New book on Santa Tomás by Ex-Internee!

Ex-STIC internee, Rupert Wilkinson, has just released his new book, Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomás, Manila, in World War II

Surviving-a-Japanese-Internment-Camp-2013-WilkinsonDuring World War II, the Japanese imprisoned more American civilians at Manila’s Santo Tomás prison camp than anywhere else, along with British and other nationalities. Placing the camp’s story in the wider history of the Pacific war, this book tells how it went through a drastic change, from good conditions in the early days to impending mass starvation, before its dramatic rescue by US Army “flying columns.”

Interned as a small boy with his mother and older sister, the author shows the many ways in which the camp’s internees handled imprisonment – and their liberation afterwards. He uses a wealth of Santo Tomas memoirs and diaries, as well as interviews with ex-internees and veteran army liberators.

The book reveals how children re-invented their own society, while adults coped with crowded dormitories, evaded sex restrictions, and smuggled in food. It shows how humor kept up morale; and how a strong internee government dealt with its Japanese overlords as they tightened the screws. Using portraits of Japanese officials, the book explores their attitudes and behavior, ranging from sadistic cruelty to humane cooperation, and asks philosophical questions about atrocity and moral responsibility.

Rupert Wilkinson is Emeritus Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Sussex (UK). He has published ten books on aspects of American and British society.

Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomás, Manila, in World War II

McFarland ISBN 978-0-7864-6570-5 . Also e-book.
With 43 photos and internee drawings, and three maps.


Welcome to this site.

Both my grandfathers, Clinton Floren Carlson and Alvah Eugene Johnson, were interned in Santo Tomás Internment Camp during World War II. Grandfather Carlson told me, many times, about the living conditions inside the Camp and how the internees would try to keep their spirits up. Born in Wisconsin, he first came to the Philippines when he was in the U.S. Navy. He lived to age 95 and died in Chula Vista, California.

Grandfather Johnson, however, died of beriberi just before liberation. While researching my family tree, I found out that Alvah had first come to the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. He married a Filipina and they ultimately had 10 children, the youngest of which was my father, Roy Wallace Johnson.

I created this site to honor them and the many others who suffered in, and outside of, the camps. It is my hope that people contribution photos, stories, references and other items to make this a better website.

Thanks for stopping by.