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The Hotel Tacloban

my father and I
Letter from Elmer Voss regarding the liberation of the prison camp in Tacloban on 20 October 1944.
Elmer Voss letter in pdf (195 KB)

In the summer of 1985, Elmer Voss told me that he, 1st Sergeant Gerald Wolpmers, and another sergeant named Moffit then living in St. Joseph, Missouri were part of a rescue team led by Captain Lintz. Voss gave me Wolpmers' address in Amazonia, Missouri and I called him right away. Wolpmers was distressed and said he was going to see "a full fledged colonel in Missouri" who was in charge of the mission. Wolpmers never called back but he did tell Voss to retract his statement.

Letter from Ft. Hood curator Rudeford Norman confirming the existence of the prison camp

The initial reviews were great. Critic Paul Bach called it "A soldier's fascinating story of wartime survival and betrayal...a shocking denouement." James Kaufman at the LA Times called it "A very true book and a story well told, chilling in its accumulation." As I mentioned, there has been steady interest in Hollywood. But the powers that be, in industry and government, can kill any book, especially one that reveals their crimes. The closest I ever got to official confirmation was the letter to left from the curator at Ft. Hood, Rudeford Norman. But as my father and I learned the hard way, the only truth is official truth, even when the official truth is a Big Lie.

In the 26 September 1984 Christian Science Monitor, reviewer Thomas D’Evelyn said, "After the dust settles, The Hotel Tacloban will be there, bearing witness to man’s inhumanity to man, to the impotence of pain, and to the durability of the love of father and son. It sheds light on these dark times. Read it.”

letter from Robert F. Goheen (174 KB)

Goheen was an army intelligence officer with General Douglas MacArthur's forces that invaded Leyte in October 1944.

document citing "unknown POW camp" with 109 Australian soldiers (320 KB)

The Australian War Memorial sent me a list of POW camps where Australian soldiers were held, including those whose location were unknown. One camp was said to have six officer and 109 enlisted men. Curiously, my father said the Hotel Tacloban had about 120 Australian soldiers.

from Parade Magazine 17 June 2001