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STATEMENT OF MISS ANNE KATZ, WASHINGTON, D. C. Miss Katz. My name is Miss Anne Katz. I live at Hotel 2400 in Washington.
I understood that there were not going to be any witnesses when I called up, so I said I would testify and I wrote up a written statement.
Mr. HINSHAW. You represent the Eastern Group of Internees?
Miss Katz. Yes, they could not send a representative. I am not representing any agency. I do work for the War Claims Commission, but I am an individual and I come under the Missing Persons Act personnel.
Mr. HINSHAW. Do you come under the provisions of H. R. 3298 ?
Mr. HINSHAW. Would you like to read it, or would you like to have us insert it in the record as though read?
Miss Katz. I have several copies, and I would rather because I don't see too good.
Mr. HINSHAW. Perhaps I can read the statement for you as you would read it yourself.
Miss Katz. I also have a copy of what was in Newsweek. I don't think you would want me to read it, but it is very pertinent to any amendment of section 5.
I would like to insert that in the record, too.
will present it, I will look it over and see if we can accept it in the record.
This is the statement of Miss Anne Katz:
Reference is made to H. R. 3298, entitled “A Bill to Amend Section 5 of the War Claims Act of 1948, so that internees (American civilian employees of the War Department) will not be denied detention and disability benefits because of being within the purview of the Missing Persons Act of March 7, 1942."
No mention has been made of the fact that many American citizens who came within the purview of the Missing Persons Act were denied disability benefits under both the War Claims Act and the Federal Employees' Compensation Act of 1917, as amended, because of the fact that they were hired in the Philippines. This factor precludes eligibility under the Missing Persons Act of March 7, 1942, as amended, and specific exclusion provisions of the War Claims Act prcludes eligibility under that act.
Civilian employees for the past 9 years have been repeatedly denied disability benefits and medical treatment by the Bureau of Employees Compensation. These individuals received no compensation for either their internment in a prison camp or their permanent disabilities and no medical care whatsoever other than back pay entitlement under the Missing Persons Act.
On the other hand, all military personnel not only receive their back pay entitlement, but detention and disability benefits in addition.
Most American civilians in private enterprise, who worked and were cap tured in the Philippines, were given compensation for imprisonment and disability in addition to back pay.
This inequality of treatment has caused undue hardship, and in many instances, Federal employees have died in the past 9 years due to lack of medical care.
That is a very excellent statement, Miss Katz, and we appreciate having it for the record.
Now, this article from Newsweek
Miss KATZ. I thought that would be pertinent because of the other bill that had a hearing yesterday, on how many were left alive.
As you see by the heading, it says “One in Seven Live.” The percentage for civilian employees are comparable to that.
Also, these fellows have all gotten VA benefits, but if you will look at the second and third paragraphs, the disability induced by deficiencies has never been recognized by the VA as a permanent disability.
Mr. HINSHAW. I am surprised to hear that. I would not imagine that disability in any form would not be considered by the Veterans' Administration.
Miss Katz. It is not recognized.
I have been going to private doctors for beri-beri for 9 years now, and paying my own bills because I don't get it. The consensus of opinion among most of the doctors was that if
you ate 2 or 3 years after imprisonment, even though you had not had it, that you would not have recurrent beri-beri. I happen to have a severe case right this minute.
Deficiency diseases and starvation are hard diseases to recognize as to what they do emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Mr. HINSHAW. I should imagine, but not having experienced it myself, it is hard for me to say. But I can observe that there have been very many cases from among the internees of the Philippines who have been very vitally affected. That would include both the military and civilian personnel.
It seems to me that the Veterans' Administration, in a statement presented to the committee yesterday, although it was not inserted in the record because we held no hearing, states that the Veterans’ Administration is making a study of these cases at the present time and I presume will be ready in due course to report.
I would also think that the Public Health Service might make a report on that very soon as undoubtedly they have had plenty of experience under the War Claims Act with internees of the several prison camps, Santa Tomas, Los Banos, and so forth, in the Philippines, and would be able to make a report in some detail, I should think.
Now, this article of March 15, 1954, from Newsweek magazine is not exceedingly long and I think ought to be included in the record at this point. As it sets forth some of the very serious disabilities and probable causes of those disabilities, we ought to in this committee study them. (The document referred to follows:)
[From Newsweek, March 15, 1954]
ONE IN SEVEN LIVES
To some 2,000 men in the United States, the coming of spring brings bitter memories. A dozen years ago this April, after several months of starvation and illness, these and other Americans on Bataan surrendered to the Japanese beginning an odyssey of death and disease that continues today.
The story of Bataan's aftermath, as related last week in Washington, D. C., by Col. Harold W. Glattly, Chief Surgeon on Bataan and now Personnel Chief for the Army Surgeon General, is grim indeed. Of more than 12,000 American soldiers who surrendered on April 9, 1942, only an estimated 4,000 came out of Japanese prison camps. “Today,” said Colonel Glattly, "one 1 in 7 of us is alive."
A check with the War Claims Commission, with Louis Morton, author of the official United States Army history, The Fall of the Philippines, and with some of the survivors shows that as of this week :
Poor health forced about 90 percent of the Bataan regulars to retire.
The medical consensus is that the life expectency of these survivors has been reduced by at least 10 to 15 years. Almost every man has some ailment which he traces to his imprisonment; most have several.
While the neuropsychiatric rate on Bataan and during the fighting was low, many of the men are now depressed and despondent. Several have committed suicide. A Bataan brigadier general put it this way: "If I had to go through Jap prison and the aftermath again, I know I would kill myself.”
"Bataan,” said Colonel Glattly, “was a medical rather than a military defeat. By the time of surrender, there was hardly a person who didn't have malaria. Quinine ran out. Superimpose this on starvation, and add a little dysentery
* I got so I couldn't go 200 yards without blacking out.”. Calorie deficit: Louis Morton fills in the tragic story. “The number of men brought down by malnutrition and vitamin deficiency diseases increased * * * with the passage of time and the successive cuts in rations. During January 1942, a ration had provided 2,000 calories a day for each man. In February, the figure declined to 1,500 calo es, and ing March it was only 1,000 calories daily."
Defense of the line on Bataan, Colonel Glattly estimates, required an expenditure of energy of at least 3,500 to 4,000 calories a day for each man. Serious muscle waste and depletion of fat reserve were noticed everywhere; beriberi (an Oriental disease of the peripheral nerves, with partial paralysis and swelling of the legs, caused by vitamin B complex deficiency) became almost universal. By early March "physical reserves” had disappeared: at the end of the month, the men were “deteriorating rapidly.". The two general hospitals on Bataan, designed for 1,000 beds each, soon had a total of 6,000 to 7,000 American and Philippine patients. Said one officer : "The men were so weak that many were just able to fire a rifle out of the trench, and no more.'
Weight loss : In this debilitated state, the men of Bataan began the “death march” to prison camps and more than 3 years of neglect and starvation. When they were liberated, men like Colonel Glattly, who had weighed 175 pounds or more, were down to 80 or 90 pounds. The most famous survivor, Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright, was a 6-foot skeleton, weighing only 120 pounds, when released from a Manchurian prison camp in August 1945. Wainwright never recovered his health; he died 8 years later from a blood clot in the brain.
Today, the Japanese prison camp survivors and the doctors who know them well have another complaint. American medical men, they say, are not trained to understand the problems of prisoners of war who suffered from starvation and malnutrition for prolonged periods; they have seen so few cases of this nature that they are inclined, in some instances, to discredit the ailments.
“Many of the POW's have a specific disease such as blindness or severely damaged hearts,” said a sympathetic physician. "These conditions usually have been evaluated by the Veterans'. Administration, and compensation arranged. But others *** with vague histories of repeated attacks of abdominal pain, swollen joints, high blood pressure, and lack of energy, have entered VA hospitals for treatment and evaluation, and have been discharged "not improved, and not service connected (the disease not caused by prison camp life), and with 110 compensation."
Research: To fill the vital gap in medical knowledge in the United States, Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois recently introduced a bill in the Senate to set up the machinery “to study mental and physical consequences of malnutrition and starvation suffered by prisoners of war and civilians during the Second World War and in Korea.” With the War Claims Commission as coordinator, the bill would pr for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Veterans' Administration to grant research contracts to see what prolonged starvation and prison treatment eventually do to the human body. The Bataan survivors are hoping for the bill's passage. “It's probably too late to help us,” said one veteran of the long and weary struggle for life, but it might help others."
Mr. HINSHAW. Do you have any other comments to make, Miss Katz?
Miss Katz. No, sir. I think it is mostly in the record and I think that American citizens who volunteered for duty and were captured in line of duty should not be penalized even though it is 9 years later. Mr. HINSHAW. Well, we have just come around to finding out about it. We thought we had included practically everyone who was interned, but apparently we left them out and it was an oversight, I assure you.
Miss KATZ. Thank you very much.
Mr. Frank Wilson has appeared before the committee several times in the past and was one of the proponents, the original proponents, of the War Claims Act of 1948.
In fact, he was very instrumental in its passage.
We are delighted to have you here, Mr. Wilson. We understand that you had a very hectic airplane ride in reaching here. The full committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce has jurisdiction over civil aviation. It may be that that committee will want to find out a few things about the ride and the weather reporting and the pilot's action in accordance with it.
Mr. Wilson, we are delighted to have you present testimony again before this subcommittee and your words will be brought to the full committee by the subcommittee.
Would you proceed, please.
INTERNEE COMMITTEE, PASADENA, CALIF.
I wish this committee to report favorably on H. R. 3298, a bill to amend section 5 of the War Claims Act of 1948, so that internees will not be denied detention and disability benefits hereunder because of being within the purview of the Missing Persons Act of March 7, 1942.
These American citizens numbering approximately 1,500, are persons who were hired by the United States Government in the Philippines to help with the preparation of the war effort in 1941, as I was. My job was to make land mines to stop the Japanese invasion in October 1941.
I would like to emphasize that statement. I turned out 2,200 mines a day.
My salary was the same as native hire in the Philippines *** not the salary of a Government worker who came under the Civil Service Act.
I was allowed no social security, no medical attention, other than what I could get from my medical Army friends. We were a group of American citizens who set out to help the Nation in time of emergency, without thought of compensation, citing my own case I left a position and business that paid me 20 times as much salary as I received from my work with the emergency Army civilian job.
Why were we excluded from benefits in the War Claims Act? Employees of the United States Government are within the purview of the Missing Persons Act:
Pursuant to the provisions of this act, these employees received their pay and allowances for the period they were detained by the enemy, or were officially reported missing.
The War Claims Act denies benefits to persons covered by the Missing Persons Act. That is the reason they were excluded from benefits.
* * *
Now, these United States Government employees hired in the Philippines were hired at native wages, as the Philippine Government objected to the Armed Forces paying United States wages to those hired in the Philippine Islands as such persons hired in the Philippines.
In other words, the Philippine Government did not want anybody to be paid more than the Filipino citizen.
The social-security laws of the United States, and other benefits awarded such persons hired in the United States of America, are not applicable to those hired in the Philippines. That is a discrimination.
So these unfortunate people received salary according to the text of the act, the salary of a native worker. They are not eligible for any Federal-security benefits;.they are not eligible to be rehired in the United States. This is discrimination. These loyal Americans gave up money, positions, to help the war effort. Many died in that effort. Many were decorated. So, why not benefits in the War Claims Act?
I don't think I will put the rest of this testimony in because you have already covered it.
Mr. HINSHAW. That is all right. You put it in. Mr. Wilson. I am the person who sought some compensation for all prisoners-of-war and American civilian internees, 1926, 1947, 1948. Some benefits from the assets of the former enemy governments to repay in part for the torture and suffering of all Americans who were subjected to enemy prison life, and it was only the Honorable Carl Hinshaw who did something about it by the introduction of H. R. 4404 in 1947. I am very familiar with the conditions of many Americans who went through this suffering. Their health today is very bad.
I will interject here, gentlemen, I have in my list 3,600 people and being the chairman of the American Internee Committee for the past 6 years I have helped hundreds and hundreds of people to get benefits. I have given them food; I have got them medical treatment from doctors and clinics in the West and all over the country. I have had to go to welfare departments in various cities in the country. I have had the Kiwanis, the Lions Club, and even the Optimist Club help these people in time of need.
I know the conditions of many of these people, believe me.
So their health today is really sad and what they get from charityand who wants charity, especially when you did your job in a time of need—they are in many cases in need of charity and I have hundreds of affidavits from such persons as to their health and welfare.
I invite you to read some of them.
In the Interstate and Foreign Commerce office in 1950 I gave to Mr. Layton, about 900 certified statements of former Government workers, and they are still there, showing their health conditions in 1950, their monetary condition. In other words, what they have in their bank, if they own their own home, and the whole statement is over there in their office.
I invite any member of the committee to read those. It is very interesting.
Mr. HINSHAW. That group of statements was placed in the clerk 's office in connection with what legislation ?
Mr. WILSON. With this same legislation.