Testimony of Aurea Gonzales on Japanese Atrocities Committed in Tanauan, Batangas in 1945
A Yes, sir.
Q Where do you live?
A In the town of Tanauan.
Q How old are you?
A Thirty-eight years.
Q What is your occupation?
A I am a housekeeper.
Q How long have you lived in Tanauan?
A I was born in Tanauan and lived there all my life.
LIEUTENANT PHARR: In support of Specifications 1 and 2, sir.
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you suffer any mistreatment on that date?
A Yes, sir.
Q How were you mistreated?
A As soon as the people came, we were asked if we had men in the house and I answered [to] them that we had none.
Q Then what happened?
Q Were these Japanese soldiers?
A Yes, sir, soldiers.
Q Are you a Filipina?
A Yes, sir.
Q And then what happened?
A When they arrived, I was about to cook breakfast. It was about six o’clock in the morning. When they lifted the mosquito net of my children, I grabbed this small one. This was the youngest of the five children I had. (Witness sobs.) They took my four children —
CAPTAIN GREER: May it please the Commission, before you recess, Sir, the defense would like to stipulate that any testimony that this witness may have isn’t going to change the facts of the case one way or the other. She has given us a short statement, and that is alright. (To the prosecution) If you prefer to continue — if you have anything that is outside of that —
LIEUTENANT PHARR: It is agreeable to the prosecution to stipulate the remaining part of the testimony as it appears in the statement which the defense has at this time.
CAPTAIN GREER: At this point, may it please the Commission, the defense would like to ask that an explanation be made connecting the testimony of the first three witnesses with the first two Specifications. We can’t see any
LIEUTENANT PARR: I would be glad to answer the question of the defense in that connection. Specification 1 alleges the killing of two people – and 824 other unarmed, non-combatant Filipino and Chinese civilians, by the accused, Taneichi, or members of the Japanese forces under his control
Specification 2 alleges the attempted killing of several civilians.
The purpose of these first four witnesses is to simply prove a corpus delicti. Naturally, we expect to connect the accused up with these killings, otherwise we would not be proving the killings themselves. If we fail to do that, we recognize that we have no case.
COLONEL WORTMAN: Any further comment by the defense?
CAPTAIN GREER: If you are going to prove that any other individuals other than the 826 were killed — or the 824 as are set out in the Specifications — that would be alright, but we have stipulated as to the fact that 826 died during that period, or words to that effect.
COLONEL WORTMAN: Does the defense offer his comments as an objection to the line of questioning of the prosecution?
CAPTAIN GREER: The objection is general to the line of questioning of this witness and to the other witnesses after the stipulations have been made. It seems that we are getting nothing more than a re-emphasis of the stipulations which may go toward the proving of the prima facie case, but has very little to do with the specifications under which Lieutenant Taneichi is charged.
COLONEL WORTMAN: In view of the objection by the defense, a ruling is requested from the Law Member.
COLONEL HAMBY: Objection overruled.
COLONEL WORTMAN: You may proceed. It is the feeling of the Commission that it would like to hear the testimony of the witness now on the witness stand. She will continue her testimony after a ten-minute intermission by the Commission.
LIEUTENANT PHARR: Sir, all members of the Commission are present, the accused and their defense counsel are present, the prosecution is present, and we are ready to proceed.
COLONEL WORTMAN: You may proceed.
Reporter read the last question and answer.)
Let the record show that the witness is here with her small child.
A I was threatened and the Japanese said I would be killed, and then I saw that my children were taken to the dugout. One of the children kneeled and I saw with my own eyes hacked at the nape of the neck.
Q Did you see who it was that hacked one of the children?
A If I will see him now, I can recognize him, but I really don’t know him, because I never mixed with the Japanese in Tanauan.
Q Did the child die as a result of the wounds which he received at that time?
A No, sir, he did not die, but he received many wounds on the head and on the arms.
Q How old was he at that time?
A About eleven years.
Q And what happened to you?
A And the father of that child was taken by the Japanese. He was tied.
Q Did you see what happened to him after he was tied?
A No, sir, the only thing I knew, he was taken away.
A I was carrying this child and I was bayoneted by the Japanese on this left abdomen. The thrust came out on the back part of my abdomen.
Q After you were bayoneted, what happened?
A I tried to fight with the Japanese and also tried to evade his further bayoneting me, and I received wounds on my fingers. This finger (witness indicating third finger) was nearly cut off and, since I was carrying the baby, the baby also received a slight bayonet wound.
Q On what part of the body did the baby receive a bayonet wound? A This part (indicating).
A I ran and they shot me, and here is the wound that I suffered because of the gunshot.
A Not in my house, but in the place where we fled was where I saw many hurt by the Japanese.
Q Would you recognize any of the Japanese whom you saw that day if you should see them again?
A Yes, sir.
A None, sir.
COLONEL WORTMAN: Cross-examination?
CAPTAIN GREER: No questions.
COLONEL WORTMAN: Questions by the Commission?
A I ran for my life and went into the next yard, to the yard of the next house, and hid there. Then two of my children, girls, came to me and one of them told me, “Mother, I was hurt” and she lifted her dress, the bodies of her dress.
Q What [That] is, one of the other children, besides this baby, was killed, and the other two got away, is that correct?
A All of them were able to escape. Only one was hurt or wounded.
Q One besides this baby?
A Yes, sir.
|Photo taken during the war crimes trials in Manila. Image credit: U.S. National Archives.|
1 “Excerpts from the Testimony of Lucio Dimayuga in U.S.A. v Mikio Taneichi, Yuzo Sakata, Taichi Yamada, and Bunji Kanto,” part of the U.S. Military Commission compilation of war crimes documentation, online at the Internet Archive.