Family members of former American soldier visit site of old POW camp site in Hiroshima Prefecture

by Kensuke Murashima, Staff Writer

Family members of a former American soldier visited the site of an old POW camp in the Mukaishima area of Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, on October 16. The soldier was held in the camp as a prisoner of war for one year during World War II. He died at the age of 75 in 1997. They looked at the commemorative plaque erected last year near the site of the camp by a citizens’ group based in the city. They also visited a local elementary school and interacted with students.

Edward Malikowski, 87, of Pennsylvania is the brother of Francis Malikowski, who was a U.S. serviceman. Edward and Susan Malikowski, 56, Francis’s daughter, were guided to the plaque by members of the “Onomichi Aka Renga no Kai” (“Onomichi Red Brick Club”), which erected the plaque. Koshi Kobayashi, 74, the head of the citizens’ group, offered explanation.

At Mukaishimachuo Elementary School, the school’s roughly 400 students gathered in the gymnasium and listened to Mr. Malikowski speak. He said that both Japanese and American people were hurt in the war, and that his brother had told him that some Japanese were kind to him while he was detained in the camp. The students sang the well-known song “Furusato” (“Hometown”) in chorus.

Francis Malikowski became a prisoner of war in the Philippines and spent one year at the camp in Mukaishima from September 1944. The visit by his brother and daughter was realized after an exchange of letters between Mr. Malikowski and Mr. Kobayashi over the past three years.

(Originally published on October 17, 2014)