Author's Preface

After my return to the South, my life has been one worth living. However, not a moment goes by that I don’t think about my siblings and my children, who struggled and starved with me in the North. I also remember my colleagues, the thousands of South Korean POWs. We had all suffered the oppression of the North, together.

I cannot help but wonder how thrilled they would be to see what a prosperous and happy nation the South has become. If they could see their fatherland for just one day, they would see that the suffering they went through for the Republic of Korea was not in vain. I know that they would be proud to have served the nation. 

To date, seventy-nine South Korean Prisoners of War have succeeded in escaping to the South. Sixteen of those escaped prisoners have died after only a few years in the South. I often wonder how many of the prisoners are still alive the North. They must all be around eighty now. Their time is running out. Even now, if only the government would take greater interest in their plight, and bring these prisoners home, then they could live out the ends of their lives as free men.

The escaped POWs and their families have established the Family Union of Korean POWs Detained in North Korea, and the Union is collaborating with other international human rights organizations. North Korea still insists that they are not holding any POWs against their will. The Family Union has gathered the testimonies of the escaped POWs to prove that this claim is false. I sincerely hope that the South Korean government will take this problem seriously and bring the POWs home as soon as possible. 

Young-Bok Yoo
May, 2011