My name is Barbara Maria Castro Dela Cruz. I was born in Agana on November 30, 1934. I lived with my family in Didigue, Sinajana.
During WWII, I was ordered to work by the Japanese at Tai, Mangilao and Jalaguag, Tiyan pulling weeds and gathering woods. My work hour was usually between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm., and most of the time I had to walk from home to work because transportation was not provided. I worked without compensation.
I witnessed the beheading of three Chamorro men, who the Japanese accused of spying for assisting the American George Tweed. During the execution, I was placed at the front row, a few feet away from the men who were to be killed. It was a painful experience because the Japanese threatened that anyone who looked away or showed any emotion during the execution would be next, saying we were witnessing our mirror that could be done to us as well.
In 1944, my family was ordered to march to a concentration camp in Manenggon, Yona. The long walk lasted 3 days and four nights. I usually sleep at the side of the road during the march. At the concentration camp, we stayed in temporary tents and were not permitted to leave the tent, only to wash clothes at a nearby river or cook food. My father dug a hole in the middle of the tent for us to use as a toilet area.
At the concentration camp, one evening I witness an older Chamorro lady being struck by a Japanese soldier with a bayonet on the side of her face for not obeying orders to not burn fire in the evening. I was scared when I saw the blood rush from her ear. During the war, three of my sisters died, as well as my maternal grandfather died from hunger during the war.
Real People. Real Stories. A weekly testimonial series provided by the Office of Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. The testimony of Barbara Maria Castro Dela Cruz is recorded in the Guam War Claims Review Commission public hearings held in Hagåtña, Guam on December 8, 2003. This story sponsored by the community involvement of Younex Enterprises Corporation. Photo courtesy of Expressions Studio.