Sunday, September 24, 2006

Historic Park of POW Camp

Today, I went exploring my backyard--so to speak. About a mile from my apartment is a historical park. The park is a big museum to the Korean War when all of Gohyeon was a Prisoner of War Camp. It was really enlightening. It was odd to see photos of the valley that has become my new home as it used to be: a tent city for storing prisoners.
I felt more like a foreigner there than anywhere else I have been so far. Most of the people there were younger couples and young families. however, there were a few people there of that "Greatest Generation" that fought WWII and the Korean War. I got a few bows from older men--bows that I didn't deserve. It was an odd feeling, getting respect for something that I personally had nothing to do with. The southern part of Gyeongnamsam, the providence in which I live, was the only part of the country that was never captured by communist forces during the Korean War--in large part because of the intervention of the US and UN forces.

The park was well-laid out and gave me a good feeling for the scope of the camp. It housed over 170,000 POWs (the entire island of Geoje has a population of about 200,000 today) and covered all of modern-day Gohyeon. During their imprisonment, the prisoners were given a lot of freedom to run the day-t0-day operations of the camp and were given quite a bit of independence. This freedom eventually lead to violence in an uprising that saw guards killed and over 2,000 prisoners killed--mostly in clashes between the communists and the anti-communists. When the war ended, the Chinese and North Korean soldiers were returned to their countries--with the exception of above 30,000 that chose to stay in South Korea.

My Geoje POW Camp Album
Visitor information for POW Camp

No comments:

Post a Comment

I appreciate comments. If you have a personal message to me, then e-mail would be best.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...