1936–1945: Unit 731 — the Asian Auschwitz — was a massive biological warfare research program of the Japanese Imperial Army under the command of Lt. General Dr. Ishii Shiro in Pin Fang, Manchuria outside the city of Harbin. Its true purpose was masked as the Epidemic Prevention Research Laboratory. Unit 731 was housed within 150 buildings with a staff of 3,000. It included an aerodrome, railway line, barracks, dungeons, laboratories, operating rooms, crematoria, cinema, bar and Shinto temple. Its barbarous inhumane experiments rivalled the infamous Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, though the numbers of prisoners were smaller, it operated for a much longer period. From 1936 to 1942 between 3,000 and 12,000 men, women and children were subjected to unspeakable diabolical experiments, vivisected while still alive, before they were slaughtered in Unit 731. (C. Hudson,Doctors of Depravity, 2007; Nightmare in Manchuria, 2012; Unit 731)
Shiro Ishii’s extensive deadly human experiments were under the protection of the Kanto Army High Command, the Kampeitei (secret Japanese police), and local police collaborators. His first laboratories were in the city of Harbin, later in Beiyinhe, and still later in an extraordinary facility in Harbin’s suburb known as Ping Fang. Construction began in 1936, and was completed in 1939. Originally named Togo, later changed to Ishii Unit, finally it was named Unit 731; it was the world’s largest premier biological and chemical warfare research center.
“Each year hundreds of prisoners were fodder for fiendish experiments. They were exposed to every known disease. These ranged from anthrax to yellow fever. Some were used for hyperthermia experiments. Others were forced to endure gangrene experiments; and still others were forced to engage in sexual intercourse with individuals known to be infected with venereal diseases. They were then monitored as the disease took its toll on the victims.”
“The victims were captured communist partisans, ordinary criminals, political dissidents, those who were mentally handicapped but physically fit, and, when candidates among these groups were scarce, the secret police would pick up the poor, the homeless, off the streets in cities throughout occupied China and Manchuria. The police would be given orders to send prisoners to Harbin/Ping Fan by “Special Delivery.”
“Everyone engaged in this sordid business understood that “Special Delivery” was the code words for new human experimental prey. Prisoners to be tested were of various nationalities. The overwhelming majority were Han Chinese. However, Koreans, Soviet prisoners of varying ethnic backgrounds, and, occasionally, Europeans and Americans were used.”
“Victims were frequently vivisected while still living. They were not given an anesthesia since Ishii and his colleagues wanted to be certain that their tests were not influenced by an outside source. Those individuals whose experiments required a course of study usually lasted about six weeks. Then, of no longer any value to the researchers, they were “sacrificed”, the euphemism used instead of “killed.” The bodies, men, women, and children, would then be dissected by pathologists, and, eventually, deposited in either large burial pits or burned in the three crematoria housed at Ping Fan.” (Sheldon Harris. Japanese Medical Atrocities in WWII: Unit 731 Was Not An Isolated Aberration.” A paper read at the International Citizens Forum on War Crimes & Redress, Tokyo, Dec. 11, 1999)