Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release from captivity

Frank Kazerski picture

Frank Kazerski

Born:  September 8, 1914 in Needham Massachusetts
Died: August 24, 2005

On Feb, 2, 2002 an article about Frank Kazerski appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune.  After the September 11 terrorist tragedy in New York, Frank developed a closer relationship to his son Francois.  They had physically lived closed to each other, but Frank had not revealed stories about his war experiences until the new millenium.  He revealed detailed stories to his son about his experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II.  Frank endured the Bataan Death March and endured horrific trials that he had kept inside. He endured 3 years and 4 months as POW #1823, going from 165 pounds to  118 pounds. Frank's son wanted his father to receive veteran compensation and  benefits in HR-1198 that was before the US.   Note: like many other bills this one floundered).  

In the 1990s, Francois wrote a song entitled, "Red, White and Blue God Bless You,"  which was broadcast locally.  He did register his song with the library of Congress.  The song begins, "Across our land a flag is waving freely / Above hte sand, the deserts to the sea / A living symbol of freedom blowing brightly."  Francois wrote the song when he heard that flag burning was being debated in Congress, and he became saddened by the lack of patriotism.  His father had fought so hard to defend his country and its flag.

In his obituary in the San Diego Tribune on September 23, 2005, Frank was noted as having graduated from Boston Latin School in 1932 where he studied Spanish and German.  This experience and a job at an Armour meat packing plant in Beunos Aires furthered his Spanish speaking skills. Later when he became a prisoner of the Japanese he learned enough Japanese to act as a  communicator between the prisoners and their captors.  Because of his language skills, the Army classified him as a linguist.

He joined the army in 1940 beginning as a private operations sergeant and advancing to the position of provost marshal in the Philippines.  Frank developed yellow jaundice and suffered in  a hospital in Manila right before Christmas 1941.  He escaped from the hospital, after the medical staff had been evacuated.  He reunited with his troops only to be forced to join the Bataan Death March. He was liberated in 1945, from a prison camp in Mukden, Manchuria.

Mr. Kazierski continued with the army who trained him in counterintelligence.  While in this role, he met his wife Margo Kuerten in Germany.  Her father had been captured by the Nazis.  They divorced after 13 years. In 1960, Frank left the army as a chief warrant officer and began a career for Lockeed Aircraft Co.  He retired in 1972, and then earned a college degree in 1976 from San Diego State University in creative writing.