A Glimpse of Humanity in the Midst of Wartime Atrocities

Entrepreneur and military historian Shalom Lamm has spent many years contributing to the Jewish-American community. Shalom Lamm’s recent work includes Operation Benjamin, a project that provides proper grave markers for fallen Jewish-American soldiers, including one who died following the Bataan Death March.

Most accounts of the Bataan Death March describe it as one of the most devastating events a soldier could experience. However, one soldier, Marine PFC Irvin Scott, lived to tell how an act of humanity by a Japanese guard saved his life.

Ill-trained and inexperienced Philippine and American soldiers were forced to retreat into the jungles of the Bataan Peninsula after a Japanese attack at Luzon. The Allied forces surrendered, but the Japanese marched the prisoners of war 66 miles from Mariveles to San Fernando in groups of 100.

Survivors witnessed their comrades dying from disease, lack of food, being run over by trucks or tanks, and being bayoneted. When they finally arrived at POW camps, PFC Scott and others were ordered to build a road to Tayabas, but Scott had contracted malaria and passed out while working. A Japanese guard secretly provided him extra food and medicine, which the guard hid in a banana leaf and dropped onto the ground. This act helped save Scott’s life.

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