World War II Civilian Prisoners of War
Official government statistics show that 14,000 American civilians were among these prisoners, with 7,300 held in the Philippines, 3,300 in China, and the rest scattered throughout the Pacific Islands and other Asian locations. Of these, a total of 11% either died in captivity or disappeared. Another 2,000 Americans who were captured by the Japanese were returned home in prisoner exchanges that occurred in 1942 and 1943.
The CPOW (formerly BACEPOW) organization is dedicated to supporting and telling the story of all of these people who were captives of the Japanese. Though the organization was founded in the San Francisco area, its membership is now nation-wide, with members in several other countries. We welcome those who were civilian and military prisoners, their families and friends, and those who are interested in the history of the prison camps in East Asia. Our primary focus is on the prison camps in the Philippines, where most of our ex-POW members spent more than 3 years under the inhumane treatment of the Japanese occupying force.