Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Hellhole Restaurant

Here Powerline points out the fiendish diet in the Hellhole at Gitmo, consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, starches, proteins, etc. As I'm sure is true with all institutional menus, it sounds better on paper than it does in the cafeteria (so to speak) -- but then again, we all remember our school lunches. I thought I'd contrast this Hellhole cuisine with the diet in a few places Durbin mentioned (and a few he didn't) when castigating Gitmo: Auschwitz: Those Auschwitz prisoners "lucky" enough to be used as slave labor for I.G. Farben's factory, got a special "high nutrition" diet denied to the other prisoners:

Starvation was a permanent guest at Auschwitz. The diet fed to I.G. Auschwitz inmates, which included the famous `Buna Soup' - a nutritional aid not available to other prisoners - resulted in an average weight loss for each individual of about six and a half to nine pounds a week. At the end of a month, the change in the prisoner's appearance was marked; at the end of two months, the inmates were not recognizable except as caricatures formed of skin, bones, and practically no flesh; after three months, they were either dead or so unfit for work that they were marked for release to the gas chambers at Birkenau. Two physicians who studied the effect of the I.G. diet on the inmates noticed that `the normally nourished prisoner at Buna could make up the deficiency by his own body for a period of three months....The prisoners were condemned to burn up their own body weight while working and, providing no infections occurred, finally died of exhaustion.'
This comes from a heartrending article about a survivor:
Among the few child surviors of Auschwitz was an 11-year-old girl, Rena Marguilies -- my mother. *** My mother described the last time she saw her 9-year-old brother Romek -- the day he was selected to be gassed. "He took this piece of bread and threw it here over the fence to my mother and said, 'You take it. I won't need it any more.' And then he started crying and ran away into the barrack." Shipped in a cattle car from the slave labor camp Blizyn, my mom was tatooed upon arrival: prisoner A-15647. Her bed was a wooden slat, shared with nine people. Starvation was the daily diet: chicory-flavored water masquerading as coffee ... a sliver of bread ... and a bowl of watery soup.
One more about Auschwitz:
The people stepping off the car one by one were sorted by their age, profession, and ability to work as slave laborers. If the answer regarding your age and ability to work was to their liking you were told to go to left side, the children and elderly people were told to go to the right side. This sorting continued on for the whole day. The people on the right side went straight to the gas chambers as they were of no use for the Nazis. The people on the left side were then taken under guard to a big yard, had to take off their clothing, all of their jewelry and all were shaven from head to toes, all together, girls, boys, men and women. We were all issued striped uniforms, like pajamas. After this we were taken to the camp barracks, like bungalow, with nothing in it. The guards pushed everyone in until it was full. There was no place to turn, we were squashed like sardines. Later on we were given soup made of onion and potato skins and horsemeat. That was the daily food. At night there was enough room to sleep on one side, but not for turning.
The Killing Fields of Cambodia: As one history states, "[m]illions of Cambodians accustomed to city life were now forced into slave labor in Pol Pot's "killing fields" where they soon began dying from overwork, malnutrition and disease, on a diet of one tin of rice (180 grams) per person every two days. The Japanese Concentration camps in the South East: Marines imprisoned by the Japanese during WWII in Fukuoka Camp #1 on the Island of Kyushu:
The basic ration per prisoner per day was 300 grams of a mixture of rice, kafir corn and rolled barley, 100 grams of greens and 10 grams of fish, all boiled. The food generally was inferior in quality due in large part to pilferage by Japanese camp officials of better quality camp rations, and articles removed from Red Cross parcels on a selective basis. In American measurement of this ration, the equivalent is approximately 3/4 of a canteen cup of steamed rice and 1/2 of a canteen cup of soup. One small bun was added occasionally. This ration equaled 1500 calories. The food was prepared by British prisoner of war cooks. The diet was supplemented at long intervals by such perishable food as meat, fresh fish and vegetables, and on such occasions the regular Japanese ration was reduced. Usually some surplus of rice, dried fish and seaweed resulted when the supplemental food came into the camp. The surplus was pilfered, evidently with the knowledge of the commandant and converted into profit by and for the schemers.
How about the Bataan Death March:
The calculated campaign of brutality began as soon as the exhausted American and Filipino soldiers on Bataan collapsed under the overwhelming weight of the enemy assault. What was in store for them was to begin with “the march of death” — and Dyess reported that, beaten and hopeless as they were, they never would have surrendered if they had guessed what lay ahead. Thousands of prisoners were herded together on the Mariveles airfield at daylight April 10, within earshot of the still defiant guns of Corregidor. Some had food, but were not permitted to eat. All were searched, their personal belongings seized. Those with Japanese money or tokens were beheaded. Then, in groups of 500 to 1,000 they began the terrible six-day march, along the national road of Bataan toward San Fernando in Pampanga province, the “march of death” so hideous that it would make the black hole of Calcutta sound like a haven of refuge. A Japanese soldier took Dyess’ canteen, gave the water to a horse, threw the canteen away. In a broiling sun, the prisoners were herded through clouds of dust. Men recently killed lay along the road, their bodies flattened by Japanese trucks. Patients bombed out of a field hospital were pushed into the marching column. At midnight the entire group was penned in an enclosure too narrow to allow any of them to lie down. They had no water — a Japanese officer finally permitted them to drink at a dirty carabao wallow. Before daylight the next day the March was resumed. Still no food for any of them. — water at noon from a dirty roadside stream. Another bullpen at night. When exhausted men fell out moaning, no one was allowed to help — those who still marched heard shots behind them. On the third day “we were introduced to a form of torture which came to be known as the sun treatment. We were made to sit in the boiling sun all day without cover. We had very little water; our thirst was intense. Many of us went crazy and several died. “Three Filipino and three American soldiers were buried while still alive.” “Along the road in the province of Pampanga there are many wells. Half-crazed with thirst, six Filipino soldiers made a dash for one of the wells. All six were killed. As we passed Lubao we marched by a Filipino soldier gutted and hanging over a barbed-wire fence. “Before daylight on April 15 we marched out and 115 of us were packed into a small narrow-gauge box car. The doors were closed and locked. Movement was impossible. Many of the prisoners were suffering from diarrhea and dysentery. The heat and stench were unbearable. “At Capas Tarlac we were taken out and given the sun treatment for three hours. Then we were marched to Camp O’Donnell. “I made that march of about 85 miles in six days on one mess kit of rice. Other Americans made ‘the march of death’ in 12 days without any food whatever.” The prisoners taken at Corregidor did not experience that march, but 7,000 Americans and 5,000 Filipinos were packed for a week with no food on a concrete pavement 100 yards square. There was one water spigot for the 12,000 — the average wait to fill a canteen was 12 hours. They got their first food — a mess kit of rice and a can of sardines — after seven days. At Camp O’Donnell there were virtually no water facilities. Prisoners stood in line 6 to 10 hours to get a drink. Clothing went unchanged a month and a half. The principal food was rice, varied twice in two months with enough meat to give one-fourth of the men a piece an inch square. A few times there were comotes, a type of sweet potato, but many were rotten and the prisoners themselves had to post a guard to keep their starving comrades from devouring the rotten vegetables. There was an occasional dab of coconut lard, a little flour, a few mango beans. But there was a black market — those who had money could buy from the Japanese a small can of fish for $5.
No link for this one -- just my mother's memories of being a Dutch prisoner of the Japanese in Java during WWII. They got pig food at the beginning of the war; by the end, they were eating whatever plants they could find in the compound. My mother has always been grateful for Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb. She was in the process of dying from starvation when the war abruptly ended, and could not have lasted had the war continued another week.