Unit 731: The Most Barbaric Prison Camp In History Is Also One Of The Least-Known

Unit 731 was a secret Japanese biological and chemical warfare research unit which carried out horrific crimes against humanity between 1933 and 1945.

Having equalled Nazi cruelty and the experiments that were carried out in concentration camps, the behaviour in Unit 731 can only make you shudder in fear.

A horror camp

Founded in 1932 in Manchuria, then occupied by Japan in a war against China, this Japanese military unit was designed for scientific experiments, thus allowing the Japanese to be sure of having a place among the big world powers thanks to the creation of bacteriological weapons.

Carried out between 1933 and 1945 on more than 3,000 human guinea pigs, these 'scientific experiments' were led by bacteriologist Shiro Ishii and consisted of the most unimaginable torture practices. Among the tortured were Chinese and Russian soldiers who had been taken prisoner, intellectuals, but also women and children.

Deprived of all human rights, the human 'guinea pigs' at Unit 731 who were named 'marutas' (or 'pieces of wood'), were victim to horrendous abuse which in the majority of cases led to their death. Scalded, burnt alive by flamethrowers, frozen, electrocuted, put in giant centrifuges or exposed to X-rays for prolonged periods, none of the prisoners having undergone these experiments left alive.

Recognised as a crime again humanity

Among other ordeals inflicted by scientists were the transplants of animals onto human bodies, blood transfusions using horse’s blood or sea water, or the exposure to the plague or to typhus leading to necrosis or endless agony.

Closed in 1945 after the destruction of Hiroshima and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, the laboratory only shared its secrets years after when a group of 'mad professors' who took part in these atrocities wanted to relieve themselves of the memory. Unit 731 was recognised as responsible for crimes of war and crimes against humanity in 2002.

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