Brain Washing Activities in the Gulag

Once, there were articles regarding the brainwashing of communism among the Japanese detainees in the SovietUnion.  It indicated it happened to everyone.  I have learned that it was the case with most of the general Gulags, and in some places, there was an atmosphere going home to Japan was not a possibility unless they pretended like they were brainwashed.  Threats called “hanging up” were also very common in the name of democratic discussion.  

Gulags in Yelabuga were different, however.  In B Gulag, Wagner, a communist who was formerly a German captive was the master of the room called, “Club.”  There was no such word like “Captive Nobleman,” but he was almost like “Laborer Nobleman.”  He was given his own room with luxury, and was eating “special” food. 

He was in charge of education of communism. At first, he was responsible for brainwashing German captives, but later, he worked on us too.  OnaMemorial Day such as May Day, he gathered the Japanese captives and lectured us. 

Someone who was fluent in German among us translated his talk.  Wagner was fluent in English as well as Russian.  Later, when “Japan Club” was formed, he did not particularly try hard to brainwash us.  The Soviet officer who was also in charge of the club was not that active, either.  He just talked about it once in a while, but was more like a nice older gentleman.  

On May Day and the Memorial Day for the Soviet Revolution in October, we formed the demonstration procession, but it was not an enthusiastic procession at all because we were all so hungry.  Inside the barbed wire, to whom were we supposed to protest?  The only benefit from that was that I memorized that song of May Day.  The meaning of its lyrics is not impressive, but the melody is not bad.  When I was an elementary school child, I remember watching a demonstration group singing this song all surrounded by policemen with sabers.  We were told they were communists.  We were not sure if they did something wrong or were going to do something wrong.  The only thing I remember well is how we glanced at them suspiciously as if they were somehow dangerous.  

The Soviets probably thought it was not worth training to brain wash us officers.  In the Gulag, there was a right-wing group called “Sakura kai.” The members were the young officers who were the graduates of the Army Military Academy.  Some of them experienced the delay of going home to Japan due to some of their activities in the Gulag.

When we lost the war, people who took it hardest were professional soldiers.  Especially, those who were  older  who become officers starting  from being an enlisted soldier must have had a hard time to make a living after they went home to Japan.  Some of them lost their minds because of too much thinking. Those people were separated from us and were under watch.  I know some of them jumped from the window and died.

Those who were from the field of Science in college or the young graduate of the Army Military Academy were easily brainwashed. Watching them, I thought people without experience of philosophical thoughts and innocent were easy to be influenced by Communism.  Or perhaps Materialism may be easy to understand for the people in the Science field. 

In our Gulag, the activity of Brainwashing was not more than what I stated.  However, there were consistent invitation to become a part of the Communism party to the people whom the Soviets found to be important.  According to the rumor, those who promised to become the member of the Communist Party were sent home earlier and kept close contacts with the Soviets in Japan.

There is a story of a young officer who was a graduate of Tokyo university.  He was forced to become a member in this method, and had to keep giving information to the Soviet workers after he went home to Japan.  Later, he went into depression.  Even though he was in treatment for a long time, one day, he jumped out of a window and died.  I feel really sorry.