WW2 Soldiers Remains for sale

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Paul Reed, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Saw this after someone posted it on GWF:

    WWII soldiers' remains for sale in PNG - report - New Zealand's source for World News on Stuff.co.nz

    Selling the remains of fallen US, Australian and Japanese World War 2 soldiers has become a lucrative business in Papua New Guinea, with a complete human skeleton fetching $US20,000, ($NZ26,907) local media reported.

    The South Pacific archipelago's Post-Courier newspaper said the skeleton was sold last month, and that plastic bags filled with bones were being sold for the equivalent of between $US2 and $US24.
    Sanananda and surrounding areas saw fierce battles and heavy death tolls between Japanese and allied US and Australian forces between November 1942 and January 1943 and was regarded as a turning point in eventually repelling the Japanese forces from what was then New Guinea.
    Albert Awai, chief of Sanananda village, said government authorities were failing to detect the sale of the remains which had become a big industry, the newspaper reported in its online edition.
    The recovered remains of thousands of Australian troops are interred at cemeteries in Papua New Guinea. But the remains of hundreds of other Australians killed during the fighting were never recovered.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Chaps my butt.
  4. machine shop tom

    machine shop tom Senior Member

    Very ghoulish.
  5. spidge


    The New Guinea people are not well educated in the back waters and would not know in most cases they were doing wrong. This would be a chance to feed their families.

    Their economy is rock bottom. I used to pay $1.40 AUD for one PNG Kena. This is now down to $0.45 cents.

    They need to make all the buyers into geldings, and give them some really good gaol time and the demand would cease.

    PNG government officials on the other hand are renowned for having their hand out for a share of anything.
  6. Jakob Kjaersgaard

    Jakob Kjaersgaard Senior Member

  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I think Spidge has got this right.It is less than 100 years ago where certain parts of N.G practiced cannabalism and enemies were eaten.

    One point about these people is that I cannot recollect an occasion when they were anything but supportive to the Allies in preventing the overruning of NG by the Japanese.

    Standards may change when the tide of globalisation reaches the N.G shores.
  8. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    The sellers are very poor people with a different culture to that in the West but who are the buyers?
  9. Elven6

    Elven6 Discharged

    It's a shame this is happening, maybe Veterans organizations in the "west" should start buying these remains and putting them to rest honorably regardless of what side they were on. If I had the money for such a contribution I definitely would, they deserve better.

    Any idea who they are being sold too?
  10. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    A very sad state of affairs. As Gibbo (Martin) says, who are the buyers?
  11. MLW

    MLW Senior Member

    If you blame the sellers, you are more than half wrong. Typically these things happen because the locals need money to survive. How do you really blame them for that? Sure, they are wrong, but what you do in that situation? The real problem is the buyers. They have money and are willing to spend it on human remains. They are the ones to be condemned (unless they buy the remains in order to repatriate them).
  12. Elven6

    Elven6 Discharged

    In the Pacific during WWII headhunting was practiced by some members of the army, it's possible their's a black market of sorts for this kind of stuff?

    Any updates on this practice in 2008? Statistics, etc?
  13. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Strikes me that there's a basic law of economics at play here. That the PNG's have a source of income; 'The Buyer'. Step in and start trying to compete with that source and we have e Bay. Who Pays Wins.

    I don't know what the answer is. But I smell bean sprouts .....
  14. Ferahgo

    Ferahgo Senior Member

    To be honest I am disregarding their economic welfare.
    I think it is very very wrong to sell dead people. Especially those who gave so much for us. Two points though-
    1.Where are the bodies really coming from?
    2.Who the heck is buying them?
  15. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    To be honest I am disregarding their economic welfare.
    I think it is very very wrong to sell dead people. Especially those who gave so much for us. Two points though-
    1.Where are the bodies really coming from?
    2.Who the heck is buying them?
    Says pretty much what I am thinking.

    Would it not be better to pay these people to recover the dead on a contract basis ?
    If anyone is caught buying them - they are the people pay the fines or do the time.
    Anyone with $20,000 to spare knows what they are doing is immoral , it gives grave robbing a whole new different meaning.

    I recall reading (somewhere) about a guy in the US who was caught with the remains of German sailors he had taken from a U-Boat wreck - why would it opccur to anyone to do this - the dead become objects not people .
    Some members of the human race an awful knack of disappointing.
  16. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    It is really hard to believe that this kind of trade can exist in this day and age!

    Shame on those purchasing.

    A Disgusted

  17. Richard Harrison

    Richard Harrison Senior Member

    people lacking moral fibre utter scum... I was on a ww1 tour and some kid found a human jaw bone, unknown to us he had popped it into his pockets along with a number of rounds or .303 and a mills bomb. Needless to say it started on the coach with "look what i got" i dont think i have seen a bus clear so quickly, he handed over the 303 rounds and the grenade but not the jaw bone, I asked him if his relatives died on the battlefield needless to say the answer was no. I hate this kinda thing !
  18. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Ghoulish , Richard no other word for it.
  19. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    What on earth could these buyers actually be doing with them? I can't imagine they'd want to hang them up on their wall as decorations, so what else could they possibly want with them? Unless they're over the top WW2 buffs who want to add the remains of a soldier to their collection of bullets and missiles???

    Very strange indeed.
  20. AndyBaldEagle

    AndyBaldEagle Very Senior Member

    Very Sad indeed, maybe the PNG authorities need some support from those governments whose soldiers fell.
    Oh to be a Customs Officer finding something like that in ones luggage, say bye bye to freedom! one would hope.

    I do remember some years ago, going to Holland (Arnhem) and seeing a German helmet sold to a collector (well thats what he called himself!) that still retained some human hair and scalp, I told him what I thought of him in no uncertain terms, and also was disgusted at the Dutch chap too, who prior to that had been seen in a better view!


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