My Time with Father in the Hungnam Labor Camp – Part 2

 

 By  Jung Hwa Pak

ed20-4Mr. Jung Hwa Pak first met Father when they were both prisoners in Hungnam labor camp in North Korea. He is well-known to us as the person whom Father helped travel south together after they were liberated (1950)—the man whose leg had been broken and whom Father pushed on the bicycle. We remember that Mr. Pak later left the church and rejoined at various times during his life. What may be less well remembered is that Mr. Pak was one of the earliest people to recognize and follow Father on the basis of revelation from the spirit world. Despite his struggles to stay the course, he was a humble and prepared person. His testimony here, in his own words, gives much insight into True Father’s own early life course. This week we present the second and final part.

 

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A crude plan of the prison camp where Father was incarcerated in Hungnam, drawn by Mr. Park.

Prisoners in the Hungnam labor camp could receive visitors once a month, as I mentioned before. Mrs. Se Hyun Ok came almost every two months. A few times she came with Won Pil Kim. When she came she brought socks, underwear and misu-karu (rice powder). People used to hide their misu-karu in secret places, but Father always shared his. I hoped he would eat it himself because I knew he was so hungry. Mrs. Ok was hurt because she knew he also gave the socks and underwear away.

When Father got malaria he scolded me for trying to persuade him to go to the sickbay. “I didn’t come here because of my sin, but for my mission,” he said. Every day he walked the four kilometers to the plant. I asked him many times to rest but he scolded me.

It reminded me of Jesus going to Calvary. I begged him, “Please think about your health. I know your mission is important.” But he carried on with his work, sweating profusely. He was sick for one week. Fighting spiritually, he recovered. Among the prisoners were some real sinners. Because I was the leader, I tried to help all the prisoners. I remember some advice Father gave me: “If you help everybody,” he said, “maybe you are helping Satan.”

The summer of 1950 was very hot, inside and outside. Father kept his clothes on even when he worked in the hot weather. “Why don’t you take off your rubber shoes and long sleeve shirt?” I asked. “I’ll take you somewhere to wash.”

“I cannot,” Father said. “Heavenly Father told me directly I should not expose my body to others.”

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Workers break up mounds of fertilizer at the Hungnam Fertilizer Factory, with simple hand tools.

On the fertilizer sacks were pieces of paper for marking the weight and other details. Father wrote down the song “Garden of Restoration” on one of these labels. He told me to memorize it in one week. The melody was adapted from a Japanese navy march. Later, when the church was established, a new melody was composed by a school friend of mine who joined the church. That’s the tune we now use.

There was a lot of fishing in the Hungnam area. One time they brought a lot of mackerel to the camp. We had a big mackerel soup. All the prisoners got ill and many collapsed. I felt very responsible as the leader and went to talk to Father about it. He told me the mackerel had been bad. “In five or six hours they’ll recover, so don’t worry. Report it to the camp authorities,” he said. He told me it happened because people were so hungry. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Just worry about how to spread the Principle.”

I reported it to the Headquarters and said if the prisoners could rest for six hours they would recover. They approved this, and when it happened and they asked me, “How did you know? You’re not a doctor.” I didn’t tell them because they would have wondered about Father.

In the prison camp, Father emphasized the Principle of Creation, the Fall and Restoration. He taught me about the Four Position Foundation. When I first heard it, I felt like I was dreaming. In the camp where people were dying every day (sometimes up to 100 died and were replaced in a day), he taught me about Won Hwa Do (later developed by Dr. Seuk). All nations would become like one family, he said. I left Father for about 20 years. Now I have returned. I realize how I didn’t understand his teaching at that time. In the Unification Church we call each other “family members,” not “believers.” Now I understand the meaning of Won Hwa Do. That is, one family under God.

 

Father wins the prize for the best laborer

Every year in the camp one person got the model prisoner award. Father was selected for the prize because he did twice the work of normal prisoners. That night I felt very happy and I said to him, “I’m happy you won the award.”

“I’m not happy because I got first prize,” Father replied. ”I’m happy because I won over Satan’s temptation.”

In the spring of 1950 the atmosphere began to get more tense. The authorities started classifying the prisoners according to the type of crime and length of term. Many prisoners were summoned by the headquarters. I think they were drafted as part of the war preparations. Also shades for blackouts were put up in the huts.

When I asked Father if I could get him some misu-karu (I didn’t do it without asking because I thought he’d scold me for tempting him with food), he said, “Very soon special things will happen so don’t worry about me. Worry about your health.” One day some workers (not prisoners, but workers who checked sack weights, etc.) told me, “Now North Korea is preparing to attack South Korea. This old fertilizer (which had been left by the Japanese) is going to Russia (to pay for weapons).” I asked Father what would happen. He said very seriously, “Now the time is coming.” Then he asked me, “Have you memorized the “Garden of Restoration?” We hummed the song together.

Everyone was very tense at that time. When I felt nervous I began to sing the song. It calmed me and made me feel joyful. I talked about Father to the leader of the medical team, a Mr. Mun Jae Lee, who was not a prisoner. Several times Mr. Lee spoke to Father.

Mr. Lee told me that many weapons were arriving from Russia and that travel was being restricted. “War will break out soon,” he said.

I told Father. He said. “I told you soon the satanic world will be destroyed and soon the Kingdom of God on Earth will be established.”

On June 25, 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea. They drafted all the 20- to 25-year-olds, except for political prisoners and people with over seven-year terms.

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The Hungnam Fertilizer Factory showing the effects of heavy bombing

Conditions got worse. Almost every day 100 prisoners died and were substituted. On August 1 around 11 a.m. I was guiding the prisoners to work when I heard an airplane. From the noise I recognized it was a reconnaissance plane. One prisoner, a former army captain, said that pretty soon B-29 bombers would come so we should hurry to the canteen. I begged Father to move. He was working where they put together empty sacks. I worried about the prisoners. At about noon the sirens went off.

The guards didn’t know what to do. There were 30,000 workers in the plant as well as the prisoners. The workers moved to underground shelters, but there was no place for the prisoners. I felt so sad.

The B-29’s bombed the area for three hours, destroying everything. There were many dead bodies. Next to me one man had survived. I went to where Father was. He said Heavenly Father had told him no bomb or shrapnel would land within about 10 meters of him. I began singing the “Garden of Restoration.” I felt so joyful.

I told the guards that the enemy was not supposed to bomb prison camps and asked them to take the prisoners back to the camp so they would not be killed. That night there were three prisoners dying of starvation. Father shared his misu-karu with them. I wanted to protect him, but I knew his thinking so I didn’t say anything.

I was due to be released the next day, August 2. That night I talked with Father almost all night. I asked him what I should do after my release. He said, “Go to Gyeongchang district [where Father had set up his church] in Pyongyang and tell the members there not to worry about me.” I cried because I was released but Father remained. He said, “This is a small thing, just a short time. We have so much to accomplish. Please, go to Pyongyang and relay my message to the members. Tell them I will be released soon.” This was the last direction from Father in the prison camp.

I was released the next day. First I visited the fertilizer plant. It was totally destroyed. It had been the biggest fertilizer plant in the Orient. I saw Father from a distance, but as I was no longer a prisoner I couldn’t approach him.

 

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General Douglas MacArthur leading a flotilla of ships to Incheon (September 1950)

Liberation and return to Pyongyang

The political prisoners were all being shot and other prisoners with terms over seven years moved to Manchuria. Father’s term was under seven years and he remained. Father was liberated on October 14. On October 24, Father arrived in Pyongyang, having walked for ten days from Hungnam. He stayed in Pyongyang for forty days.

In Pyongyang there was confusion. The South Korean and United Nations forces had pushed almost into Manchuria. I was one of 200 people captured by the South Koreans. Because I was a former high-ranking North Korean army officer I was interrogated and beaten and my leg was broken. I thought they were going to kill me, but the officer in charge concluded that my eighteen months’ imprisonment under the communist regime was reason enough for me to be released.

After my release by the military police, I stayed with my sister. Father was staying at Mrs. Se Hyun Ok’s house with Won Pil Kim and Sung Kyun Moon. Father sent them to get me and I joined them there.

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Refugees in the harsh winter of 1950-51, the time during which Father was also making his way south.

On December 3, 1950, the North Koreans and Chinese were invading south again with human wave tactics. It was all confusion again. Mrs. Ok asked us to come straight away to the Daedong River, which runs through Pyongyang. Her first son was a second lieutenant in the South Korean military police. She wanted to take us on an army truck he could get, but when we got there he refused to let us on because there were too many of us. Only Mrs. Ok’s family could get on.

We returned to the house and left Pyongyang the next day, December 4.

As we left, Father turned looked back from a point overlooking the city and said (as if speaking to the people there), “I wanted to display God’s providence here in Pyongyang but you refused and sent me to prison.” He was so sad.

His words reminded me of Jesus’s words over Jerusalem.