Mitsui Madhouse

Memoir of a U.S. Army Air Corps POW in World War II


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About the Book

Herbert Zincke was stationed at Clark Field in the Philippines when Japanese aircraft struck there only ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. His unit had retreated to the island of Mindanao when all American and Filipino soldiers in the Philippines were ordered by their commanders to surrender. Zincke was shipped to Camp No. 2 on Tokyo Bay, where he was a slave laborer until the end of the war. Soon after their arrival at the Kawasaki labor camp, Zincke and his fellow prisoners began to call their barracks, which were owned by the Mitsui Corporation, the Mitsui Madhouse for the brutal treatment meted out by the Japanese guards.
During three years at the camp, Zincke faced three life-threatening scenarios. He might survive the malnutrition, disease, and guard brutality, only to be executed with the other POWs if American forces landed in Japan. Ironically, he also faced a threat from American bombers, which endangered Camp No. 2 because it was located in the midst of a heavy industrial area. (Bombs did eventually destroy it.)
This work tells the story of Zincke’s survival and is drawn from the secret diary he managed to keep out of his Japanese captors’ hands. Zincke recollects a terrifying blow from the Japanese camp commander’s samurai sword, the diet of rice and thin soup that resulted in drastic weight loss and an inability to do the required factory work, the POW British doctor who attended the prisoners and was frequently beaten because of his constant efforts to keep the sick men from going to work, and many of the other terrible conditions and experiences he endured during three years of imprisonment.

About the Author(s)

The late Herbert Zincke was a retired chief warrant officer from the United States Air Force. He lived in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Scott A. Mills saw naval service in the Pacific theater. Retired from NASA, he divides his time between Silver Spring, Maryland and Belfast, Maine.

Bibliographic Details

Herbert Zincke with Scott A. Mills
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 194
Bibliographic Info: photos, maps, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1428-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1

Scott Field to Hawaii (April 7, 1937, to Sept 3, 1941)     3

Clark Field, Philippines (Sept 3, 1941, to Dec 24, 1941)     9

Bataan to Malabang (Dec 24, 1941, to April 20, 1942)     16

PBY Flying Boats (April 20, 1942, to May 1, 1942)     32

Under General Fort (May 1, 1942, to May 27, 1942)     38

Surrender and Death March (May 26, 1942, to July 11, 1942)     45

Malaybalay (July 18, 1942, to Sept 30, 1942)     57

Transport to Japan (Sept 30, 1942, to Nov 12, 1942)     62

In the Care of Doc Curtin, Porky, and a Guard (Nov 12, 1942, to April 20, 1943)    71

Master Sergeant Shiozawa (April 20, 1943, to Sept 16, 1943)     85

My Friendly Factory Boss (Sept 16, 1943, to Dec 31, 1943)     92

Never Enough to Eat (Jan 1, 1944, to Oct 31, 1944)     100

Early B-29 Raids (Nov 1, 1944, to Jan 17, 1945)     107

An Easier Mood (Jan 17, 1945, to Feb 25, 1945)     114

Incendiary Bombing (Feb 25, 1945, to June 1, 1945)     118

Sgt. Mizuno (June 1, 1945, to July 1, 1945)     127

Hidatchi (July 2, 1945, to July 17, 1945)     134

Destruction of Hidatchi (July 18, 1945, to Aug 14, 1945)     140

Peace (Aug 15, 1945, to Sept 8, 1945)     149

Epilogue     161

Appendix A: Roster of Kawasaki Prison Camp     169

Appendix B: Kawasaki Defendants at the War Crimes Trials     179

Bibliography     181

Index     183