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American internees of the University of Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila during the Japanese occupation in the Second World War will make a sentimental visit of the school this February in connection with the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Manila.
The Battle of Manila began on February 3, 1945 and ended on March 3, 1945.
Some 20 of the surviving internees and their families will be on hand when the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences opens an exhibit commemorating the camp, said to be the largest internment camp in the Philippines set up by the Japanese.
The exhibit, which will run from February 3 to March 7 at the UST Main Building, will feature archival pictures, memorabilia and books showing the role of Santo Tomas as internment camp during World War II. It will also feature the list of names of all the internees
At the UST Faculty of Civil Law on opening day at 10am, there will be a panel talk by internees and commemorative lectures open to the public.
The last time the museum had an exhibit about what had been called as the “Santo Tomas Internment Camp” was during the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Manila in 2005.
Aside from being largest internment camp in the country, the UST camp also had the largest number of internees; at one time, it had at least 7,000 internees, mostly Americans.
UST, founded in 1611 by the Dominican order, is the oldest university in the Far East. Although its original campus was in the walled city of Intramuros, it relocated its campus in the 1920’s to what was then a swamp land north of Manila — in Sinulucan or Sampaloc.
The sprawling campus covered 21 hectares and was quickly chosen by the Japanese invaders to be an internment camp for civilians and non-combatants.
It was the same campus that Pope Francis visited last Jan 18 during his highly successful Philippine visit.
For details contact UST Museum at +63 2 7811815 or +63 2 4061611 local 8337.
Photo: Screengrab from ‘Battle of Manila’ documentary produced by the US Department of Defense / Creative Commons
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