Kanchanaburi | Thailand

Hellfire Pass Kanchanaburi

Thailand Tour 2013

Kanchanaburi | Thailand

22 Oct 2013 | Tue

Day 06 of 43

  • Sai Yok Noi Waterfall Kanchanaburi
  • Hellfire Pass Kanchanaburi

Hellfire Pass Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi’s Hellfire Pass is a site of great historical significance. Visitors can learn about the tragedy that took place there and see first-hand the memorials that have been erected in honor of those who lost their lives.

Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum Kanchanaburi

Hellfire Pass (Thai: ช่องเขาขาด, known by the Japanese as Konyu Cutting) is the name of a railway cutting on the former Burma Railway (“Death Railway”) in Thailand which was built with forced labor during the Second World War, in part by Allied prisoners of war. The pass is noted for the harsh conditions and heavy loss of life suffered by its laborers during construction. It was called Hellfire Pass because the sight of emaciated prisoners laboring by burning torchlight resembled a scene from Hell.

Hellfire Pass in the Tenasserim Hills was a particularly difficult section of the line to build. It was the largest rock cutting on the railway, coupled with its general remoteness and the lack of proper construction tools during building. A tunnel would have been possible to build instead of a cutting, but this could only be constructed at the two ends at any one time, whereas the cutting could be constructed at all points simultaneously despite the excess effort required by the POWs. The Australian, British, Dutch and other allied prisoners of war were required by the Japanese to work 18 hours a day to complete the cutting. Sixty-nine men were beaten to death by Japanese guards in the six weeks it took to build the cutting, and many more died from cholera, dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion. However, the majority of deaths occurred amongst laborers whom the Japanese enticed to come to help build the line with false promises of good jobs. These laborers, mostly Malayans (Chinese, Malays, and Tamils from Malaya), suffered mostly the same as the POWs at the hands of the Japanese.

– Wikipedia Hellfire Pass

The pass is located in the mountains of Thailand and was used as a route for the Burma-Siam Railway during World War II. Construction of the railway was forced labor, and many prisoners died due to the conditions.

Hellfire Pass Rock Cut

Today, the pass is a memorial to those who died during the construction of the Burma-Siam Railway. Visitors can explore the site and learn about its history. There are also several hiking trails in the area, so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery while getting some exercise.

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