Friday, September 15, 2006
POWs Not Yet Repatriated
I think this is in Saigon. My father (John Stefanek) is to the left of the nurse. Otto Schwarz (with no shirt) is standing to the right of the nurse. Phil (Joe) Gans is standing to the right of Otto (with a cigarette or cigar in hand.) I don't know anyone else in the picture. The photograph was taken in September of 1945. Photos courtesey of Henry (Matt) and Jane Matthews ( USS HOUSTON -Next Generation). -- Comment from Vic: Note there is some meat on their bones at this point. Otto explained that once they were out of Burma (the Death Railway) and in Vietnam - the food, climate and most conditions improved greatly. The Japanese could ship little rice or other foodstuffs from any port in the last year of the war, so food within Vietnam was plentiful. Of course, after Japan capitulated, and the time this photo was made (probably a few weeks), there was excellent treatment and even better food. In most cases, the former POW's were gaining weight very rapidly.