A Survivor's Testimony on the Japanese Massacre of Her Family in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore A Survivor's Testimony on the Japanese Massacre of Her Family in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

A Survivor's Testimony on the Japanese Massacre of Her Family in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945

The 10th of February 1945 is a day one Justina Manlisik of Tanauan, Batangas, would not have forgotten. That day, her entire family was massacred in their own home while she was fortuitously hidden in the toilet. After the conclusion of the war, she would be called to testify in war crime trials against the Japanese by the United States Army Judge Advocate’s Office.

Below is the full transcription of her testimony, copied verbatim but corrected for grammar from actual war crimes documentation1. Pagination is as provided in the original document for citation purposes.

Victims of Japanese atrocity
A victim of Japanese atrocities in Batangas.  Photo unrelated to the testimony.  Image credit:  United States National Archives.

Doc. No. 2877 Page 1


called as witness on behalf of the Prosecution, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows through Interpreter Dionisio, with Interpreter Rodas acting as “check” Interpreter:


Q (By Captain Pace) State your name.

A Justina Manlisik.

GENERAL REYNOLDS: Is this still Item No. 93?

CAPTAIN PAGE: 54, Sir, and 1.

Q (By Captain Pace) Give your name, please.

A Justina Manlisik.

Q Where do you live?

A I live in Tanauan, Batangas.

Q Were you living in Tanauan, Batangas on February 10, 1945?

A Yes, sir.

Q On that morning, at about 5 o’clock, did the Japanese come to your house?

A Yes, the Japanese came to our house at about 5 o’clock in the morning.

Q Tell the Commission what happened.

A They brought with them a piece of rope to tie the hands of my parents; tie the hands of all of us. When I saw that the Japanese were going upstairs, I went down and hid inside the toilet. Well, I was already hidden in the toilet and I saw my parents were already tied, especially the small children, too.

Q How many people were tied by the Japanese?

A 34.

Q Were they all in your family?

A Yes, all our family.

Q What did they do with the 34 members of your family?

A They struck [them] with their bayonets in their chests.

Q Did they take them out of the house?

A Yes.

Q When did you next see the members of your family?

A At about 4 o’clock, I went out and I saw that my parents were already dead; all of them were dead.

Q All of them dead?

A Yes.

Doc. No. 2877 Page 2

Q What happened? How had they been killed?

A They [were] struck with their bayonets.

Q All of your family had been bayoneted?

A Yes.

Q When you say all of your family, do you mean that all 34 of them died?

A Yes, 19 children and 15 older people.

Q 19 children?

A Yes.

Q What were their ages?

A Their ages, the youngest was 2 years, and the oldest was 10 years old.

Q What else did you see?

A One of my sisters was pregnant and they slashed her stomach open and when the baby came out, they cut its head off (Weeping).

CAPTAIN PAGE: You may cross-examine.


Q (By Captain Sandberg) Do I understand —

GENERAL REYNOLDS: Is cross-examination of this witness considered essential?

CAPTAIN SANDBERG: We will waive the cross-examination.

CAPTAIN PACE: Thank you very much.

(Witness excused).

Doc. No. 2877 Page 3


I, T. R. C. King, Major, Inf. (TD), Executive Officer, Legal Section, General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, do hereby certify that Document 2877 is a true and correct copy of the transcript of the testimony offered by JUSTINA MANLISIK in the trial of the case against Tomoyuki YAMASHITA, General, Imperial Japanese Army, before a Military Commission in Manila; and that the whole record of the case, including the transcript of all testimonies taken, as well as the affidavits admitted in evidence, are now on file with this Section.

/s/ T. R. C. King
T. R. C. King,
Major, Inf. (TD)

Witness: /s/ John R. Pritchard

Sworn to before me this 20th day

of November, 1946, Tokyo, Japan.

John R. Pritchard.
Capt., Inf.
Summary Court.

Notes and references:
1 “Document No. 2877, Testimony of Justina Manlisik,” official documentation of war crimes trials by the US Army Judge Advocate’s Office, Western Pacific Theater, 1945.
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