Following their surrender to the Japanese Imperial Army in East Java, Indonesia in 1942, around 200 Allied soldiers took to the hills around Malang to form pockets of guerilla resistance. They were eventually captured by the Kempetai, the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army and what resulted was a horrific war crime known as the Pig Basket atrocity.
The Allied soldiers were forced into 3-foot-long bamboo cages normally used to transport pigs and were loaded onto open rail cars headed for the sea. Some suggest that pig baskets were used because Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country where contact with pigs is considered unholy, would have discouraged the locals from helping the soldiers.
Per reports, a 15-year Dutch girl named Elizabeth Van Kampen gave this eyewitness 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."
Already suffering from severe dehydration from the intense 100-degree Fahrenheit heat, the soldiers were then transferred to waiting boats upon arrival at their destination and taken out to sea off the coast of Surabaya.
The baskets were then tossed into the waters to be savagely mauled by sharks.
Although the commander of the Japanese forces in Java, Lieutenant Hitoshi Imamura was initially acquitted of the war crime by a Netherlands court, he was later sentenced to 10 years in prison by an Australian military court. He served his sentence from 1946-54 in Sugamo, Japan, and was then released.
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