Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
129Trip End Ongoing
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But Kanchanaburi also buries a very sad history of POWs who were enslaved by the Japanese in 1943-4 to build a Death Railway connecting Burma and Thailand. 115,00 POWs and Asian laborers died during the 20-month construction of this railway. Kanchanaburi has a cemetery, a memorial and a very detailed museum depicting the history of the Japanese occupation here.
As soon as I stepped my foot onto the cemetery, I was overcome with emotions and I couldn't keep it together. One of the first headstones I saw was of an 18-yr old Australian soldier and I just sobbed. I walked along a beautifully groomed cemetery where thousands of British, Dutch and Australian POWs rest in peace
120 Japanese and Koreans were tried for war crimes and 36 were sentenced to death. But it doesn't undo the crimes already committed. It doesn't compensate for the 100,000 Asian laborers who died and whose bodies were never recovered. POW deaths were apparently recorded by the survivors and the Japanese military. But the thousands of SE Asians who were kidnapped, enslaved and subsequently died were not properly buried nor recorded.
"Sad" doesn't even begin to represent the sentiments I have today.