Women who resisted Japanese occupation in WWII
Theresa Kaminski will present “Angels of the Underground” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 6, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the program examines the American women who resisted the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II, When the Japanese began their occupation of the Philippines in January 1942, 76,000 ill and starving Filipino and American troops tried to hold out on Bataan and Corregidor.
That spring, after having been forced to surrender, most of those men were thrown into Japanese POW camps while dozens of others slipped away to organize guerrilla forces.
Based on her archival research, FBI documents and memoirs, Kaminski will illuminate the complex political dimensions of the occupied Philippines and their importance to the war effort in the Pacific.
Kaminski’s presentation will highlight the activities of Margaret Utinsky and her “Miss U” network that provided supplies and information to American POWs and to guerilla forces in the Philippines.
Working with Utinsky was Claire Phillips, a singer who used her nightclub, the Club Tsubaki, to gather intelligence from its Japanese customers and serve as a clearinghouse for prisoner relief efforts.
The nature of their clandestine work meant that the truth behind their dangerous activities had to be obscured as long as the Japanese occupied the Philippines. If caught, they would be imprisoned, tortured and executed.
Kaminski earned her doctorate in history from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and is currently a professor of history at UW-Stevens Point. She has twice been awarded a fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The program is free and open to the public. Cookies and coffee are served at 6 p.m. and the program begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.
Winchester Academy is funded through sponsors and tax-deductible donations. Kaminski’s program is sponsored by Pat and Mary Phair.
For more information about Winchester Academy, check winchesteracademywaupaca.org, follow it on Facebook or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.