Communist Terror in Peaceful Heaven By
Lt. Col. Jack Mohr AUS Ret.
This is my story. It is not something someone told me, or something I read somewhere. I was there. I saw the terror; I felt the pain I was part of that drama which saw over 3500 innocent men, women and children slaughtered in ten days.
In 1946, after completing a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Japan, I returned to the United States for discharge and the long-awaited assimilation into civilian life. After two years of civilian life, including college work, I was called back into active duty in June, 1948 and sent to Korea to work with the Korean Military Advisory Croup. This was a small group of personnel who had been given the difficult and often frustrating task of training the fledgling army of the new Republic ot South Korea. I was a first lieutenant at this time.
At the end of World War II, when Korea was divided along the 38th Parallel, the northern section came under Communist control. Almost immediately, a school was begun in Pyong’yang, the capitol of the north. This was a very special school, made up of Communist young men from both North and South Korea. They were given extensive training in the art of infiltration. Their main task – to infiltrate the military apparatus of South Korea, so that, at a given signal, they could take over South Korea by military coup.
The day for the takeover was October 28, 1948. But as often happens, there was a mistake in the plans that caused the coup to go haywire. Instead of a nation-wide takeover, the revolt broke out in only a few areas.
The cantor of the revolt was in Yosu, Challo’namdo Province. This happened to be the infantry regiment I was advising.
When orders came down from the North, about 2800 men from the Fourteenth Infantry Regiment joined by approximately 1700 civilians, broke into the armory of the 14th Regiment and after over-powering the guards, made off with about 5000 M-1 rifles, machine guns, light mortars and ammunition that had recently arrived from the States.
This armed force marched into the neighboring city of Yosu and after dispersing the police force, moved north along the peninsula to the little city of Sun’chon. Sun’chon was an industrial city of about 175,000 population, located in the middle of the Chin San valley, surrounded on the north and west by the Chin Mountains and on the south by the Yellow Sea. Sun’chon was located strategically, with five roads and five railroads, coming into the city like spokes on a wheel. It was the center of the moat fertile rice producing area in Korea.
The rebel force attacked the police of Sun’chon and after a day of bitter fighting, forced their way into the city and laid siege to the police station in the center of town. I had been away at Division Headquarters in the city ot Kwan’ju, 96 miles to the north when the revolt broke and had raced to Sun’chon with a company of Korean infantry from the 4th Regiment, in an attempt to head the rebels oft before they reached Sun’chon. To my utter disgust, the Korean soldiers who accompanied me, joined the rebels and left me with 45 frightened policemen who took refuge in the police station.
We were under siege for several hours, when a Korean sergeant, under a white flag asked to speak with me. He told me that it I would come out, I would be given sate conduct, along with any police who would surrender.
My orders from KMAG Headquarters in Seoul had been quite plain. I was to remain in the area as an observer. but was not to become involved in any action. We were taken to the center of the city, near Court House – an area about a block long and possibly 100 feet wide, a sort of park area with trees and flower beds. Seventeen policemen had decided to come with me. These were seized and bound, as soon as we were out of sight of the police station. I was left to my own, still armed.
On arriving at the courtyard, the bound men were forced to kneel in the street and were executed by being repeatedly stabbed in the chest and abdomen with -bamboo spears.
While this was going on, a large crowd began to gather in the street. Tensions were running high and fear was evident on every face. From various directions in the city, you could hear screams, shouts, and the sound of rifle fire. Then the first evidence of Communist takeover began to show up in the arrival of groups of civilians under armed guard. These were the families of police, religious leaders, politicians. and school teachers.
It has always been the policy of the Communists to set up People’s Courts in every country they take over. The People’s Court is a peculiar organization, made up of a judge, a prosecuting attorney and the victim. It you are a member of he ‘bourgeoisie”, you are a candidate for the People’s Court. The “bourgeoisie” of course, are property owners and so-called “enemies of the people.” These People’s Courts are used for two purposes. First, to frighten the populace, so that they will not put up a fight and, secondly, In get rid of anyone who would normally have a stabilizing influence on the community. These people are brought in by family groups. In the Orient this means groups of up to forty or more people.
In Sun’chon, they were herded into the courthouse square at the point of bayonets and were then mowed down by massed machine gun fire, until at the end of two hours over 265 bodies of men, women and children were piled beside the square and the street ran red with Korean blood.
During this time, I was walking in the Street, dressed in an American “suntan” uniform, with a service .45 strapped on my belt. I had worked with these men for several months, knew the language and had gained a certain amount of rapport with them. I knew my job was to report and not get involved, but sometimes, things happen that force one into involvement.
As I stood by, watching these executions, I noticed a flower bed off to one side of the square. A bamboo pole, about three inches in diameter, with a sharpened edge on the upper end, had been set in the ground; the sharp end was probably about five feet above ground level. While I wondered as to its use, I was attracted by a commotion in the crowd, which by now had grown to several thousand. Four men came from this mob, dragging the police chief, a short stocky fellow by the name of Chung Sung Tsi. Picking him up bodily, they jammed his body down on the sharpened pole, until he hung impaled on the sharp point. As he screamed for mercy, squirming about on the pole which was drenched with his blood, his wife, a young woman of about twenty-five… who appeared to be about eight months pregnant… was dragged from the mob. Her clothes were torn off and she was raped at least twenty times, then hacked at with bayonets, until she fled screaming through the city streets with her breasts cut off, spattering blood on the onlookers.
When I saw this happening, I forgot my orders, and forcing my way through the crowd, I tried to stop the torture, only to be struck over the head from behind, rendering me unconscious. I woke in the dark. There was no way I could tell where I was, although I imagined I was in a cell under the city hall. It was pitch dark and I was laying on a pile of musty rice straw – I could hear the rats running around in the darkness about me. I’m not sure how long I lay there, as it is very difficult to tell time in utter darkness.
About 10 o’clock in the morning – I believe It was the second day, I was taken to the Court House for trial. The Court Room was large, about twice the size of a basketball floor – jammed with people. When they saw me, they began to scream: “Kill him Kill the Meguk-noam.” (Kill the no-good American!)
I had been frightened many times before, but never like this. As I passed through the crowd …many of whom had been my friends a few days before… they spit at me, beat on me with their fists and cursed me. One woman scratched down the side of my face, leaving five bloody furrows. Only a few days before, her little boy had been in an accident. I had taken him to the hospital and had paid the bill from my own pocket. I could not understand why she now hated me. It was only after much study, that I realized this was one of the methods by which Communism controls people. They become so frightened for their own life, they will do anything to prove that they are friends of the communists – even if it means a husband turning in his wife, or a mother her children.
I was taken to the front of the room, where there was a raised platform. On this platform was a long, heavy oak table. Behind this table, sat a little Korean man dressed in a high-necked Mao-tse Tung jacket and a black skull cap. At one end of the table was a heavy oak chair with wide arms.
For several minutes the little man wrote on some papers without looking up. Finally in exasperation I began to speak to him in Korean: “I am an American officer,” I said, “I want to be turned loose.” Leaping to his feet, he began to scream at me in Korean: “How can a running dog of the imperialists, Wall Street, war-mongers ask anything of a representative of the people? Sit down!”
I sat down in the big chair and he came to me, to put his arm around the back of the seat and say: “We are your friends. Everyone knows that you Americans are slaves of the rich men on Wall Street. We do not want to hurt you. All. we ask is that you cooperate with us and you will be set tree.”
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I have here a paper,” he said, “It is a list of the crimes you Americans have committed in Korea. Sign It!”
He showed me a list, written on rice straw paper in the ideographic writing of Korea. One of the statements said that we wanted to make Korea one of our states.
Before I had a chance to think, I shook my head and was answered by a blow on the side of the head that knocked me to the floor. Yanking me back into the chair, the interrogator became very angry: “You are one of those reactionaries I have heard about,” he screamed, “either do what I tell you, or you will wish you had never been born.” He was screaming so loud, that he spit all over me.
Most people have a point where they lose their temper and this was mine. I was boiling at the treatment I had received and finally when he spit on me, It was too much and I spit back. Of course this was a foolish thing to do, since he was in the driver’s seat. He barked an order in Korean and before I could defend myself, I was stripped naked by the four goons standing behind me. They rammed me down into the chair and bound me there with fine wire, until I could not move.
It is difficult to explain the feeling one has at being humiliated like this; you don’t explain it by saying that you were embarrassed. But I was sure of one thing, being embarrassed was to be a minor problem for me. Soon a man came with electric wires, which were wound around tender parts of my body and 110 volts of electricity was turned on. Looking back, I can’t remember the pain. It was more like some giant hand that picked me and that chair high in the air and sent us crashing to the floor. Have you ever driven through a tunnel, where at the end you could see a light? It seemed as though I was in a long, long tunnel, and somewhere in the distance I could hear someone screaming over and over, I wanted to shout: “For God’s sake, shut up; you’re driving me crazy!” Then suddenly, I realized the voice I heard in the distance was my own. It seemed as though this went on for hours… I’m sure It was only a short time… then merciful darkness descended on me and they hauled me back to my cell.
I woke to the sound of thunder in the room. At least I thought It was thunder. Then I realized, that somewhere in that room was a loud speaker which was turned up to full volume. Hour after hour, for maybe sixteen to eighteen hours at a time, It would blast out one line of Communist propaganda, until I thought I would go out of my mind. There was no hope of sleep, or no way to escape the voice. In addition to this mental torture, the guards would take turns playing with me. They would hang me from a beam with a rope around my ankles and leave me suspended where my fingertips would barely brush the ground. (After fifteen hours of this, your mind a ready to crack.) Another game was to sit me on a stool, looking into a brilliant light, then beat me any time I moved. Try It sometime. You can sit still for fifteen minutes, maybe, but when you move, have someone beat on you with a flexible steel rod. After a session like that. I’d be black, blue, and green, from head to toes.
Now I want you to remember something. I had been brought up in a Christian home. At the age of twelve, I had made a profession of faith; I had been saved (?) again at the age of eighteen. I was a member of a Baptist church. I had been baptized by Scriptural baptism, I had taught Sunday School, been a Youth Leader, a choir director, and had even preached for a year while I was going to college. But as I faced my Lord and myself in that prison cell, I realized suddenly that I had never been saved. I had been living far from the Lord and from every teaching of my church; but this was not what frightened me. As I looked at Jack Mohr, I realized that I had never been saved; that all my superficial goodness was what man saw, and that when God looked at my heart, It was black with sin. This scared me – because I believed the Word of God enough, that I believed in a literal hell. I was more afraid of dying and going to hell, than I was afraid of death itself. Right then, the odds were favorable for Jack Mohr to die, and die mighty unpleasantly. I was afraid. I began to pray and that was something I had not done for a long time. The more I prayed, the more frustrated I became, because I realized that my prayers were rising no higher than those cob webbed ceilings over my head. You ask how I knew this? It was because I wanted God to save me in my way. This He will never do. There is only ONE way to reach God and that is through His way – through His Son Jesus Christ. There is no other route you can take. So I prayed, and the more I prayed, the more frightened I became.
One day my guard caught me praying. I was on my knees on a pile of filthy straw, when he turned on the light. I remember the sneer in his voice as he said “Oh you are one of those Christians I’ve heard about. Why do you ask your God for help? He cannot help you. Why don’t you ask me?” Then he knocked me to the floor with a sweep of his rifle butt and proceeded to kick me until I was black and blue and passed out.
About the fifth day, the guards took me into the streets. I was still naked and covered with filth. I had received nothing to eat or drink – the only moisture I had been able to get was the condensation I could lick from the filthy walls of my cell. My lips had swelled, cracked and bled. My tongue had swelled like a sponge, until I could not get my lips together. In the street, they took a leather thong, like the leather lace in a man’s hunting boot. Placing this on a large steel needle, they ran the thong through my right chest muscle, and wiring my thumbs behind my back, they tethered me to a pole in the courtyard and left me to the tender mercies of the children and women. The little boys had great fun using me for target practice, plastering me with rotten vegetables and horse manure. The women were the worst; they would stand about, making vulgar references to me and striking me on tender parts of my body until I thought I would faint with the pain. But worst of all were the flies – hordes of sticky, aggressive, Korean flies. (No country in the world has flies as bad as those of Korea.) They gathered around my eyes, nose and mouth, walking in and out of my open mouth. Before I could breathe, I would first have to blow the flies away. (For months afterwards, I would wake screaming in the middle of the night, feeling the flies still crawling in my mouth.)
Finally, after many hours – I had been tied there in the morning and It was now after dark – I fell to the ground, snapping the cord, and was dragged back to my cell.
I’ll never forget that night. Backed with pain, burning up with fever, I lay on the ground praying: “God, I don’t know how you can take an old reprobate like me and save me; I don’t know how you can do anything with a hypocrite like me; but Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” When Jack Mohr got out of the way, the Holy Spirit came in and did the job He wanted to do for a long time and I was no longer afraid. I want you to remember that I still thought I was going to die, but I wasn’t afraid to meet my God anymore. During the night, someone came into the cell and threw an old pair of ragged khaki pants across my legs. I managed to crawl into them. Then in the morning, two men came for me.
They took me back to the courthouse. My morale was at rock bottom, because I believed my time had come to die. As we entered the courtroom, I saw a Korean sergeant leaning against the door. He was a man who had been friendly with me. His name was Yu Chang Nam. We called him “Pak Sab” which in Korean means “Professor…; he had been a High School teacher in civilian life. A ray of hope stirred in my heart and as we passed him I cried out “Pak Sah, for God’s sake, help me!” He responded with an oath, hitting me across the mouth with the back of his hand and screaming “Par be, meechan gay, cheeda hands.” (A literal translation of this is: “You stupid, crazy dog, drop dead from apoplexy!”) Cursing and yelling like a madman, he rushed to the front of the room, screaming how he hated all Americans and that Meeguk-noam, pointing at me, worst of all. For ten minutes he raved about what a bad fellow I was. Then pausing dramatically, he said: would like to take this Meeguk noam (bad guy) out and kill him.” The civilian judge gave his permission and Pak Sab left the room. In a few minutes he returned with six men, armed with rifles. As they took me from the room, Pak Sab whispered to me: “Mohr San, when the rifles fire, drop dead.” (This was a rather cryptic statement, for this is usually what happens when rifles are loaded, pointed at you and then fired.) They took me into the street, and driving off the curious onlookers who wanted to go along and see the fun, they took me down a crooked cobblestone street for several blocks, until we stood before a stone wall on the edge of the mountain.
My memory of those next few minutes are as clear today as they were over twenty-seven years ago. I can recall the sound of the sergeant’s voice, as he gave the orders for the rifles to be raised. I was standing there with my eyes tightly closed, my fists clenched, praying, for I knew “this was It!” Then I heard Pak Sab give the command “Fire!” and when the rifles went off, I jumped instinctively. But almost instantly, I realized they had fired over my head, for I was still alive. There was no time to wonder why; but I fell to The ground and lay there. Pak Sah came up to me and bending over my body as though he were checking It, he whispered: “Mohr San, when we have gone and It is safe, go to the Moak Sab’s (missionaries) house on Masan Hill and I will try and smuggle you out of the city.” Then standing, he gave my body a contemptuous kick and went off with his men. When the coast was clear, I made my way the few blocks to Masan Hill and the Southern Presbyterian Mission Station of Dr. John Curtis Crane. I hid there for ten days, until Government troops drove the rebels out.
From Masan Hill, we could look down into the city and see the results of a Communist takeover. To the southwest, was the Presbyterian mission school. During those ten days, I counted 47 little girls, in the age bracket of eleven to thirteen, as they were dragged screaming from the school, to be raped by the drunken rebels, then beaten to death or bayoneted.
To the west, was the Catholic church. On the second day of my stay in the mission station, two elderly nuns (native women) were dragged to the walls of the church and nailed there, with bayonets driven through the palms of their hands, and the edge of their rib cage, pinning those screaming women to the walls of their own church. There they screamed, cried, and begged for mercy for an entire terrible day, until their pleas died away to hoarse whimpers. I was standing in a window bay of the Presbyterian mission, less than a hundred yards away, with a rifle in my hands, praying to God, as to whether He wanted me to shoot and put them out of their misery; I was afraid to shoot, because we had seven American women in the mission station with us and we were afraid for them.
Hour after hour, day after terrible day dragged by. Always you could hear the shouts of pursuers and the screams of the pursued. The nights were made more hideous by the fires that burned uncontrolled in all parts of the city, and when the wind was right, you could smell the nauseating odor of burning human flesh. From the windows of the mission, we saw numerous instances of babies being bashed against tree trunks or stone walls. One incident I will remember to my dying day. A young mother, with a tiny baby, maybe three weeks old, was pursued through the streets by two drunken rebels. Catching her, they tore the baby from her arms and proceeded to play a nasty game of tossing the little body back and forth between them, catching It on the points of their bayonets. When the mother began to scream, one of them reversed his rifle, struck her in the mouth with the butt and then beat her insensible as she lay on the ground.
On the tenth day, in the residential area to the northwest, a beautiful young girl was dragged out of a house, her clothing stripped from her and she was nailed to the branch of a willow tree by spikes driven through her breasts. Then a bundle of oil soaked straw was bound between her bare thighs and set on fire. As I watched this, helpless to intervene, I remember saying out loud: “My God, if you get me out of this mess; if you get me back to the people I love and the country I love, I’ll do everything within my power, as far as my time, talent, money, and strength is concerned, to see that what is happening here, never comes to America.” That’s why I spend my time traveling about the country instead of living in retirement. That’s why I have written this little pamphlet. I’m fulfilling the promise I made to my God.
This is why I get emotional when I talk about the problems that face America. That’s why I get angry when I see how our national leaders are deliberately leading us down the path which leads to national destruction and a one-world government under Communist control.
But I never knew just how much of a miracle God had done in my life, until I returned to the States in 1955. I was visiting a very dear friend of mine who lived near Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was an elderly woman, Aunt Audie Steeby, a woman who had been a great blessing to me as a teenager. I was in her home and she asked me about my Korean experiences. I told her essentially the story I have told here. I asked why she wanted to know and she told me this.
“One night while you were in Korea, I woke in the middle of the night. It seemed as though you were standing beside my bed, begging me for something. I was disturbed, because I had not thought about you for a long time. So I got out of bed and prayed.” She showed me her Bible and in the margin, next to verse seven of the 91st Psalm, she had written my name, the date (November 3, 1948) and the time. This is the verse that says: “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but It shall not come nigh thee.”
Checking out the time difference between Grand Rapids, and Sun’chon, Korea, I took into consideration the International Date Line and found that the time when that old saint of God had been praying for Jack Mohr, over 9,000 miles away, was when I was facing that Korean firing squad.
I have had intellectuals who told me this was just something that happened. But I know better, because four times later, during the Korean War, I was wounded. Each time I should have been dead, but I never received wounds bad enough to be hospitalized. I was the first American wounded in the Korean War, when my jeep was hit by a 122 mm shell that blew off the whole rear end. I was hit 97 times, from my buttocks to my shoulders. But there is the interesting part of this story, a few moments before, I had loaded my vehicle with food, blankets and stores from an evacuated American home. As an after-thought, I threw a cot mattress on top of the load and all the shrapnel that hit me, was wrapped up in cotton batting.
A few days later, driving down the highway, I was strafed by four of our own planes. They came in from behind and there was no chance to take cover My jeep was riddled with 27 fifty-caliber bullets, all four tires were flattened and shells coming in over either shoulder, clipped off the steering wheel, just above my hands – still not a scratch.
So I know God had a hand on my life. I believe the Bible where it says He will give His angels charge over us. I can say along with the Apostle Paul : “That I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for It is the power of God unto salvation.. for I KNOW whot wa have believed, and am persuaded, that He (Jesus Christ) is able, to keep that which I have committed, unto Him against that Day.” The Day of Judgment.)
Dear reader. Do you know my Savior? Do you have the peace that “passeth all human understanding?” Do you have the spiritual strength which would stand any trial that could be thrown against you? Do you have the power to take a stand for God and righteousness, no matter what anyone says against you? Do you know where you are headed when you die?
You can have a positive answer to all these questions If you are willing to accept Christ as your personal Savior today. It’s not enough just to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. The Bible tells us that the devils believe and tremble. I offer you today, Jesus the Savior He can become your Savior right this moment, as He became mine in that prison cell in Korea. Why don’t you kneel down right where you are and pray this prayer with me: “Lord, I know that I am a sinner bound for hell. I ask you to forgive my sins; I ask that your Son, Jesus the Christ, come into my heart right now and save me from my sins.” If you do this, in faith believing, the Bible says, I John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW that ye have eternal life
Then thank God, that He loved you enough to send His Son, Jesus to die for you. You are now God’s adopted child and an heir with Jesus Christ to the riches of God. John 1:12) – “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power (that means the legal right to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” PRAISE GOD, you are now His Child.