retired sergeant of the U.S. Fifteenth Infantry Regiment in Tientsin, a bully by nature and training; he had lived a shady life in the French Concession there, some said as a middleman in sales of smuggled curios.

“An Englishman with startling mustaches like porcupine quills, a grand personage high up in Kailan Mining, owner in Tientsin of the great racehorse Kettledrum, which had won the Tientsin Champion Stakes five straight years.

“An American derelict, formerly a Socony engineer, whose "better years," he told everyone, had been in the Bahrein oil fields in the Persian Gulf, now a lank, gaunt sausage of a man suffering agonizing cramps and sweats in forced withdrawal from his beloved paikar, [lao bai gar] the fiery Chinese liquor.

“A muscular American Negro dance instructor from the Voytenko Dancing School in Tientsin.

“A Eurasian, half Belgian and half Chinese, a salesman of cameras in a Tientsin store, who looked and acted like a ravishingly beautiful woman.

“A Pentecostal missionary, a bachelor with rattling dry bones under leathery dry skin, a kindly but rather repugnant man, with little dark velvety bags like bat bellies under his eyes, who groaned and babbled hair-raising fragments of sermons in his sleep ― bringing loud roars for silence from the sergeant and the dancer.

“An English executive of Whiteaway Laidlaw, the largest department store in the British Concession, a sensible, direct, practical, unemotional man, an observer of rules and a mediator in all storms in the room.

“The former chief steward of the posh Tientsin Club, who still wore the black coat, double-breasted gray waistcoat, and striped trousers of his Club uniform, all of which he somehow kept impeccably clean, a straight-backed figure, honorable and correct, yet also mischievous, a fountain of laughter, a man, as David soon wrote, "too good to be true."

“A mean little Australian errand runner for the Customs Service, with a fake limp, who told a new lie every day about imaginary past glories ― as the pilot of a smuggling plane, as a photographer of nude women, as a big-time Shanghai gambler ― reduced now to a finicky, sneaky, sniveling complainer, scornful of Americans whatever their station but embarrassingly obsequious to upper-class Englishmen.”

One woman at Weihsien, Helen Burton, a North Dakota native, had been the proprietor of the Camels Bell curios and candy shop in Peking before incarceration. At the Courtyard of the Happy Way she started a bartering shack, called the White Elephant’s Bell, for goods to be exchanged, including one instance of a fur coat for jam. Months with no sugar can have a depreciating effect on luxury goods. She was a socialite, always keeping busy, adopted four Chinese girls before imprisonment, and never married. A photograph of Burton reading a letter about the death of her brother for the first time was featured in Life Magazine after liberation.

Surprisingly, according to all Weihsien survivors, few incidents occurred between the internees.

Suicide attempts, however, were not uncommon.

“Looking back on all the attempted suicides, there seemed to be a common denominator: each person had, at some time, been a “somebody” in a once exciting world,” wrote Masters, who admits in her book she once came close to grabbing the electric wire surrounding the camp, which would have killed her. A Catholic priest rescued her.

“The woman who swallowed the box of match heads had been a famous fashion model in the States back in the thirties. She was still very beautiful, with a doting husband – and no children, as she didn’t want to ruin her figure. She was living in the past and couldn’t stand the anonymity of being just another lost soul in the prison camp.

“The girl who slashed her wrists was also extremely beautiful. Her mother had b een the most famous madame in Peking, and she the toast of the nightlife of that cosmopolitan city.”

One of the most mind-boggling events during the war years at the prison was when the American Red Cross sent a shipment of foodstuffs to the camp, which the Japanese allowed. A handful of American missionaries, however, became indignant when they discovered the packages were to be handed out to each internee, saying the packages were from America and therefore meant for Americans only.

“Afraid of an uprising, the Commandant took immediate control and had all the parcels locked up until he got instructions from Tokyo. While we waited for them, the camp that had once been tolerant of all the different nationals became bitterly divided.”

Even after Tokyo’s instructions to distribute one Red Cross package to each internee, regardless of nationality, the American missionary family, fat and slovenly and known as the Hattons in Masters’ book, threw themselves upon the parcels and wailed, “We want our due!”

Other missionaries, such as 1924 Olympic champion Eric Liddell were invaluable to the internees’ moral. Liddell who was born in Tientsin is said by some Chinese to be China’s first Olympic gold medalist, but was most famously known as the athlete who refused to run on Sunday. He was a soft-spoken, bald, Scottish missionary, who never talked about his past successes in sports, both track and rugby, and wore a permanent smile. He lived in Block 23, Room 8 at the Courtyard of the Happy Way, and according to Powers was the most respected man in camp. Liddell also taught mathematics, gave sermons and was known for his sense of humor. His running shoes, shortly before his death due to a brain tumor, were given away to fellow inmate Stephen A. Metcalf who helped Liddell with the camp’s recreation committee.

“During the following years it was my privilege to help Eric in his work on the recreation committee,” Metcalf wrote in his story about Liddell entitled Eric Liddel A Man Who Could Forgive. He repaired the prison’s obsolete sporting equipment with thin sticks of Chinese black glue made from horse hoofs.

“He was always so enthusiastic and never thought of it as a sacrifice to tear up his sheets to bind up old bats and hockey sticks etc. Even some of his trophies were sold on the black market to help the suffering. As the years passed, we were all suffering in one way or another, and the tremendous workload he took on himself began to take its toll.

“About three weeks before Eric began to succumb to the brain tumor he came up to me with his pair of dilapidated running shoes. They were all patched and sewn up with string. In a shy and almost offhand manner, he said, ‘Steve, I see your shoes are worn out and it is now midwinter. Perhaps you will be able to get a few weeks of wear out of these.’ Then, with a knowing nod, he pressed them into my hand.”

According to an anonymous report in the Weihsien-Paintings website, a young internee at the time remembered Liddell’s burial service.

Months later, due to necessity, Metcalf traded the shoes for a pair of US Army boots.

“I remember that grey winter day, when a bedraggled procession of children in threadbare, outgrown overcoats followed the coffin of our beloved “Uncle Eric” to the small camp graveyard. Our legs were bear in the bitter cold; our woolen stockings were the first things to wear out, and trousers were not part of our wardrobe in those days… As we followed the pallbearers on the frozen ground, one of them, my brother Norman Cliff, the cheap coffin creaked and groaned: would it hold together until they reached the grave? It did, and no one else knew of their distress.”

Tientsin native, Yu Wenji, now eighty-six-years old, was Liddell’s ball boy when he played tennis, the China Daily reported on August 12, 2012. Yu attended Liddell’s English classes and also Liddell’s sermons at the All Saint’s Church.

"He had the chance to leave for Canada with his pregnant wife and two children, but he refused to leave his brothers in church behind. I guess that must have been a tough decision for him," Yu said.

Yu wept openly, he said, when he heard the Chariots of Fire theme song during the London Olympics in 2012, and has spent fifteen years writing a biography of Liddell. "I watched the movie three times in row when I first got the videotape," he said. "He always leaned back his head when crossing the finishing line. That scene is still vivid in my mind."

When asked about his goals for his book on Eric Liddell, Yu, who is almost blind, said his memories of that time will never fade.

“I don’t want fame or money, I am eighty-six,” Yu said. “I just want to show that Liddell is a good example of someone who can erase misunderstanding between China and Western countries.”

Liddell, along with at least thirty-one other Weihsien internees, died and was buried in the Courtyard of the Happy Way. A Japanese soldier, according to the China Daily, secretly preserved Liddell’s death certificate when he was ordered to destroy all evidence. Despite the city’s recent renovations, a red marble memorial stone in memory of Liddell still remains inside the Courtyard of the Happy Way.


Laurance Tipton, a British businessman, distributed cigarettes by camel caravan to China’s northwest before his incarceration at the Courtyard of the Happy Way. He wrote a book entitled Chinese Escapade, published in 1949, about the loss of his business, which took him to Peking, Tientsin, Mongolia and elsewhere, his escape from prison and the months he spent fighting alongside Chinese guerillas.

Tipton was a kitchen fire stoker during his time at the Courtyard of the Happy Way.

“For the first few weeks it was exhausting work but one gradually got used to it. I first worked in the Peking kitchen as general help and then graduated to the butchery, where the maggot-ridden carcasses and the myriads of flies which laid eggs on the meat faster than one could wipe them off were rather more than I could stomach.”

Internees, Tipton wrote, saw little of Mister Izu, the camp’s commandant, or his staff, as management was left mostly in the hands of a foreign committee. Complaints and requests were passed through the committee and to the commandant.

A black market with local Chinese on the other side of the prison wall began two weeks after his arrival. “The Catholic Fathers were the first to operate on a large and well-organized scale,” Tipton wrote. “It was merely a matter of finding a convenient spot out of the sentry’s view, a few words of hasty bargaining, throwing a rope and hauling up a basket of fresh country eggs.”

Outside, regular bootlegging gangs were organized: the Hans, the Chaos and the Wangs. “In the dead of night they would send a representative over. Greased and clad only in a G-string, he would slip in, take the orders, “shroff” over the accounts, receive payment and quietly disappear. Transactions were made through a drainage hole along the wall.

In the thirty-third year of the Republic of China, a letter written by Wang Yu-min, of the Fourth Mobile Column of the Shantung-Kiangsu War Area, was snuck into the prison.

“My division is able to rescue you, snatching you from the tiger’s mouth…” a part of the letter said. “We can well imagine that your life in Hades must reach the limits of inhuman cruelty.”

With continued correspondence, an escape plan formed. Tipton asked Arthur Hummel to accompany him on an escape. On June 8, 1943, around 8:30 at night, Tipton and Hummel waited until the changing of the guards, scaled a guard tower and dropped over the side of the wall. They hid in a graveyard fifty yards away.

“A pause to collect our breath, and we made another dash which took us out of range of the searchlights, and, taking our bearings from the camp, we headed directly north over ploughed fields, through wheat crops, stumbling over ditches and sunken roads until we reached the stream that flowed north of the camp. Wading across this, we headed in the direction of the cemetery.”

Members of the Fourth Mobile Column of the Shantung-Kiangsu War Area found them, and after saying the password “Friends,” unrolled a triangular white cloth that said ‘Welcome the British and American Representative! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!’

Tipton and Hummel spent the next two years fighting alongside the guerillas, informed Western military authorities of the camp’s troubles, and returned to the camp as internees after liberation.


Not everything at the Courtyard of the Happy Way was dismal. Many children who survived look back on their incarceration with fond memories. Boredom, to adolescents, was an enemy more incipient than their Japanese guards.

Internee Earl West formed a jazz band. He had been a Tientsin musical star before incarceration, playing at a nightclub called the Little Club, according to Powers. The band, comprised of black musicians, performed most Friday nights inside one of the prison’s kitchens.

“What a boon those dances were for the romantically inclined, especially among the shy!” Powers wrote. “Many a couple’s relationship started at a dance, some leading to marriage.”

“I certainly enjoyed the dances in Kitchen Number 1,” Knüppe-de Jongh said. “We had some fine bands. I did more watching with my friends than really dancing, I’m afraid, being thirteen or fourteen years old, but I had fun there and occasionally I had a younger partner to dance with – but it was all very exciting for a teenager.”

Brigadier Len Stranks formed the Salvation Army Band, which played at sporting events and church services and on occasion the outlawed Star Spangled Banner.

Mclaren, of the discipline committee, built a secret radio the Japanese never found. He was also privy to Tipton and Hummel’s escape, and organized an ‘underground police’ force of reliable, able-bodied internees, ready to take control of the camp if the opportunity arose.

The black market over the compound’s wall was kept alive for the duration of the war, despite Japanese intentions of either controlling or stopping the secret trades. At least one Chinese peasant was killed when he was caught trading by a Japanese sentry. Some vices continued, such as trading for Chinese “bai gar” liquor, and at least one Russian woman opened her bed as a brothel in trade for food or money.

When one of “their own” was placed in solitary confinement, dozens of internees volunteered their own private stashes of food and endangered their own selves to sneak food in to the cell. Such as the case of Peter Fox, who rang the prison bell in celebration after hearing the good news of Nazi Germany’s surrender over the homemade radio. The entire camp went without rations for a week before he turned himself in.

During the warmer months the recreation committee, led by Eric Liddell, held softball matches and track events. Many young internees learned new card games or played marbles, while the more adventurous young held rat, bedbug and fly catching contests. According to an anonymous report in the Weihsien-Paintings website, a young boy won the fly catching con test with a count of 3,500 neatly counted flies in a bottle.

School continued for most of the prison’s children. Few left the camp behind in their studies. Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, Cub Scouts and Brownies clubs also were formed. Although limited to short hikes, children practiced Morse Code, knot tying. They made various badges like hiking badges, singing badges and naturalist badges.

Clothing shredded, but the internees learned to mend. “Since we men have been reduced to the level of Chinese farmers and coolies, we go, as they do, with our bare backs to the sun, and some wear nothing but underwear briefs,” Hersey wrote. “I have joined the brown race. The women wear the most abbreviated ‘sports suits,’ cut to modern bathing suit patterns, and sometimes even more spare. Female beauty (and, alas, ugliness) is being evidenced, in some cases flaunted. Some of the missionary women, who have been most strict in their speech in the past, have suddenly become startlingly immodest in their dress. Is one supposed to look away, or not?”

During the cold Shandong Province winter months, much of the internees’ spare time was spent trying to stay warm in bed and making coal balls, part coal dust from their Japanese guards, part clay and a small amount of water. “We younger girls made a game of carrying the coal buckets,” wrote Previte. “In a long human chain – girl, bucket, girl, bucket, girl, bucket, girl – we hauled the coal dust from the Japanese quarters back to our dormitory, chanting all the way, ‘Many hands make light work.’”

Non-denominational church services were held on Sundays, and although the Protestants wanted to convert the Catholics, and vice versa, anyone was welcome to attend.

Another anonymous post in the Weihsien-Paintings website says, “I believe that is why I look back on Weihsien with joy – I believe it molded me and the adults who kept us entertained beautifully and we did not feel like we lacked – we all ate the glop so what difference did it make? I didn’t feel needy or forlorn because there were so many people building us up and keeping us going.”


On August 17, 1945, eleven days after atomic “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” devastated Japanese cities, members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) called the “Duck Team” parachuted into camp. The seven-man team did not know what they were jumping into, or if the Japanese guards were prepared to surrender, but they knew that the Japanese Military Authority had issued orders for all foreign POWs and civilian internees to be shot.

According to Doc 2701, Exhibit “O” of the Nara War Crimes Tribunal, the Japanese Army had a policy in place to liquidate all prisoners.

Few commandants, if any, complied. Some defeated officers chose seppuku, ritual suicide, instead.

Leopold Pander wasn’t two years old when he was “arrested” in Tientsin. His only crime was that he had round eyes, and held a Belgian passport. His memory is naturally vague before his family’s arrest, but he remembers the day of liberation as a recurring nightmare.

“World War II was over,” Pander said. “I had this nightmare that came back to me, night after night — always the same dream and just before I wake up, I see myself bare footed, almost naked in the middle of a light brown dirty slope, surrounded by big dark grey stones, under a blue sky without clouds and the sun shining bright. People running all over the place. Collective hysteria. I don’t understand what is going on. I am completely panicked. Somebody picks me up — that is when I wake up.”

The recurring dream was a riddle, which took Pander many years to solve. When he did, he realized it was the hot summer day US paratroopers liberated the camp. For many years after his freedom he didn’t talk about his experiences. “We never spoke about Weihsien, as if it never existed.”

His internship, although he was only a toddler during those years, affected him in a myriad of ways, he said. He prefers silence, never leaves a plate of food unfinished.

“I could stand in the middle of nowhere, stare at a treetop or anything else and not noticing the “time” passing by. My mind would drift away. I could sleep awake. Who can explain that? It still happens to me now.”

The word Weihsien came back to him only fourteen years ago, after retirement. H e purchased a computer and learned how the Internet worked and began researching his history. At first he haunted chats pertaining to the Weihsien experience, slowly opening up after finding Father Hanquet, who told him countless stories of the Courtyard of the Happy Way. Not long after he started his own website, www.weihsien-paintings.org, which is a moving collection of memories, pictures and stories of the Weihsien internees.

Older internees, such as Powers, remembers that just before liberation stress was beginning to show.

“A lot of people are getting on edge, some are close to cracking, one for sure has already cracked. He or she is an ax-wielding maniac who has taken to decapitating cats.”

Powers kept himself on an even keel for most of his imprisonment, but toward the end of war his cabin fever got the best of him. He threw a curse at a Japanese sergeant while he was taking roll call.

“Wo tsao ni mama!” Desmond wrote he said.

“He saw me, but I dashed down to my place in the stairwell. Not knowing who the culprit was, he grabbed hold of David Clark, the fifteen-year-old ward of Reverend Simms-Lee and began throttling him. I had no alternative but to present myself as the perpetrator. To this day I can see Bushingdi's toothy snarl, I can feel the vice like grip on my neck, and I can smell the nap of his black uniform. I was lucky the war was nearly over. My punishment was only several slaps to the face.”

Masters was standing in the breakfast chow line when she heard a distant purring noise.

“There was a hush in the chow line as the hum of the plane got louder. It struck me that the sound was different; not the funny, tinny drone of Japanese Zeros and Judys, or the rattling-roar of their bombers, but a strong, steady comforting sound that seemed to push up against the heavens and reverberate back down to earth. I knew instinctively this was one of ours!”

A B-29 roared over the camp before ejecting seven OSS officers: Major Staiger, Lieutenant J. Moore, Lieutenant Hannen, Sergeant Ray Hanchulack, Corporal Tad Nagaki, Corporal Peter Orlick and Edward Wong.

With wild jubilation, internees stormed the gateway to the Courtyard of the Happy Way. Japanese soldiers did not make any effort to resist. For them, the war was over.

The Salvation Army band struck up America’s national anthem, which they had practiced secretly in pieces. A teenager in the band crumpled to the ground, weeping. American soldiers entered the camp passing out spearmint gum, which the internees chewed then passed from mouth to mouth.

“I remember tailing these gorgeous liberators around. My heart went flip-flop over every one of them. I wanted to touch their skin, to sit on their laps. We begged for souvenirs, begged for their autographs, their insignia, their buttons, pieces of parachute. We cut off chunks of their hair. We begged them to sing the songs of America. They taught us ‘You are my sunshine.’ Sixty years later, I can sing it still,” Previte said.

Much needed supplies began dropping into camp: chocolate, hot cocoa, Spam, powdered milk, canned peaches.

Some found revelations about themselves through imprisonment. Treadup, according to Hersey, began questioning his own religious upbringing and discovered the busier he became, “the more time he had to do things.” Months before liberation Treadup found a kind of freedom within the strict confines of the Courtyard of the Happy Way.

“Stripped down, all of them, to their most primitive conditions of value… there is a huge hollow place, yet at the same time I am joyous and feel free.

“I am waking up from a sleep.”

Most internees could not return immediately to their homes, due to the ensuing civil war between communists and nationalists. Some eventually flew for the first time on B-29 bombers back to Tientsin to find their homes gutted. By 1949, most had been forced or left willingly, and those that stayed found life to grow increasingly difficult in communist China.

Today, however, the Chinese Government recognizes what Western citizens gave up during their imprisonment. According to a recent article in the China Daily, a newly constructed 20-meter sculpture commemorates the hardships both foreigners and the Chinese faced during the Japanese occupation at the Courtyard of the Happy Way. “The base is covered by carved Chinese characters that spell the names, ages, professions and nationalities of 2,008 people – 327 of them children – from more than thirty countries,” the article written by He Na and Ju Chuanjiang said.

Although the Japanese government has never acknowledge their crimes during World War II, many former internees found forgiveness is possible and have made return trips back to the prison, which, minus the wall, parts of which remain to this day.

“War and hate and violence never open the way to peace,” Previte said in the article. “Weihsien shaped me. I will carry Weihsien in my heart forever.”

De : Teddy
Envoyé : mercredi 26 mars 2014 13:58
À : Mary Previte
Cc : angelalousia@yahoo.ca ; pander41@skynet.be
Objet : Fw: Weifang 2015

It worked

From: Wang Hao
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 7:49 AM
To: Teddy
Subject: Re: Weifang 2015

Dear Pearson,

I'm very pleased to receive your mail.

The memory of your group to Weifang in year 2011 is still clear to me.
We are just planning for activities on Aug 17th, 2015, same date when the camp was liberated in 1945.
We will be very honored to your kind help.
Looking forward to meet you and other friends in Weifang!

With best regards,
Wang Hao

在 2014年3月25日,22:04,Teddy

Dear Director Wang.

This is Edmund Pearson. I shared the article in the China Daily Mail and the N.Y.Times with you. You see me as a young boy and as I am today. I was present in Weifang in 2005 when your City so generously invited the survivors to attend. Most of us remember our stay under the domination of the Japanese very well. We also remember that Japan has never admitted, apologised or paid compensation for the thousands of Chinese, Koreans and Europeans they maltreated.

It is my intention to attend with my “partner” in 2015 as she enjoyed our tour together in 2011. I wanted to offer any help I can give to whatever plan you have. It would be helpful to know the approximate dates so that we can plan more excursion in China. I hope that this finds you in good health.

Edmund Pearson, Montreal, Canada

De : Evonne A
Envoyé : mardi 18 mars 2014 14:26
À : tapol_(Skynet)
Objet : Re: Weihsien - Rev. Charles Busby and Norah Busby

Dear Leopold,

Thank you so much! I deeply appreciate your kindness. I did send an email to Natasha (administrator) asking if it was OK for me to join the Topica list, I wasn't sure since it was for internees. I'm happy to join and learn more about Weihsien.

On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 3:58 AM, tapol_(Skynet) wrote:

> Dear Evonne,

> Hi !
> The best I can do is to forward your message to our "TOPICA" chat list. I
> hope that somebody will be able to give you more info.
> You can also join us at:
> http://lists.topica.com/lists/weihsien/%3Fcid%3D324
> Good luck & best regards,
> Leopold

De : Evonne A
Envoyé : lundi 17 mars 2014 17:56
À : tapol@skynet.be
Objet : Weihsien - Rev. Charles Busby and Norah Busby


My name is Evonne and I recently found your website on Weihsien. Thank you for collecting and posting so much information about the camp.

I am writing to see if I can learn more about Rev. Charles Edward Busby and his wife, Norah Mellor Thompson Busby. They are my great-grandparents (they adopted my grandmother while serving as missionaries in China.) I was thrilled to find you had posted images of their writing/Impressions of Weihsien from Norman Cliff's diary, what a wonderful glimpse of them!

I am hoping you can pass on my email to anyone who has memories of the Busbys in the camp - any stories would be deeply appreciated as I piece together this part of my family's history. (I have found some information in archives in London, but am living in the United States and cannot make a trip to London in the near future.)

Thank you very much for your time and any assistance you can suggest.


De : L PR
Envoyé : jeudi 13 mars 2014 16:48
À : np57@cox.net

Objet : Re: listing

Hi ! Natasha,

The address is correct
Hope it works ...
... all the best,

De : np57@cox.net
Envoyé : jeudi 13 mars 2014 15:30
À : tapol@skynet.be
Objet : listing


I am again sending your email address to topica. tapol@skynet.be If this in incorrect, please send me the ones that are correct. This was an email that you had at one time, and may not be what you want.


De : L PR
Envoyé : jeudi 13 mars 2014 10:51
À : natasha petersen
Objet : subscription to topica,

Dear Natasha,

Hello ... hope you are well ...

I think that it is a “Topica” problem and I guess that Mary must have the same kind of misfortune.

I tried all the “tags” in the left frame and confirmed that the “delivery address” was my e-mail address. The “machine” told me that he accepted my confirmation but, in the “general menu” it always writes that : TO POST = send mail to: weihsien@topica.com ... which is not correct !!!!

Could you forward this message to the “TOPICA” webmaster ?
Thanks in advance,

De : L PR
Envoyé : mercredi 12 mars 2014 10:32
À : Angela
Cc : Janette & home
Objet : Re: Hello \--- Finally ----Je pense - you forgot about me

Hi, Angela,

Thanks for your “long” message ....

Ah! the “good” old days ... memories ...
In Tientsin, we had a Polish nurse. Mom didn’t like the Chinese nurse working in the same building ... (the bank)! (...) so, she took a Polish one !!

After the war, in Shanghai, we had a Chinese amah. I remember involuntarily hitting her on the head with a spade and it started bleeding (her forehead). She wanted to grab the spade away from me because she thought that it was too dangerous a tool for such a small boy.

My sister and I were completely savage in those days.
Undisciplined and lazy as my dad would say !!

... bien amicalement,

From: Angela
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:14 AM
To: L PR
Subject: Re: Hello \--- Finally ----Je pense - you forgot about me
1130 pm Tues mar 11

Hello Leopold,

Well at least you are smart with the computer as I am unable to send pictures & paste.

Yes, those days were very Victorian - the way children were brought up -.. Mr Lampo was alone in Tientsin when I knew him - he walked a certain way - I can still picture it .. very erect .... but I DIDNT KNOW he had children ... of course as a child you not interested .. Imagine his son peeling a banana with fork/knife. Unfortunately the name Volkaert is known to me. How HKg has changed -- even from 1956 when I WAS THERE FROM April to Oct .... We arrived in Apirl from Tientsin by steamer & it was already so hot & left for Vancouver also by freighter in oct via Japan. - I did find Japan fascinating ...not having any ill memories of the Japanese,.

Thank you for relaying your message to Chris - he also asked send me similar questions - re Tientsin as well ,. It is a great ptiy that you have no memory of Tientsin as it was & still is a lovely city but in your time even more European. You must have had an amah to take care of you - any memories?? After you returned but gather you weren't there long after camp & before camp too young . Of course I have no memories of camp but my mother & her friends talked about it all the time & believe my mother didn't feel that ,affected by it . Even heard at one point it was one of test times of their lives - you never had to worry where you children were .... Apparently a Japanese soldier liked to visit me .. probably because I look so Asian - reminded me of his children but the complaint from the neighbors was that he played with his toes.. True the food was pretty bad - my mother's sister Hortense sent parcels to us - food & things for me , Mum said there were dances concerts \& many social activities ....& didn't seem to have fear of the future.

I can well relate to you regarding waste .as I'm the same - unable to throw out anything... yes even a piece of soap - I will use it ... abhor the waste of food & will always save it for later. However, my Mother's family was in the Belgian legation during the Boxer war & they were running out of food & my grandmother instilled on my mother *not to even waste a grain of rice* then after camp & I recall seeing the poor people begging for food after ... now people are so wasteful especially in Canada - they throw everything out . Unfortunately my parents kept too much junk - that's must have resulted from camp as people barted goods & now am trying to toss out things to charitable places ...they will sell or recycle ... Am overloaded & cannot leave it all as it will be a horrendous job for my daughter after I/m gone... It must have been very traumatic for your parents & especially for you to feel as you did for so many years- it must have had a very grave effect on you ...= how you could drift with time passing & not notice or sleep awake. I used to be standing up sleeping at times due to lack of sleep when I was working so many overtime hours - never had enuff sleep .. but in your case - the subconscious ...my goodness.

Am sure most felt the same way as you Dad - saying * never to want to see this place again ** however, now its time to come to grips with the past ... otherwise it will forever haunt you . The main thing is that we survived & fared a lot better than others in various camps . Of course its a bustling city with no resemblance to what it was- Ted said gailang fields surrounded the camp ... There is a museum there ... with pictures of various people etc... the hospital & a park built with a granite wall - our names are carved in it -- by a waterfall ... and a large monment to commemorate the the internees. It will probably be the last Event held for internees as we are all getting on - the adults way over 80 yrs ... I/ll be 72yrs in 2015 ... there wont be anyone left .... There was a good turn out in 2005 - many brought their grown children to attend as well ... we were treated royally.... I certainly hope that you & your sister will take advantage of the generosity of the city to welcome us back .for the ;last look . Let it not revoke bad memories anymore after so many past years but celebrate the triumph of survival .. Let the visit cast away something in your subconscious buried so deep & rejoice to be return to see again for yourself -& be vindicated .... It will be prove to be a worthwhile trip - China as it is now is quite amazing..

Shanghai is even more posh & so chic. Remember that its only your airfare to pay as once there - everything is taken care of - we had such vip treatment last time - with police motorcade too .... There was a stage in the camp area - speeches by the Major - Mary private too I/m sure etc ... band .. the doves were let loose from the cages ... it was tremendous & Jubilant.


De : L PR
Envoyé : mercredi 12 mars 2014 10:11
À : Mary Previte ; natasha petersen
Objet : Re: Fwd: Topica problems

Dear Mary, Dear Natasha,

Thanks very much for helping me 🙂

I just sent two “blank” mails as you asked me ...
I also sent (yesterday) a blank mail from my “google-mail” account ... tapolnicky@gmail.com Hope you manage

... all the best,

From: Mary Previte
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 11:50 PM
To: Leopold Pander
Subject: Fwd: Topica problems
Begin forwarded message:

From: np57@cox.net
Subject: RE: Topica problems
Date: March 11, 2014 12:52:26 PM EDT
To: Mary Previte


Please send the following to lepold. I am unable to send him and email message. In addition, please let me know that you have done so.

Give him my email address.

Please send me your two email addresses. In addition,Send a BLANK email to: weihsien-subscribe@topica.com "We shall try again"


On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 4:50 AM, tapol_(Skynet) wrote:

Dear Natasha,

I am still NOT receiving the topica messages directly at my e-mail address !

Can you do something about it?

Thanks in advance
Best regards,

A. Knuppe
Mar 11-03-14 18:31

Dear Leopold, Thanks for sending me your reply to Christopher. Here is my reply, but it took me longer to answer!!

I am having some trouble trying to send the camp photo, leaning over the wall, but I’m not giving up and shall try again.

All the best,
Anne Kn.

Anne is the young blond girl at the left of the picture ...

the same wall in the background ... © photos by William A. Smith. - U.S.Army.

De : A. Knuppe
Envoyé : mardi 11 mars 2014 17:13
À : tapol@skynet.be
Objet : Fw: Tientsin

This was his reply- perhaps you are interested in his website - Anne

From: HagenChristopher
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2014 6:29 PM
To: A. Knuppe
Subject: Re: Tientsin

Thank you so much!!

No problem on reply, I was just hoping you received the email.

The Weihsien article will be my last one, five are up already and now working on the "Floating Corpse Case" on The Hai River - where Japanese military authorities erected secret fortifications around Tientsin, (Tianjin) and then killed all the workers, many of whom were students, it appears. According to newspaper reports of the time, in Chinese and in English, it was extremely mysterious time, with many legends flying around Tianjin about why - more than 300 corpses one day suddenly banked themselves at the French Concession…

Do you remember anything about that? Maybe too young, but it happened in May of 1936.

One other question, and if you don't want it is fine, but do you by chance have a photograph of yourself at that time, and then perhaps a more recent one I could use for the article?

Again, many thanks… If you need to know any more information about myself, some is posted online in my website, www.cshagen.com and I will answer any questions. I will also email you the article before it is posted.

Thank you!!!!
C.S. Hagen

On Mar 4, 2014, at 11:22 AM, "A. Knuppe" wrote:

Dear Chris,

Sorry my reply took so long- I received your reminder mail yesterday and here I am!

You certainly have been very busy writing the serie of stories of Tientsin - already 2 have been written and another 2 are planned.

I contacted Leopold Pander, asking him to send you the description of camp life in Weihsien because he had so many references and that would save me much work. He sent me his reply to you and I am greatly relieved that you have now a lot of information. I will however try to answer the other questions -

I was 12 1/2 when I was taken to Weihsien- I was a schoolgirl at St Joseph’s High School in the French concession

We children had quite a protective life: I did go to school by bike (when younger was brought by private rickshaw), went to the Girl Guides and visited friends also by bicycle. Hardly did any traveling in China, 2 visits to Peking with my parents and of course the summer vacations in Peitaiho with the family by train. My fathers home leaves were wonderful- every 5 years. In 1934 by boat to Europe, a German line and in March 1939 by Trans Siberian railway- in 11 days from Harbin to the Netherlands. We returned from Genua by an Italian line, El Tristino.

As a child we enjoyed the Country Club- the wonderful walks around the race course- the fancy dress parties, skating on the pond in the winter, the playground and the Grand Stand, with all the horse racing.

My parents were also members of the French Club, playing bridge, afternoon teas for the ladies, but as a child I didn’t often go there. After the war I did have my first ball there, in eveningdress with American marines who were stationed in Tientsin.

China smells all returned when I revisited China after 50 years. It was somehow so familiar.

After Pearl Harbour we were enemies for the Japanese and we had to wear a red band when going out. There were barricades between the concessions- school was no problem but I wonder if I could pass into the British concession to see friends. Not sure. My parents were very troubled, they dreaded an internment, which happened about 15 months later.

In camp, my father started as a pump worker for the watersupply, but having a large family he was later on sent to Kitchen nr. 1 as a breadslicer, which was a much easier job. Mother was exempted from community work on account of the kids. Later on I did help in the kitchen with cleaning vegetables and washing up.

The schooling was well organized. We had excellent teachers, British and American- and with primitive means, slates, very little paper, no study books we managed to pick up much information and I only lost 1 year of schooling in the 2 1/2 years I had been away.

The various committee members had direct contact with the Japanese campcommander - we just saw the guards marching along. In general there were no atrocities, except as punishment for black marketing, stealing etc.

Later on I realized that my parents were very worried about how we would be released - would the guerillas take over or would we have to escape in the end. I remember my father telling us that on the floor of the home-made wardrobe closet there was a little brown bag containing nuggets of gold and my mothers precious jewelry- and that in case of having to flee, always take this with you because it was worth a lot and would provide us with our bare necessities. Thank God we were released by the Americans on Aug. 17th 1945.

The living accommodations were the former student rooms. With a family of 8 we had a double room and a single next door, connected. No running water, a table, benches, a small stand for the wash basin- no stoves, we had one made from a tin container with a grate and a chimney pipe which lead to the roof. The latrines and showers were quite near our house, so we were lucky. Hot water had to be carried in buckets to the house. We had brought beds, mattresses, and blankets from T’sin and that filled the largest part of the small space.

How did Weih. affect me. Well I grew up suddenly. My life had been quite luxurious, many servants, everything most comfortable and then in camp I realized there was washing, cleaning, improvising in all kinds of things. I was a quite mature girl of 15 when I left camp, feeling the responsibilities for my younger brothers and sisters and helping my parents. I also learned the hardships of life, cold, hunger, anxiety, but on the whole, compared with other camps, ours was quite humane.

Well, I have done my best. But there is one article and film about the marines entering Tientsin after the war. A dear friend, Conchita Azcue, a Spanish girl, who remained in Tientsin during the war (she lived in the Leopold Building) wrote an article on the departure of the Japs after their defeat. I will send you this article seperately.

Succes with your books - and I hope to have been of some help.

Kind regards,
Anne Knüppe- de Jongh

From: Mary Previte
Sent: Sunday, March 9, 2014 3:13 PM
To: Teddy Pearson ; Angela
Subject: Weihsien -- 2015 celebration of Liberation Day?
From: Mary Previte
Subject: Weihsien -- 2015 celebration of Liberation Day?
Date: March 9, 2014 2:55:16 PM EDT
To: Estelle Cliff Horne , AUDREY NORDMO HORTON , Allison Martin Holmes , hakon Torjesen , Maida Harris Campbell , John & Beth Taylor , David Allen , Beryl Welch Goodland , Neil Yorkston , Elizabeth Hoyte Goldsmith , Kathleen Nordmo Rictor , Marian Bevan Lauchlan , Peter Bazire , David Birch , MTprevite@aol.com, "maryhbroughton@swissmail.org" , John Hoyte , Stephen Metcalf , Jimmie Harrison , Douglas Sadler
Begin forwarded message:

From: wanghao <13508969816@126.com>
Subject: Re:Weihsien -- 2015 celebration of Liberation Day?
Date: March 5, 2014 9:42:46 PM EST
To: "Mary Previte"

Dear Ms Mary,

I'm very honored to read your letter.

Nine years ago, in 2005, I was one of the organizer of the 60th anniversary, together with Mr. Li Yuejin and Mr. Sui Shude. So I rembered you and other internees very clearly and impressed till now.

Within recent years, more and more people around the world know about the Camp, and want to do something for it. Including Ms He Na from China Daily and Ms Zhao Li from Qingdao Phoenix Media.

Yes, we are now planning the next year's commemorate.

Surely, we will invite internees from all over the world back to Weifang. Other activites are also on the planning, including a Film and a Tv Play by China Central TV, a new memorial hall in the former hospital.

We are also welcoming more suggestions from all of you.

Keep in touch!

With all the best wishes to you and other friends.
Wang Hao
Director of Weifang Foreign Affairs Office

De : L PR
Envoyé : mercredi 5 mars 2014 10:50
À : weihsien@topica.com
Objet : natasha !

Dear Natasha,

I have been completely bounced off the topica chat list !

No more mails at either tapol@skynet.be or at tapol@live.be
Can you check as to what is the problem and keep me informed ??

The China Daily article IS on our “website” ... go in the “log-book” and click on the first link.

Best regards,

De : sipabit Envoyé : mardi 4 mars 2014 19:34 À : Mary Previte ; pander41@skynet.be
Objet : 2015

This also was in the NYT. Apparently they will invite us back? next year? Teddy

De : sipabit
Envoyé : lundi 3 mars 2014 18:48
À : ; <;>
Objet : Fw: camp

Apparently the article in the China Daily Mail was reprinted in the N.Y Times on Friday 28-02-14. Pages A12/13. My doorman gave me a copy. Gosh I was a cute kid. If interested your local library should have it. Ted.

http://www.weihsien-paintings.org/Mprevite/ChinaDaily/ChinaDaily0220Unabridged.pdf - and scoll down ...