A Tug of War on Culture and Identity: Perspectives on Globalization from the German-speaking World

They were prisoners of war. In 1941, the Pacific War broke out, and hundreds of thousands of Allied servicemen became captives of Japan. Sent to PoW camps in various locations, more than 4,000 of them were transported to Taiwan, then a Japanese colony, to serve as slave laborers.

Most were young men from the United Kingdom, India, and Australia; their fates intertwined in Taiwan. In fourteen dark and squalid PoW camps across Taiwan, the prisoners toiled in laborious tasks such as coal mining and riverbed digging, overseen by Taiwanese guards. After Japan’s defeat, the prisoners awaited ships to take them home, while the guards were tried at the International Court of Justice.

Wars often disrupt destinies, roles, and values. There is a part of Taiwan’s history that we do not fully understand.

  • Dialogue Participants

    Gerbig Juergen, Director, German Cultural Centre

  • Hans-Peter Fitze, Deputy Director, Trade Office of Swiss Industries

  • Moderator

    Lung Yingtai, Professor, National Tsing Hua University