The Thai-Birma railroad

 Updated: 02/10/2010

The Thai-Birma railroad began in Pong Ban in Thailand and ended in Thanbyuzayat in Birma and was 415 km long [1]. 5 years the British have built already before the 2nd world war at the railway [2]. Under Japanese 68,000 Allied Prisoners of War and 200,000 native compulsion workers finished the total distance within only 16 months. 96,000 did not survive the forced labor in the murderous jungle, from that, 16,000 Allied Prisoners of War [1]. Near Konyu-Hintu died alone 700 Prisoners of War, in order to beat a route of 5 kms in only 12 weeks into a mountain covered by the jungle. For commemoration of this act of barbarism in April 1987 the "Hell-Pass-Memorial" donated by the Australian government and the Australian Birma Chamber of Commerce were erected [1].
From the end points the two teams worked one's way forward and then met in Konu in Thailand, close to the Three Pagoden Pass, on October 17th, 1943 [2].

Forced laborer building the Thai-Birma railroad [2]

The railway was constructed with a minimum to machines and a maximum at human physical strength. In order to carry out a bursting in the rock punctures were drilled in the ground and provided with a charge dynamite. Then the compulsion work must climb down at the cable in order to ignite the fuse. They had then to climb up fast again, in order to come off from the field of bursting [1].

The bridge over river Kwai Yai [2]

The bridge was situated 4 kilometres north of the center of the Kanchanaburi and spanned the river Kwai Yai. The bridge was brought by the Japanese army from Java and assembled at the river Kwai Yai by Prisoners of War [1]. The bridge was not made by bamboo stems as shown in the movie of 1957 "The River Kwai Bridge" but it was a steel structure.

[1] Information of the Sea view Guest House, of Thailand (07/21/1998)
[2] Three Pagodas group (07/21/1998)

© 1999 Hans & Elke Gueinzius 71229 Leonberg