Remains of 18 Koreans returned from Russia, decades after being forced into lab
The remains of 18 Koreans who passed away
in the old Soviet Union decades ago have finally come home.
Forced into hard labor during Japan′s colonization of the Korean peninsula, they were never able
to leave Sakhalin, an island in Russia′s far east.
Their return is raising hopes the thousands of others will be able to come home as well.
Shin Se-min reports. Some 70 years after they were forcibly sent
to the Soviet Union by Japan,… 18 Koreans have finally come home.
The ashes of the 18 were handed over by Russia to Korea on Thursday.
They′re just a fraction of the 30-thousand Koreans who were forcefully drafted to Sakhalin
in the late 1930s… by Japan during its colonization of the Korean peninsula.
Not even liberation in 1945 meant freedom for the victims.
Many were not able to return to Korea for a number of reasons.
“Being at the scene showed me how many hardships Koreans went through back then. It′s tragic
that they weren′t able to come home before they died.”
“My father passed away at the age of 86,… and now I am 86. Bringing him back at this
age makes it all the more special.” Forced into harsh labor conditions at construction
sites and coal mines during the war,… many of the Korean victims were the target of mass
slaughters towards the end of it. The return of these 18 Korean nationals is
the second such event, following the return of one victim last year… and comes as the
result of consultations between the Korean and Russian governments. “Before bringing the remains to Korea, the
families of the deceased were able to witness the excavation of the remains and were even
able to conduct funerals. It′s the first time they′ve been allowed to do both.”
The ashes of the now 19 Korean victims now lie at National Mang-Hyang Cemetery in Chungcheongnam-do
province, which serves as a resting place for Koreans who resided and passed away in
foreign lands. The nation′s foreign ministry and the Commission
of Forced Mobilization Under Japanese Colonialism are working to bring the remains of the thousands
of other Korean victims home in the near future. Shin Se-min, Arirang News.