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Shantung Compound

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9780060631123
Author(s): Langdon Brown Gilkey
Format: Paperback
Year: 1975
Edition: New edition
Publisher: HarperOne
Dimensions: 136 x 203 x 17 (w x l x h)
Pages: 242

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Into the Unknown

The letter arrived in late February, 1943, at the door of the house I shared with five bachelor teachers in Peking. Rumors had been going around for weeks that the Americans and the British who were then in Peking would be sent "somewhere to camp." Some said we would be shipped to Japan; some said Manchuria; some, a Chinese prison. These stories increased in volume and in flavor; something was going to happen soon, we knew. So it was with anxious concern that I tore open the long, white envelope.

In stilted English sentences, the official letter announced that "for your safety and comfort" all enemy nationals would be sent by train to a "Civilian Internment Center" near Weihsien. This was a city in Shantung Province, two hundred miles to the south. The letter went on to declare that "there every comfort of Western culture will be yours." For our own well-being we could send ahead a bed or cot and one trunk apiece. We were to bring our eating utensils with us. Beyond these items we were allowed only what we could carry by hand. Meanwhile, the letter concluded, we were all to make preparations for this "rare opportunity" which the Japanese government was providing us.

How do you prepare for an internment camp? No one in the British or American communities knew - nor did anyone know exactly where we were going or what life would be like when we got there. Fur
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