Rappahannock Community College, Friends of the Library, hosted Sylvia Churchill Prince, author of One Leaf in Time, Thursday, March 30, 2017. The ladies of St. John Episcopal Church, Warsaw, prepared an amazing lunch and graciously served the guests; it was a great turnout, all the seats were filled.
Stale bread, an egg once a week, and sewage overflow were just a few of the memories Prince shared as she recounted the three years she and her family spent in a concentration camp in Weihsein. The compound was a Japanese-run internment camp created during World War II (WWII) to keep civilians of Allied countries living in Northern China. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, December 7, 1941, Prince, only eight at the time, her two brothers, and parents, were forced to leave all the comforts afforded them, and their prestigious home, built by her grandfather. Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor Japanese soldiers knocked on their door one morning and told them they were now prisoners of war. They had seven minutes to gather their belongings.
The imprisoned families stayed in a temporary hold a short while and one day they were packed in trucks and transported to a Presbyterian missionary camp in Weihsein. Ironically, inscribed above the large doors were the words “Courtyard of the Happy Way.” Electric wire encircled the camp. Two thousand people, including 240 children, were forced to live in an area the size of two football fields for three years until the camp’s liberation. Prince so vividly articulated her experience living in the camp, that it generated probing questions from attendees.