Two Days After the Japanese Occupation of Manila

American and British nationals were rounded up and deposited on the campus of Santo Tomas University. Though occupation authorities assured them this was a temporary situation, designed to facilitate the registration of enemy aliens in the city, the Japanese had no intention of allowing these civilians to live freely in Manila. Once the Americans and Brits arrived at Santo Tomas, they remained there, behind guarded walls.

Gladys Savary witnessed some of the roundups from the windows of her Manila restaurant. She packed a bag, opened a bottle of champagne, and waited for the Japanese to come for her. Since Gladys’s papers identified her as the wife of a Frenchmen, she wasn’t required to submit to internment after all. Still, she used her freedom to help those inside Santo Tomas, who endured chronic food shortages and cramped living conditions.

When Peggy Utinsky saw Japanese soldiers registering American civilians in Manila, she had no illusions about what would follow. Determined not to be stuck in an internment camp for the duration of the war, she holed up in her A. Mabini Street apartment until the roundups had been completed. Peggy spent time observing the enemy, thinking about her next move. Her top priority: to find out what happened to her husband Jack.

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