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Mr.GSD

accurate info needed 1944-45, `50-53

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Subject: questions re Koje prison camps, 1952 and other info needed for novel I'm writing about a man who serves from the Ardennes through Germany under Patton in Europe 1944-VE-day, and later in the Korean War from 1950-53... I'd like to contact vets who were there. I need more accuracy and credibility.

 

I was never in the military myself, but my "hero" is a WW2 and Korean War veteran and I want to get as close to accuracy as I can. Part of the story involves the Koje camps. I need names and regiment/division info, too. Fred p.s. I was honored to visit Korea in the past year (to judge dog shows), and I visited the DMZ twice.

If you were in Korea in the early `50s or in Europe in the last year of WW2 there, please e-mail me.

 

Forgive me for being so lengthy in these questions. Please help me in gaining historical accuracy -- dates and persons. I understand there were several times that riots in the prison compounds broke out on the island of Koje, some 25 miles off Pusan. I took notes on something I'd read, but can't remember what reference now, and my dates may have been in error. I thought I read that a unit of the 25th Inf. Div., a battalion (or more?) rotated from the front in Feb. 1952 (under the command of a Maj. John Klein?); on the 18th a riot broke out, and a second riot occurred March 13. This time, one American was killed and 39 wounded, while 75 prisoners were killed and 139 wounded. This count did not include the bodies of those prisoners (collaborators) who were reluctant to take part in the revolt and therefore were killed earlier by the KPA officers organizing the revolt. Did these casualties actually happen at that time, March? In another place I read that the battalion was sent in April of `52.

I think I had read that the prison compound that had grown during the 1950-51 part of the conflict, had been turned into a Communist armed camp under the very noses of unsuspecting UN commandants! One such infiltrator was a North Korean general who had posed as an illiterate semi-imbecile of no rank and once in, started organizing the Communist POWs in the prison compounds and planning for revolts. By the time Klein got there (?), all of the prison camps in South Korea were actually under the control of General Nam Il (chief negotiator at Panmunjom? and) leader of the North Korean Army. In some places, they even brazenly flew the red flag over the compounds! The undercover general (under Nam's directions) and his prisoner-officers systematically killed many of their countrymen and Chinese who had surrendered voluntarily to the Yanks during various battles, and others who seemed reluctant to join the underground prisoners’ army. Revolts were staged so they could blame the UN and ROK guards for those deaths.

I got the impression that the Communists at the table in the DMZ used the repression of the revolts as propaganda, adding lies about treatment and murder of prisoners on Koje, and the negotiators and the press at Panmunjom were surprised, because they had less information about how much was fact and how much fabrication in what was going on at Koje. The propaganda made negotiating very difficult.

Was there indeed a Maj. Klein? All Google searches so far have turned up different Kleins in different eras. The only one that sounded like I might have found him was a website, www.grissom.afrc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-051220-013.pdf but I just got "This webpage has been removed". Do I have several riots all confused? Who was the infiltrator NKPA general? I am told that in the book "About Face", Col David Hackworth says the Army decided to tie down a whole infantry division there, not just a battalion.

I may have more questions later. Thanks for whatever help you can give. mrgsd@hiwaay.net

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