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Pasko Rogulj: Austro-Hungarian Prisoner of Japanese
Scenes from Japanese POW camp
Sixty two photos of the ship SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth, her crew, and scenes from captivity in Japan. Copies of personal interview of Rogulj in 1973; inspection report of Camp Aonagahara 1915; copies of personal documents of Pasko Rogulj.
Pasko Rogulj (called Pat Roguly in America)(1891-1973) was a Croatian sailor/cook on the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth. November 1914 his ship was visiting the German concessionary port of Tsingtau, China when Japan declared war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. The ship was scuttled and its crew captured, along with numerous German naval personnel. These prisoners of war were taken to Japan and held in various camps until 1920-21, after their imperial governments at home had ceased to exist. Japan honored international standards for care of POWs during World War I, as photos from Rogulj's personal collection show. Scenes of barracks, exercises, entertainments, sports, holiday celebrations (attended by Japanese officers), and funerals suggest that treatment of German and Austro-Hungarian captives was humane, if not completely joyful. Inspection reports by neutral inspectors confirmed this. Repatriation was delayed after 1918 until international funds for transport could be arranged. When Rogulj did get home,Croatia was part of a newly created Triune Kingdom of South Slavs and there was no such thing as veterans' back-pay or benefits. He qualified as a merchant seaman, found his way to the United States, became a chef in New York, then a restaurant owner in Florida. His photos and personal effects belong to his son-in-law, Gerald H. Davis