Monday, Nov.6, 1944
It was just one line in Daddy’s last letter but it set off an earthquake in our families back East: “I suppose you heard about the riot we had here this week when 3 Japanese prisoners started a riot and the guard had to shoot all three of them dead.” First, that news was kept strictly under wraps so Daddy had to warn everyone not to talk about it. Second, the three prisoners had been picked up in the Pacific but transferred to Fitzsimons to be treated for tuberculosis. The Army designated Fitzsimons a center for tubercular patients back in 1941 so there was a mix of prisoners including Germans. Well, the three Japanese prisoners-of-war tried several times without success to commit hara-kiri with whatever sharp objects they could get their hands on. Finally, in this last desperate attempt they rushed the guard. He had no alternative but to shoot them thus fulfilling their goal – dying rather than living on as prisoners.