Dutch Olympian Athletes Murdered during the Holocaust

It is strange sometimes how one thing can draw your attention to another. I did a piece recently on the German national anthem, that led me to look at the Dutch national anthem. “Wilhelmus van Nassouwe”, usually known just as “Wilhelmus” is the national anthem of the Netherlands. It dates back to at least 1572, making it the oldest national anthem in use today.

I mostly associate it with sporting events like the Olympics. It still give me the goosebumps every time I see the Dutch flagged being raised and the anthem is played during the Olympics, or any other sporting event for that matter. Although the Dutch do punch above their weight when it comes to sport, considering the size of the country. it only hosted the Olympic games once, in 1928. It was held from 28 July to 12 August 1928.

It was the first time that female athletes were competing in the field of gymnastics. Five women on the Dutch Olympic gymnastics team were Jewish: Helena-Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Estella-Stella Agsteribbe, Judikje-Judik Simons and Elka de Levie. The team’s trainer, Gerrit Kleerekoper, was also Jewish. The team won the gold medal for women’s gymnastics at the 1928 Olympics, and the Dutch press elevated the women to the status national heroines.

“Everything was taken care of down to the last detail. Nice practice material – not too heavy – logically composed, neatly executed in class, wonderful order and leadership, in one word sublime. …The jury was also enthusiastic and awarded the Kleerekoper corps a total score of 316.75 points, leaving the other teams far behind. With their well-deserved success the gymnasts were the first female Olympic champions in the Netherlands. At a quarter past five, the Dutch flag fluttered above the Olympic Stadium and the National Anthem sounded over the central area. However, the cheers rose when HRH Prince Hendrik stepped forward and shook hands with each of the participants. …and then they, our ladies, to whom we owe the first victory, disappeared under the grandstand to their dressing rooms.”

The Dutch Olympic women’s gymnastics team at the Amsterdam Olympics, 1928. The team won the gold medal. The coach was Jewish, as were five of the team members.The Jewish team members are standing on the first row: From left: Helena-Lea Nordheim (second), Anna Polak (third), Estella Agsteribbe (fourth), Judik Simons (last) and Elka de Levie (second row, first from right). Courtesy of NOC-NSF Gelderland collection

Less then 12 years later that status was forgotten. On May 10 German troops invaded the Netherlands and a few days later the country was fully occupied by the Germans who quickly found collaborators and a Nazi regime was put in place.

Leah, Estella and Elka trained at the “Bato” sports club in Amsterdam, which had been established in 1902 and was one of the largest Jewish sports clubs in the city. In September 1941, the Germans banned Jews from all sports activities, but even after the club’s closure, Jews continued to train and exercise illegally until 1942. From the summer of 1942, Dutch Jews were deported to the East.

Judik Simons married Bernard Solomon Themans in 1935, and they had two children, Sonja (b. 1937) and Leon (b. 1940). After the team’s win, Simons and her husband ran an orphanage in Utrecht, where they lived with their own two children. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the family was given a chance to escape deportation to the death camps, but Simons and her husband refused to leave the orphans. On March 3, 1943, the entire family and dozens of children from the orphanage were gassed at Sobibor.

Helena Nordheim married Abraham Kloot, and their daughter Rebecca was born in 1933. Lea and Abraham were both hairdressers. In 1943, they were arrested and sent to Westerbork. On 29 June 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. The deportees included Helena Kloot, her husband and their ten-year-old daughter, and Gerrit Kleerekoper-the coach of the team- his wife Kaatje and their 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth. They were all murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Gerrit and Kaatje’s 21 year old son Leendert was murdered on 30 July 1944 at Auschwitz, according to the Totenbuch des KL Auschwitz-Monowitz (death register)

In 1936, Anna-Ans Polak married Barend Dresden, a tailor, and in 1937 their only daughter Eva was born in Amsterdam. In May 1943, the family was arrested and sent to the Vught concentration camp in the Netherlands. Approximately one month later, Anna and Eva were transferred to Westerbork. On 20 July 1943, a deportation train left Westerbork, arriving at Sobibor three days later. Among the deportees were Anna Dresden and her six-year-old daughter Eva. They were both murdered. There were no survivors from this deportation. Anna’s husband Barend was deported from Vught to Auschwitz on 15 December 1943. He survived the selection, and was sent to forced labor in Auschwitz III: Buna-Monowitz. On 30 November 1944, Barend was murdered at Auschwitz.

In 1928, Stella Agsteribbe competed in the first ever Olympic gymnastics competition for women. Despite placing 13th in the Dutch team selection event, she was elected to compete in the group competition. The Dutch quite comfortably earned the gold in the five-team competition. Individually, Agsteribbe placed 3rd at the Dutch all-around championships in both 1930 and 1934. At the latter event, she competed as Stella Blits, having married Samuel Blits, also a gymnast with her club BATO. Like several of her team mates (Lea Nordheim, Ans Polak, Elka de Levie, alternate Judikje Simons and coach Gerrit Kleerekoper, Agsteribbe was Jewish. During World War II, she was deported to Auschwitz with her husband and children. She was killed shortly after arrival on 17 September 1943, along with her six-year-old daughter Nanny, and two-year-old son Alfred. Her husband, Samuel Blits, died at Auschwitz on 28 April 1944.

Elka de Levie managed to evade the tragic fate of her fellow Jewish teammates, and survived in the Netherlands. She passed away in Amsterdam in 1979.

Mozes Jacobs competed in the men’s gymnastics team. He didn’t win any medals, I believe he came 8th. He taught physical education. He joined the resistance and participated in acts of sabotage and helped those in hiding. On 1 April 1943 he was caught in Vierhouten and held at the house of detention in Arnhem. From there he was deported to Germany via Westerbork. He was murdered on July 9,1943 in Sobibor.

Cornelis Compter was of Jewish descent. He was a truck driver by profession. He competed in the featherweight weightlifting event at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, where he achieve the 19th place. Hewas a memer of the the Hague communist resistance. He was involved in the distribution of the resistance magazine De Vonk. He was arrested on August 4, 1941 by Johannes Hubertus Veefkind, a member of the Hague Police Intelligence Service before the war. Compter was arrested as a result of an infiltration action by Johannes Hubertus van Soolingen, ordered by Mayor De Monchy in May 1940. In March 1942 he was transferred from the Oranjehotel to Kamp Amersfoort. The same month he was transferred to Buchenwald. In 1944 he was transferred to the Nacht und Nebelkamp Natzweiler. In September 1944 he was transferred to Dachau and shortly afterwards to Mauthausen, where he died of exhaustion on 23 February 1945.

Elias Hyman Melkman was a member of the gymnastics association Plato in Amsterdam. He took part as a gymnast in the Olympics of 1928 in Amsterdam. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 3,1942.

Israel Wijnschenk was also a member of the Dutch men’s gymnast team. He competed in seven events at the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was murdered in Auschwitz on January 31,1943.

Pierre Marie Robert Versteeghwas a Dutch horse rider who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics and in the 1936 Summer Olympics. In the 1928 Summer Olympics he won the bronze medal in the team dressage with his horse His Excellence after finishing ninth in the individual dressage. Eight years later he finished fifth with the Dutch team in the team dressage and placed eighth in the individual dressage.

Pierre Versteegh trained for the Dutch military, enrolling at the Royal Military Academy in Breda in 1906. In June 1909 he was appointed second lieutenant and assigned to the Third Division in Ede. In the years before World War I, and also after the conflict, Versteegh became an active equestrian participant, winning numerous local competitions. In 1925 he was promoted to captain and in 1936 to major in the Army. In 1931 Versteegh had been awarded the Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords.

When the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, Versteegh held the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was also concerned because his wife was Jewish. After the Dutch Army surrendered, Versteegh joined the Dutch Underground, working with the Ordedienst (OD), a fusion of several underground groups. On 2 May 1941 Versteegh was arrested after being found to be a member of the OD. He and several other OD members were kept in the state prison in Scheveningen, later called the Oranjehotel. In March-April 1942 Versteegh and many of his compatriots were tried in Amersfoort, and all were found guilty, and sentenced to death.

On 1 May 1942 the convicted OD members, among whom were included Richard Schoemaker, a Dutch fencing Olympian, were taken by train to Oranienburg, near Berlin, and then transported by truck to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. On 3 May 1942 all of the convicts were executed by firing squad, in groups of 12 each. Pierre Versteegh was among them.

Jan Geert Ankerman was a Dutch field hockey player , he was born in Wommel in Friesland, the Northwest of the Netherlands. He competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics. He was a member of the Dutch field hockey team, which won the silver medal. He played all four matches as halfback.

He did not die in any of the Nazi deathcamps. He was murdered in another concentration camp, by another axis power. He died on December 27,1942 in a Japanese prisoners of war camp in Burma.

Although the Japanese camps were not to the scale as the Nazi camps, they were nonetheless horrific and inhumane and often described as hell on earth

sources

https://www.olympedia.org/lists/3/manual

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/535112/about-elias-hyman-melkman

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/158818/israel-wijnschenk

https://peoplepill.com/people/pierre-versteegh/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-jewish-olympians-among-hitlers-victims/

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/sport/dutch-gymnastics-team.asp

https://peoplepill.com/people/jan-ankerman

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Fred Hockley-Executed 9 hours after Japanese surrender.

Following the Hiroshima bombing on August 6, the Soviet declaration of war and the Nagasaki bombing on August 9, the Emperor’s speech was broadcast at noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945, and did reference the atomic bombs as a reason for the surrender.

The broadcast was recorded a day earlier but was broadcast on August 15 at noon. Below is the translated transcript of the broadcast.

“After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our government to communicate to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which lies close to our heart.

Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone – the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of our servants of the state, and the devoted service of our one hundred million people – the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers. We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire towards the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day. The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood, are the objects of our profound solicitude.

The hardships and sufferings to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable. Having been able to safeguard and maintain the Kokutai,(basically the emperors position) We are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention and strife which may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world. Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishability of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibility, and of the long road before it.

Unite your total strength, to be devoted to construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution – so that you may enhance the innate glory of the imperial state and keep pace with the progress of the world.”

Although the Emperor did not mention the word ‘surrender’ once, there could be no doubt about it, this speech was the surrender of Japan.

Despite this some Japanese officers still felt compelled to execute a British Pilot, even after the surrender.

Sub-Lieutenant Frederick (Fred) Hockley was an English Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm fighter pilot who was shot down over Japan while taking part in the last combat mission flown by British aircraft in the Second World War.

Hockley was born in 1923,in Littleport near Ely in Cambridgeshire. His father was a foreman for the water board and a bell ringer in the parish church. Fred attended Soham Grammar School and was a keen swimmer.

Commissioned in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve he was posted as a Supermarine Seafire pilot to HMS Indefatigable.

On the 15th of August 1945 he took off leading five Seafires of 894 Squadron to escort Firefly and Avenger fighter bombers attacking airfields in Tokyo Bay. They were diverted to a chemicals factory in Odaki Bay.

The 15 aircraft diverted to the alternate target which was a chemicals factory in Odaki Bay. Hockley’s radio was not functioning and he bailed out of his aircraft after it was attacked by Mitsubishi Zero fighters, parachuting to the ground near the village of Higashimura (now Chōnan). The formation, now led by Victor Lowden, bombed the target and completed their mission.

Hockley surrendered to an air raid warden who took him to the local civil defence HQ. The commander there handed him over to the 426th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Ichinomiya.

At regimental headquarters the commanding officer, Colonel Tamura Tei’ichi, having heard Emperor Hirohito announce the Japanese surrender at 12 noon, called divisional headquarters for advice on what to do with the prisoner. The 147th Division’s intelligence officer, Major Hirano Nobou, responded with words to the effect that he was to shochi-se (finish him off) in the mountains that night, despite the fact that Tamura had sought no authority to do so.

Tamura claimed that he was shocked by the order, which he felt was “unkind”, but he could not ignore an order from divisional command. He therefore told his adjutant, Captain Fujino Masazo, that Hockley had to be executed, adding that Fujino should do it so that no one could witness it. Fujino then ordered Sergeant Major Hitomi Tadao to move Hockley to regimental headquarters. There Hitomi was ordered by another officer to take six soldiers into the mountains to dig a grave with pickaxes and shovels. At about nine o’clock at night, nine hours after the Emperor had announced the surrender, Hockley was taken to the grave blindfolded, his hands were tied and he was told to stand with his back to the hole. He was then shot twice and rolled into the hole, where Fujino stabbed him in the back with a sword to ensure that he was dead. His body was later exhumed and cremated after Colonel Tamura began to fear that it might be found.

Hockley’s fate was revealed when Allied Occupation forces investigated and Fujino told the truth about what had happened, though Tamura had implored not to do so. Tamura, Hirano and Fujino were transferred to British custody and put on trial as war criminals in Hong Kong between 30 May and 13 June 1947. Tamura and Fujino cited superior orders in their defence, and Hirano maintained that he had ordered that Hockley be dealt with in accordance with intelligence service regulations and claimed that he had not anticipated that Hockley would be killed. Following differing accounts of the precise wording of the orders, Tamura and Hirano were convicted, sentenced to death and hanged on 16 September 1947, and Fujino was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

I think Takuma’s claim that he was shocked was quite a hollow statement. His supreme superior ,the Emperor, had clearly indicated that all hostilities were to cease on noon that day. Also exhuming the body and then cremating it, is a clear sign he knew that the execution was the wrong thing to do.

sources

http://undyingmemory.net/Soham%20V%20Coll/hockley-fred.html

http://www.sohamgrammar.org.uk/fred_hockley_inmem.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hockley

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The cowardly execution of Sgt.Leonard Siffleet.

Siffleet

The Japanese Imperial  Armed forces did claim they were honorable and conducted themselves in the way of the Bushido. In reality there was very little honour in how they conducted themselves, especially when it came to treating prisoners of war.

The Bushido code consists of a set of 8 virtues, one of them being Benevolence or Mercy this was virtue 3. It goes on to say:3.

“A human invested with the power to command and the power to kill was expected to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy: Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the human soul. Both Confucius and Mencius often said the highest requirement of a ruler of men is Benevolence.”

The last virtue indicates Character and Self-Control.8

“Bushido teaches that men should behave according to an absolute moral standard, one that transcends logic. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. The difference between good and bad and between right and wrong are givens, not arguments subject to discussion or justification, and a man should know the difference.Finally, it is a man’s obligation to teach his children moral standards through the model of his own behavior: ”

Len Siffleet, was an Australian  special operations soldier,born on 14 January 1916 in Gunnedah, New South Wales. In the late 1930’s he moved to Sydney trying to join the Police. Unfortunately due to his eyesight he didn’t qualify to become a Police officer. In 1940 however he served with a searchlight unit at Richmond Air Force Base but was released after three months and returned to civilian life. In 1941 returned to his family to help look after his young brothers following the death of his Mother.

After completing a  radio communications course at Melbourne Technical College, he volunteered for special operations in September 1942 and was posted to the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) of the Allied Intelligence Bureau in Melbourne.

He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to M Special Unit in May 1943. Siffleet joined a party led by Sergeant H. N. Staverman of the Royal Netherlands Navy, which included two Ambonese privates, in New Guinea.

The reconnaissance group commenced its mission in north-east New Guinea in July, trekking across New Guinea’s mountainous terrain.

new guinea

In mid-September the mission, along with members of another special operations team travelling with them to Aitape, were discovered by New Guinean natives. During a short scuffle Siffleet managed to shoot  and wound one of their attackers,and  he managed to get away.However he was soon  caught again  and, along with his companions, was handed over to the Japanese.

The men were confined for several weeks before they were  taken down to Aitape Beach on the afternoon of 24 October 1943. Bound and blindfolded, surrounded by Japanese and native onlookers, they were forced to the ground.

3 men

 

On the orders of Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada of the Imperial Japanese Navy the men were beheaded. The officer who executed Siffleet, Yasuno Chikao, ordered a private to photograph him in the act.

There was absolutely no valid reason for the executions. The men were prisoners of war and should have been treated as such. Even according to their own Bushido code they should have shown compassion. But instead the executed unarmed men who were bound and blindfolded.

The photograph of Siffleet’s execution was  later discovered on the body of a dead Japanese major near Hollandia by American troops in April 1944.

beheading

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Soutce

Australian War Memorial

Find a Grave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pig Basket atrocity

basket

We all know about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime and they are truly awful, mostly even hard to fathom, but we should never forget the crimes committed by the Japanese regime, very often they were just as evil if not worse..

One only had to look at the rape of Nanking or at the actions of Unit 731.

731

After the Allies capitulated to the Imperial Japanese army  in East Java,Indonesia, in 1942, approximately  200 allied troops  took to the hills around Malang. to fight as a guerrilla resistance force. Unfortunately they were eventually captured and tortured  by the Kempeitai,the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army.
Kempeitai

The captured soldiers were forcibly squeezed into 91-95 cm long bamboo baskets and transported in open trucks,the bamboo baskets were usually used to transport pigs, in temperatures reaching 38 degrees Centigrade . The prisoners of war , already suffering from severe dehydration due to the extreme heat, were then placed on waiting boats, which sailed off the coast of Surabaya, the baskets  were then thrown into the ocean. The prisoners were drowned or eaten alive by sharks.

Dutch girl Elizabeth Van Kampen, who was 15 at the time was one of the witnesses, below is her testimony

“At the beginning of October 1942 when my father and I walked over the main road near the coffee and rubber plantation Sumber Sewu, laying on the ridge of the Mount Semeru, when we heard trucks from a distance coming our way. We quickly hid behind the coffee bushes laying higher up than the road, (alas) we could see everything quite well.
We saw 5 open trucks, they were loaded with bamboo baskets with therein laying white men. We heard the men screaming and crying for water and for help in English and Dutch. The baskets were piled up on the open trucks, they were driving direction Banyuwangi.

I was 15 years old and so I could fully understand what was happening there in front of my eyes, but what touched me so much deeper were the voices of the desperate men begging for help and water.
I was hiding behind my father and I heard him softly saying; “Oh my God”.

We slowly walked home but over another road, neither of us said a word. There were no words for what we both had seen and heard…

After the war, I often wanted to talk with my father about that drama we had seen together. Had the Indonesians from Sumber Sewu seen those trucks? I shall never know.”

I believe the drawing at the start of the blog was drawn by Elizabeth

It is important to note that Indonesia was and still is predominantly a Muslim country, pigs are considered ‘dirty animals’ and any contact with pigs is seen as unholy. It is therefor not hard to believe that the allied troops were put in ‘pig baskets’ deliberately to ensure that local people would or could not help them, But even if they would have attempted to help they more then likely would have been executed anyway

Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura, commander in chief of the Japanese forces in Java, was acquitted on war crimes charges by a Netherlands court due to lack of evidence but was later charged by an Australian military court and sentenced to 10 years in prison, which he served from 1946–54 in Sugamo, Japan.

Hitoshi

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Sources

Shark attack file

De Indische kwestie

 

Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal

IMTFE_judges

When we think of the WWII war crime tribunal we usually think about the Nuremberg Trials, however there were several trials for the Nazis weren’t the only ones who had committed war crimes. The Japanese Imperial Army were also guilty of atrocities, and some of them were more brutal and evil then the crimes committed by the Nazis.

The Tokyo trials or The International Military Tribunal for the Far East began on May 3, 1946 and lasted two and a half years. Three broad categories of war crimes were established. Class A charges, alleging “crimes against peace”, were brought against Japan’s top leaders who had planned and directed the war. Class B and C charges, which were leveled at Japanese of any rank, covered “conventional war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”. Former U.S. assistant attorney general, Joseph Keenan, served as the chief prosecutor. He was a Roosevelt New Dealer and had once personally prosecuted such infamous American gangsters as “Machine Gun Kelley”

 

IMTFE_court_chamber

Sir William Webb of Australia served as the tribunal’s president. Eleven judges representing various countries presided. On November 4, 1948 Webb announced that all defendants had been found guilty. Seven were sentenced to death (including the most infamous, former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo); sixteen received life terms (though many of these were paroled in the 1950’s), and two were given lesser terms. Two had died during the trials and one was found insane. Hundreds of subsequent war crimes trials were held in other countries in Asia into the 1950’s. These Tokyo trials, while important, have often remained in the shadow of the more publicized Nuremberg war crimes trials in Europe.2017-3039-01

General Douglas MacArthur was pleased with the Tokyo trials and stated, “No human decision is infallible but I can conceive of no judicial process where greater safeguard was made to evolve justice.…no mortal agency in the present imperfect evolution of civilized society seems more entitled to confidence in the integrity of its solemn pronouncements. If we cannot trust such processes and such men we can trust nothing.”

imtfe

The U.S. and its allies established an International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMFTE) to prosecute Japanese military and government leaders. Twenty-eight high-ranking Japanese political and military leaders, often referred to as the “Big Fish”, along with others were indicted on 55 counts in the most publicized Tokyo trial. The accused group included former prime ministers, foreign ministers, economic and financial leaders, ambassadors, war ministers, navy ministers, and senior military officers. General Douglas MacArthur decided, with President Truman’s concurrence, not to place Emporer Hirohito or any member of the royal family on trial. He was seen by the victors as a much needed leader and symbol for the new, peaceful and democratic Japan to arise from the ashes of WW II. The U.S. was entering a new Cold War era and needed a militarily purged, newly reborn Japan as any ally with Hirohito as its unifying symbol.

1280px-Showa-family1941_12_7

As many as 50 suspects, such as Nobusuke Kishi, who later became Prime Minister, and Yoshisuke Aikawa, head of Nissan, were charged but released in 1947 and 1948. Shiro Ishii received immunity in exchange for data gathered from his experiments on live prisoners. The lone dissenting judge arguing to exonerate all arrested suspects was Indian jurist Radhabinod Pal.Radhabinod_Pal

Following the model used at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany, the Allies established three broad categories. “Class A” charges, alleging crimes against peace, were to be brought against Japan’s top leaders who had planned and directed the war. Class B and C charges, which could be leveled at Japanese of any rank, covered conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity, respectively. Unlike the Nuremberg Trials, the charge of crimes against peace was a prerequisite to prosecution—only those individuals whose crimes included crimes against peace could be prosecuted by the Tribunal.

The indictment accused the defendants of promoting a scheme of conquest that “contemplated and carried out…murdering, maiming and ill-treating prisoners of war (and) civilian internees…forcing them to labor under inhumane conditions…plundering public and private property, wantonly destroying cities, towns and villages beyond any justification of military necessity; (perpetrating) mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the over-run countries.

Indictment 1

Indictment 2

The prosecution began opening statements on May 3, 1946, and took 192 days to present its case, finishing on January 24, 1947. It submitted its evidence in fifteen phases.

The Charter provided that evidence against the accused could include any document “without proof of its issuance or signature” as well as diaries, letters, press reports, and sworn or unsworn out-of-court statements relating to the charges.[6] Article 13 of the Charter read, in part: “The tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence…and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value”.

Numerous eye-witness accounts of the Nanking Massacre were provided by Chinese civilian survivors and western nationals living in Nanking at the time. The accounts included gruesome details of the Nanking Massacre. Thousands of innocent civilians were buried alive, used as targets for bayonet practice, shot in large groups and thrown into the Yangtze River. Rampant rapes (and gang rapes) of women ranging from age seven to over seventy were reported. The international community estimated that within the six weeks of the Massacre, 20,000 women were raped, many of them subsequently murdered or mutilated; and over 300,000 people were killed, often with the most inhumane brutality.
Dr. Robert Wilson, a surgeon who was born and raised in Nanking and educated at Princeton and Harvard Medical School, testified that beginning with December 13, “the hospital filled up and was kept full to overflowing” during the next six weeks. The patients usually bore bayonet or bullet wounds; many of the women patients had been sexually molested.

The international community had filed many protests to the Japanese Embassy. Bates, an American professor of history at the University of Nanking during the Japanese occupation, provided evidence that the protests were forwarded to Tokyo and were discussed in great detail between Japanese officials and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo.

Brackman (reporter at the trial and author of the book “The Other Nuremberg”) commented: “The Rape of Nanking was not the kind of isolated incident common to all wars. It was deliberate. It was policy. It was known in Tokyo.” Yet it was allowed to continue for over six weeks.Nanking

The defendants were represented by over a hundred attorneys, three-quarters of them Japanese and one-quarter American, plus a support staff. The defense opened its case on January 27, 1947, and finished its presentation 225 days later on September 9, 1947.

The defense argued that the trial could never be free from substantial doubt as to its “legality, fairness and impartiality”.

The defense challenged the indictment, arguing that crimes against peace, and more specifically, the undefined concepts of conspiracy and aggressive war, had yet to be established as crimes in international law; in effect, the IMTFE was contradicting accepted legal procedure by trying the defendants retroactively for violating laws which had not existed when the alleged crimes had been committed. The defense insisted that there was no basis in international law for holding individuals responsible for acts of state, as the Tokyo Trial proposed to do. The defense attacked the notion of negative criminality, by which the defendants were to be tried for failing to prevent breaches of law and war crimes by others, as likewise having no basis in international law.

The defense argued that Allied Powers’ violations of international law should be examined.

Former Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō maintained that Japan had had no choice but to enter the war for self-defense purposes. He asserted that “[because of the Hull Note] we felt at the time that Japan was being driven either to war or suicide”.

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One defendant, Shūmei Ōkawa, was found mentally unfit for trial and the charges were dropped.

Two defendants, Matsuoka Yosuke and Nagano Osami, died of natural causes during the trial.

Six defendants were sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace (Class A, Class B and Class C):

General Kenji Doihara, chief of the intelligence services in Manchukuo
Kōki Hirota, prime minister (later foreign minister)
General Seishirō Itagaki, war minister
General Heitarō Kimura, commander, Burma Area Army
Lieutenant General Akira Mutō, chief of staff, 14th Area Army
General Hideki Tōjō, commander, Kwantung Army (later prime minister)
One defendant was sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity (Class B and Class C):

General Iwane Matsui, commander, Shanghai Expeditionary Force and Central China Area Army
They were executed at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro on December 23, 1948. MacArthur, afraid of embarrassing and antagonizing the Japanese people, defied the wishes of President Truman and barred photography of any kind, instead bringing in four members of the Allied Council to act as official witnesses.

Sixteen defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment. Three (Koiso, Shiratori, and Umezu) died in prison, while the other thirteen were paroled between 1954 and 1956:

General Sadao Araki, war minister
Colonel Kingorō Hashimoto, major instigator of the second Sino-Japanese War
Field Marshal Shunroku Hata, war minister
Baron Kiichirō Hiranuma, prime minister
Naoki Hoshino, Chief Cabinet Secretary
Okinori Kaya, finance minister
Marquis Kōichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
General Kuniaki Koiso, governor of Korea, later prime minister
General Jirō Minami, commander, Kwantung Army
Admiral Takazumi Oka, naval minister
Lieutenant General Hiroshi Ōshima, Ambassador to Germany
General Kenryō Satō, chief of the Military Affairs Bureau
Admiral Shigetarō Shimada, naval minister
Toshio Shiratori, Ambassador to Italy
Lieutenant General Teiichi Suzuki, president of the Cabinet Planning Board
General Yoshijirō Umezu, war minister
Foreign minister Shigenori Tōgō was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and died in prison in 1949. Foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu was sentenced to 7 years.

The verdict and sentences of the tribunal were confirmed by MacArthur on November 24, 1948, two days after a perfunctory meeting with members of the Allied Control Commission for Japan, who acted as the local representatives of the nations of the Far Eastern Commission. Six of those representatives made no recommendations for clemency. Australia, Canada, India, and the Netherlands were willing to see the general make some reductions in sentences. He chose not to do so. The issue of clemency was thereafter to disturb Japanese relations with the Allied powers until the late 1950s, when a majority of the Allied powers agreed to release the last of the convicted major war criminals from captivity.

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Sources

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Wikipedia

Law Virginia

 

 

The Nanking Massacre-The Rape of Nanking

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Officially World War II started on September 3 1939,but in all earnestly it had really already started in 1937 with Japan attacking China.

We often hear about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, however the Japanese were as brutal if not more brutal and evil.

The Nanking Massacre was an episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The massacre is also known as the Rape of Nanking.

The massacre occurred over a period of six weeks starting on December 13, 1937, the day that the Japanese captured Nanjing. During this period, soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants who numbered an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000,[7][8] and perpetrated widespread rape and looting.

Some of the pictured below are graphic but it shows the brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army.

A 16-year-old girl who had been gang-raped and infected with venereal disease by Japanese soldiers during the Nanking Massacre.

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A young Chinese civilian kneels down, his hands tied behind his back, awaiting execution by beheading at the hands of a Japanese soldier.

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Dead bodies lay next to Qinhuai River.

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Chinese victims being forcibly buried alive during the Rape of Nanking.

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Chinese prisoners being used as live target practice for Japanese soldiers trying out their bayonets.practice

A grinning Japanese soldier holds the severed head of a victim in his hand.

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Young Chinese men with their hands bound together are piled into a truck. After this photo was taken, the group was driven out to the outskirts of Nanking and killed.

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Although these pictures are graphic in nature John Gillespie Magee  an American Episcopal priest, shot pictures and a film is much more graphic then the pictures in this blog. One photograph  showed the body of a woman with a stick or some other sharp object inserted in her private parts.

I deliberately not include that picture because I will probably have a sleepless night after seeing it and I don’t want to cause that distress to anyone else.

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The Hopevale Martyrs

 


Hopevale

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.

The American Catholic missionaries in Tapaz,Philippines probably could not be specified as vulnerable but the people they cared for were. additionally the missionaries themselves did not pose any threat themselves to the Japanese occupiers.

The Hopevale Martyrs were Christian martyrs who died during the World War II in the present day Hopevale, Aglinab, Tapaz, Capiz, Philippines. The martyrs were Jeanie Clare Adams, Prof. James Howard Covell, Charma Moore Covell, Dorothy Antoinette Dowell, Signe Amelia Erikson, Dr. Frederick Willer-Meyer, Ruth Schatch Meyer, Dr. Francis Howard Rose, Gertrude Coombs Rose, Rev. Erle Frederich Rounds, Louise Cummings Rounds, and Erle Douglas. Despite the order that these Americans should go home because of the war, they refused to leave their mission and eventually offered their lives when they were caught by the enemies.

During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the eleven American Baptist missionaries refused to surrender to the Japanese troops.

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The missionaries took refuge in the mountains of Barrio Katipunan, Tapaz, Capiz. They hid in the forest they call “Hopevale” with the help of their Filipino friends.

On December 19, 1943, Hopevale fell into Japanese hands. The martyrs begged to free the Filipino captives and instead offered themselves as ransom. At the dawn of December 20, 1943, the missionaries asked to be allowed to pray and, an hour later, they told their Japanese captors they were ready to die. The adults were beheaded and the children were bayoneted.

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Banzai-Suicides for the Emperor

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How do you fight an enemy that is not afraid to kill themselves?19026-004-8C3631D6

In the air they had the Kamikaze pilots on the ground they had troops carrying out Banzai charges, how can you fight an enemy that has absolutely no regard for life? Not even their own lives.

How do you fight an army that sees their leader as some kind of divine entity?

One of the great injustices post WWII was that Emperor Hirohito was not tried for his involvement in World War II, even if it had been for the death of his own soldiers who killed themselves in his ‘honour’

He died on January 7 1989 at the age of 88 after having lived a life of luxury, when thousands of young men died for him or in his name.

 

 

“Whenever we cornered the enemy and there was no way out, we faced the dreaded banzai attack.” An anonymous US Marine who was on Saipan.”

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Banzai Charge was a suicidal last-ditch attack that was mounted by Japanese infantry during WWII. Banzai Charge was actually not the real name of the attack, but rather a name given by Allied forces because during the charge, Japanese forces yelled “Tenno Heika Banzai!” (long live the emperor, ten thousand ages!).

During the war period, the Japanese militarist government began disseminating propaganda that romanticized suicide attack, using one of the virtues of Bushido as the basis for the campaign. The Japanese government presented war as purifying, with death defined as a duty.

By the end of 1944, the government announced the last protocol, unofficially named ichioku gyokusai (一億玉砕, literally “100 million shattered jewels”), implying the will of sacrificing the entire Japanese population of 100 million, if necessary, for the purpose of resisting opposition forces.

During the U.S. raid on Makin Island, on August 17, 1942, the U.S. Marine Raiders attacking the island initially spotted and then killed Japanese machine gunners. The Japanese defenders then launched a banzai charge with rifles and swords but were stopped by American firepower. The pattern was repeated in additional attacks, but with similar results.

During the Battle of Guadalcanal, on August 21, 1942, Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki JapaneseColIchikiled 800 soldiers to launch a direct attack against the American line guarding Henderson Field in the Battle of the Tenaru.

 

After small-scale combat engagement in the jungle, Ichiki’s army launched its banzai charge on the enemy; however, with an organized American defense line already in place, most of the Japanese soldiers were killed and Ichiki subsequently committed suicide.

The largest banzai charge of the war took place in the Battle of Saipan in 1944 where, at the cost of almost 4,300 dead Japanese soldiers, it almost destroyed the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th U.S. Infantry, who lost almost 650 men

Banzai charges were always of dubious effectiveness. In the early stages of the Pacific War, a sudden banzai charge might overwhelm small groups of enemy soldiers unprepared for such an attack. However near the end of the war, a banzai charge inflicted little damage while its participants suffered horrendous losses if launched against an organized defense with strong firepower, such as automatic weapons, machine guns and semi-automatic rifles.

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At best they were conducted by groups of the last surviving soldiers when the main battle was already lost, as a last resort or as an alternative to surrender. At worst they threw away valuable resources in men and arms in suicidal attacks, which only hastened defeat.

Some Japanese commanders, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, recognized the futility and waste of such attacks and expressly forbade their men from carrying them out.

Tadamichi_Kuribayashi

Indeed, the Americans were surprised that the Japanese did not employ banzai charges at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The greatest effect of the Banzai charge was not casualties, but the decrease in morale in most allied troops.

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Many soldiers feared “the dreaded banzai attack” and this itself sometimes affected performance in the field. Japanese soldiers however did sometimes surrender, but rarely in large numbers. They were also trained to commit suicide if the attack did not breach enemy lines and this included using grenades to kill oneself and any allied soldiers who were not careful. The weapons used by Japanese soldiers during an attack varied from machine guns, rifles, bayonets, swords, spears, knives, grenades, etc.

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Hisao Tani-Japanese War Criminal

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Tani was born 22 December 1882 in Okayama Prefecture. He graduated from the 15th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1903 and from the 24th class of the Army War College, where he became an instructor in 1924. The College used his texts on strategy and tactics as required readings.

He saw service during the Russo-Japanese War and during the First World War, as official observer for the Japanese government in Great Britain.

From 1935 to 1937, Tani was commanding officer of the 6th Division (Imperial Japanese Army), which was assigned to the China Expeditionary Army in December 1937 under the overall command of General Matsui Iwane. The 6th Division fought in North China during the Peiking – Hankow Railway Operation. Shipped south with the Japanese 10th Army, it took part in the end of the Battle of Shanghai, and the Battle of Nanking.

His troops took Nanking on 13 December 1937. The Chinese army had evacuated the city just before it was taken. The ensuing occupation was therefore that of a defenceless city. The Japanese troops nevertheless carried out unspeakable atrocities: massacre, rape, pillaging and destruction were routinely committed.

Horrible_death,_Nanking_Massacre

During a six to seven week period, more than 100’000 civilians were killed and thousands of women raped. Against this backdrop, Matsui marched triumphantly into Nanking on 17 December 1937 and remained there for several days.

He then served as Commander in Chief of the Central Defence Army before retiring. For the Second World War, he was recalled from retirement to the command of the IJA 59th Army and Chugoku Army District.

After the end of War, Tani was extradited to the Chinese government to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal.

After the end of World War II, the Chinese government demanded that Tani be extradited to China to stand trial for war crimes at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Tani denied all charges, blaming Korean soldiers for the massacre.

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Hundreds of survivors as well as several foreigners who witnessed the atrocity from Nanking Safety Zone, including Miner Searle Bates from the University of Nanking, testified against Hani. He was found guilty of instigating, inspiring and encouraging the men under his command to stage general massacres of prisoners of war and non-combatants and to perpetrate such crimes as rape, plunder and wanton destruction of property, during the Battle of Shanghai, the Battle of Nanking and early in its occupation, the Rape of Nanking, and he was consequently executed on 26 April 1947.

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The Goettge patrol.

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In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception in which one side promises to act in good faith (such as by raising a flag of truce) with the intention of breaking that promise once the unsuspecting enemy is exposed (such as by coming out of cover to attack the enemy coming to take the “surrendering” prisoners into custody). Perfidy constitutes a breach of the laws of war and so is a war crime, as it degrades the protections and mutual restraints developed in the interest of all parties, combatants, and civilians.goettge

A Marine patrol, commanded by Lieutenant-Colnonel Goettge was sent to investigate a report about Japanese in the area who were waiting to surrender. The patrol was ambushed, shot bayonetted and killed. Only three men escaped alive.

Prior to the Marine invasion of the Solomon Islands in Operation Watchtower, Goettge, Division D-2 augmented Marine Intelligence when he traveled to Australia spending a week in Melbourne and a few days in Sydney gathering information on the Islands from people who lived and worked there. In addition to information gleaned from interviews Goettge brought eight Australians to where the First Marine Division was forming in Wellington, New Zealand..

The Marines landed on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942, and within several days rounded up a number of Japanese Navy laborers, who had been assigned to construct the airfield at Lunga Point. Most were malnourished and sick from tropical illnesses.

Information about the strength and location of the Japanese forces on Guadalcanal was sketchy and difficult to ascertain. This resulted in the need for probes into the enemies defenses days after the landing on August 7.

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A Japanese warrant officer was among the prisoners and, after being plied with alcohol, told the Marines that there were a number of Japanese west of the Matanikau River. These soldiers were reportedly sick, demoralized, and willing to surrender. At about the same time, Marines near the Matanikau perimeter reported seeing a white flag flying from a tree.

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These reports, as well as several other similar accounts were given to Goettge. He thought that this might be an opportunity to secure much of the island without significant fighting and he decided to act quickly. He organized a 25 man patrol to land just west of the Matanikau estuary. The plan was to follow the Matanikau upstream, bivouac for a night, then head east back to the Lunga perimeter.

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The patrol consisted of Goettge; Japanese translator LT Ralph Corry; regimental surgeon, LCDR Malcom Pratt; and a handful of scouts and infantry. Just before the patrol departed on the evening of August 12, Goettge was informed by Colonel Whaling, the 5th Marine Regiment’s executive officer, that the Japanese were strongly defending the area between Point Cruz and the mouth of the Matanikau. Whaling suggested a landing west of Point Cruz.

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The Goettge Patrol left at dusk on a tank lighter. However, a flare was seen to the east and the lighter returned to the perimeter, thinking it was a signal to return. The patrol then left for a second time around 9:00 p.m. Despite Whaling’s warning, the boat headed for an area just to the west of the Matanikau river mouth. Before the patrol reached the beach, the lighter ran aground on a sandbar. The coxswain gunned the motor to free the vessel, and the Marines disembarked on the beach around 10:00 p.m.

 

Unbeknownst to Goettge, the Japanese had heard the sound of the stuck landing craft, and began organizing troops on a coral plateau about 200 yards inland from the Marines. Goettge ordered a defensive perimeter established, then took two men, Captain Ringer and First Sergeant Custer, with him to scout the jungle. Not long after they left the beach, the Japanese opened fire and Goettge was killed with a shot to the head. Ringer and Custer managed to make it back to the perimeter.

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Platoon Sergeant Frank Lowell Few and two Marines went back into the jungle to confirm that Goettge was indeed dead. They found his body and took his watch and insignia, so the Japanese would not be able to identify him as an officer. Over the next nine hours, the patrol lay pinned on the beach. The Japanese maintained fire on the American perimeter, but the Marines were unable to locate the Japanese in the dark jungle. About 30 minutes after landing, Sergeant Arndt was tasked to head out into the ocean and try to swim back to the Lunga perimeter, over five miles to the east. Arndt reached American lines around 5:00 a.m., but it was too late to affect the fate of the Goettge Patrol.

During the course of the night, the Japanese picked the Marines off, one by one. The Japanese would occasionally launch a flare to illuminate the beachhead perimeter. However, the Marines were unable to discern the Japanese positions in the moonless night. After some time, Captain Ringer ordered another Marine, Corporal Spaulding, to make a second attempt to get back to American lines. Like Arndt, Spaulding ran off the beach into the ocean, and then started on the grueling swim to safety. He reached American lines around 7:30 a.m.

By dawn, only four members of the patrol were still alive. Captain Ringer decided they stood a better chance in the jungle. As the Marines made their dash off the beach, the Japanese opened fire, cutting down the remaining survivors except for Platoon Sergeant Frank Few. Few managed to reach the trees. He saw a Japanese soldier firing into the corpses of the Marines and decided it would be certain death to remain. Few drew his pistol, killed the Japanese, then made a dash into the sea. Few looked back and saw Japanese troops swarming the beach, mutilating the bodies of the dead or wounded but still alive Marines. Few also managed to make it back to friendly lines by swimming approximately four miles through shark-infested waters. Few was the last survivor of the Goettge Patrol.Guadalcanal_Diary_1943_poster

A slightly fictionalized version of the incident is in the movie Guadalcanal Diary. In the film, the patrol is led by a “Captain Cross” and there is only one survivor, though one Marine is shown running along the beach for help.

 

According to a Marine Corps monograph previous to August 21, a patrol found Pratt’s dispatch case and a cloth with Goettge’s name on it; the monograph also claimed no identifiable remains were found. See Note # 16 at However on August 18, a Marine patrol from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, made a combat patrol in the same area that the Goettge Patrol was annihilated. They reported seeing remains, but Goettge’s body was never found. There are at least five eyewitness reports of finding the remains of the patrol- one from Company “I”/3/5;one from Company “K”/3/5;and three from Company “L”/3/5