In April 1942, after the surrender of U.S. and Filipino forces on the Bataan peninsula, the Japanese moved their already debilitated prisoners to a prison camp north of the capital city of Manila. Most of those POWs were forced to walk more than 60 miles, a brutal event known as the Bataan Death March. Thousands died. Survivors went on to face a hell on earth in Camp O’Donnell, a former Philippine Army post, now used by the Japanese to house military prisoners.
Conditions were appalling, food and medicine were scarce, beatings common. More than 1500 American POWs died there. At least one courageous American woman tried to help the men in O’Donnell. Her story is at the heart of my forthcoming book, Angels of the Underground.