20 Brutal Facts About Prisoners of War (POWs) – Part 2

1James N. Rowe

James N. Rowe

Special Forces intel officer Colonel James N. Rowe was a POW in the Vietnam War. He spent 62 months in captivity, battled numerous diseases, solved engineering problems to disguise he was an intel officer, and escaped via helicopter by over-powering the guards.

2. At the age of 13, future U.S. President and current POW Andrew Jackson took a saber to the face from a British officer after he stubbornly refused to shine his boots. He then grew fond of the scar calling it his own badge of freedom.

3. A German POW named Georg Gaertner in the US escaped his New Mexico camp in 1945 and stayed on the run for 40 years, before giving himself up after confessing to his American wife.

4. Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill was held POW in South Africa, and after hearing that his release was unlikely, he made a 300-mile escape by jumping freight trains and walking.

5. On August 5, 1944, one of the biggest jail-breaks (Cowra breakout) in history involved hundreds of Japanese POWs attempting to escape an Australian prisoner camp. The Japanese considered the Australians weak because they treated the prisoners well. The breakout ended with 234 Japanese dead and another 108 wounded.

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6Sausage documentary

Sausage documentary

A group of POW during World War 2 recorded a documentary about their imprisonment using a secret camera built with parts smuggled inside sausages.

7. A British Army officer named Eric Lomax (left in the photo) was a prisoner of war in Japan during World War 2. He was starved, viciously beaten and tortured by a Japanese officer named Nagase Takashi. 50 years after he was released, Eric Lomax met his chief tormentor again and they became great friends.

8. Floyd Thompson was the longest-held prisoner of war in US history, spending nearly 9 years in captivity in Vietnam. When he returned, his wife was living with another man and of his 3 children, only his eldest child barely remembered him. Within 4 years of rescuing, he attempted suicide.

9. A Japanese aggressor named Kazuo Sakamaki was captured alive from Pearl Harbor. He was denied his request to commit suicide, and was kept as a Prisoner of War through the remainder of World War 2. He was released back to Japan after their surrender. He then transitioned to a life of pacifism becoming leader of Toyota Motors.

10. Robert Barany was a prisoner of war when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Prince of Sweden and Red Cross negotiated with Russia for him to attend the ceremony.