Myanmar’s death railway museum educates about World War II

Nay Pyi Taw, Jan 5 (IANS) The Death Railway Museum, which was built at the site of the Death Railway of the World War II in Myanmar’s Mon state, will educate people about the tragedy during the War.

The museum on a 1.62 hectares of land plot, opened on Monday, the country’s Independence Day, showcases the miserable life of the war prisoners who died during the construction of the Death Railway, Xinhua reported.

The Death Railway, located in Thanbyuzayat, was built by the Japanese invasion army in 1943 to support the Japanese war effort by connecting Yangon (then called Rangoon) to Bangkok.

Its construction was notorious for its reliance on the forced labour from the civilian community in Thailand and Myanmar and allied war prisoners.

Thanbyuzayat graveyard is a place where thousands of victims of the Death Railway were buried.

During the World War II, the Japanese invasion army forced more than 120,000 prisoners of war from alien countries and other Southeast Asian nations to build the 280 km Death Railway linking Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar and Kanchananburi in Thailand.

More than 16,000 prisoners of war died during the construction of the railway, or about 38 prisoners of war for every km of the track.

Mikio Kinoshita, a 95-year-old Japanese war veteran who was 24 years old when he was on duty at the railway construction site during the World War II, attended the museum opening ceremony along with his family.

He expressed delight over the opening of the museum to commemorate the suffering and loss of lives caused by the past tragic event.

The museum highlights a coal-fired C-0522 engine, which was used in the Death Railway and the memorial place where the railway line originated.

The museum, which began construction in April 2015 displays historical photos, sculptures and 3D images of the daily life of the prisoners of war connected with the Death Railway.

Recalling the tragedy and taking lessons from it, Chief Minister of Mon state U Ohn Myint wished for a long-lasting friendship between Myanmar and Japan and peaceful development of the country.

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