The camp was a former missionary school. The Japanese claimed the best accommodation for themselves, leaving the lesser buildings for the internees: classrooms, student rooms, storerooms, etc. - within an area only 200 yards by 150 yards.
Right: the largest of the internee buildings, block 23 (in pre-war days). Converted into a series of dormitories, it was sleeping quarters for hundreds of single men. Prentice being one of them for more than two years.
Left. Where possible, families were provided with a small room of their own. Designed for one student, they sometimes accommodated a family of half a dozen.
Werner shared similar with another elderly gent in block 24 - next door to Prentice.
Werner openly and loudly accused the dentist of his daughter's murder, something that must have added to the stress of camp life for everyone.
Fred Knauf got to endure the camp for six months before being included on the only group of Weihsien internees to be repatriated.
Prentice and Werner remained for the duration.
Right: joyful internees celebrating their liberation in 1945. By this time food rations had been cut back severely. Malnutrition would have soon featured.
Werner hated his time at the camp: "A life of socialism, threatening to develop into communism ... each internee was a working ant".
Left: US aircraft dropping supplies.
Liberation day itself brought a few dramas with the uncertain Japanese guards: Brandishing two pistols, an American officer (who with his few men had parachuted nearby), marched boldly past the guards at the camp entrance, entered the commandant's office and demanded that he surrender both his command and his weapon. After a short pause, the commandant slowly opened his desk drawer and slowly handed over his samurai sword and pistol. Things might not have gone so well.
With no transport available, the internees had a long wait to leave Weihsien. Eventually the USAF flew them back to Peking - highly exciting for the many that head never before seen the inside of an aeroplane.
Even Werner found time to praise the efforts of the US troops; praise indeed.