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Sandakan Memorial

Listed under Tombs & Memorials in Sandakan, Malaysia.

Photo of Sandakan Memorial
Photo by flickr user angela7dreams
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The Empire of Japan of World War II badly mistreated its prisoners of war with a reputation for inhumanity, and none fared worse than Allied prisoners at Sandakan camp forced on Death Marches into the surrounding thick jungle.

The Japanese ran labour camps at gun point, the purpose of this one was to build an airstrip. By 1945, after three years of Sandakan, most of the inmates were dead, and the Allies were closing in so remaining prisoners had to be moved - 250 kilometres through dense jungle. Already badly malnourished the first march set off on the nine day journey, each man carrying only four days worth of food. If you weren’t fit enough to continue you were shot or left to die, if you made it (around 140 of the 450 did) you were left in crowded huts crawling with disease, after six months only six prisoners were left alive. Before the second march left Sandakan 300 prisoners too weak to march were disposed of and the remaining 500 set off, 180 reach their destination.

Today the site of the camp is a beautiful, peaceful garden and the huge tree the camp was built around still remains. Notes and photos presented by a paved walk take visitors through the history of the place into a hut made of the regions caramel coloured wood where an interesting but not overwhelming selection of artefacts from the camp and the marches are examined. It may seem trite to describe it thus but it’s a classy, careful memorial.

Written by  Gerald Foe.

Other expert and press reviews

“Malacca: the city that best gives a sense of Malaysia's past”

By Rhymer Rigby for The Telegraph. First published 14th November 2008. For us, Malacca was the end of a 400-mile cab ride – which is what happens when you get to a railway station and discover that the next train is due in 2010. Fortunately Malaysian t… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Telegraph, 14th November 2008

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