Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We Raised the Stars and Stripes Over Japan

by:  Max Brodofsky and Mark S.Schwartz
US & Worldwide Copyright, 1946 and 2011
No portion of this story can be copied, duplicated, or used in reference in any way, directly, or indirectly, without the expressed, written permission of Mark S. Schwartz, email: COPYWRIGHT 2011 all rights reserved in perpetuity
 by Mark S. Schwartz

This is the true story of Max Brodofsky, Pan American Airways' chief mechanic and 153 American civilian prisoners of war who were captured on the third day of the Pacific War on the tropical island of Guam and interned for the duration in the heart of Japan.  Now, for the first time, their complete and compassionate story, told from their diaries, documents, photographs, artifacts, and interviews:  We Raised the Stars and Stripes Over Japan.

Dr. Ping Chia-Kuo and Mrs. Anne Kuo with American flag raised over Futatabi Civilian Internee Camp, near Kobe, Japan by by four American civilian internees, including Max Brodofsky, who was Mrs. Kuo's brother and the author's godfather.

Dr. Ping Chia-Kuo and Mrs. Ann Kuo, learned scholars and published authors themselves, recognized the significance which the American flag and Max diaries would have to future generations, so they preserved them lovingly.  They emphasized that Max's story be told compassionately, truthfully, and completely.  And now, for the first time, the complete story is available.  Please place your name on the pre-publication list.

Copyright by Mark S. Schwartz, 2011, all rights reserved in perpetuity.

Max Brodofsky, 1894-1977

Max Brodofsky in his room at Futatabi Civilian Internment Camp, outside Kobe, Japan, shortly after the Emperor's surrender, August, 1945.  Carrier-based P-51 Mustangs and other planes dropped supplies to POW camps, as Futatabi internees had received word by secret shortwave radio to paint "POW" on top of their buildings/barracks.

When the author was taking a journalism course in high school years ago, his godfather, the late Max Brodofsky, sent him a manuscript he'd written upon returning from Japanese prison camp during World War II.  Max's 13-page manuscript was entitled, "We Raised the Stars and Stripes Over Japan."  Of course, I wanted to write a book about it but Max insisted I wait until I would be mature enough to appreciate the gravity of his story.  I went to college and got a degree in journalism and political science, but I knew Max's story was the best story I'd never read anything about through school.

Max passed away shortly before I graduated from college.  I re-read his manuscript and I noticed in one place, he wrote, "I'll quote from my diary."

It was like the cartoons when a light bulb illuminates your brain -- I set off on a journey to locate Max's diary.  Since he wasn't a blood relative (Max was my grandfather, Harry Shall's lifelong friend), it took over a year and a half to locate Max's youngest sister, Mrs. Anne Kuo, who had preserved Max's diaries, the American flag which Max brought home with him from prison camp, and a list of Max's colleagues and former fellow internees who had attended a dinner party reunion a couple years before Max passed away in December, 1977.  This list became a Rosetta Stone, guiding me to find every former internee on that list and many more.

Some of them had written diaries during the war; one man had a suitcase filled with documents from the prisoners' committees, the International Red Cross, Swiss Consul, and Japanese authorities.  Another had a series of photographs taken with a smuggled-in 35 mm camera.  The photographs include a picture of the American flag flying over the Futatabi Civilian Internment Camp.  

Of course, the American flag is the central piece of Max's story, and the sacrifices by the internees who were never deemed eligible for repatriation because of their value to America as aircraft mechanics, radio technicians, heavy construction operators, roughnecks, grease monkeys, and both hard and skilled laborers.   Soon, only their families seemingly remembered them as the war engulfed all of Japan and all of the world for many years of destruction, starvation, and deprivation.

This story, which has taken years to research, is finally available in its entirety.

Contact information...pre-publication list

(to be continued)

Copyright by Mark S. Schwartz, 2011, all rights reserved in perpetuity.