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The things they did

“Some civilians found themselves herded out of their homes by Japanese who asserted that shellfire made them unsafe. They were taken to an assembly area on Plaza Ferguson, where there were soon 2,000 under guard. Young girls were then separated and removed first to the Coffee Pot Café, then to the Bay View Hotel, where brothels were established. The Japanese sought to give their men who were soon to die a final exalting sexual experience. One twenty-four-year-old named Esther Garcia later gave evidence about the experiences of her fifteen- and fourteen-year-old sisters, Priscilla and Evangeline. ‘They grabbed my two sisters. They were in back of me. And we didn’t know what they were going to do. So my two sisters started fighting them, but they couldn’t do anything. So they grabbed my sisters by the arm and took them out of the room. And we waited and waited and waited and finally my younger sister came back and she was crying. And I asked her, “Where is Pris? Where is Pris?” And she said, “Oh! They are doing things to her, Esther!” So everybody in the room knew what was going to happen to us. When Priscilla came back, she said, “Esther, they did something to me. I want to die. I want to die.” ’ ” – Max Hastings, Retribution

Published inMax HastingsThe Second World War

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