ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on September 21st, 2009 at 5:56 am

First Time Published Image of the Daejon (Taejon) Massacre

» by in: Korean War

Via the ROK Drop Forums comes this image from the Korean War with the inscription on the back of, “South Koreans killed at Tae Jon by North Koreans”:

daejon massacre image

The son of the veteran who took this photograph is looking for any information to confirm the location of the picture.  The way the Tae Jon is spelled on the photo leads me to believe that this was in fact taken at the modern day Daejon because the spelling of “Tae Jon” was common during the Korean War.  The hills in the background do not immediately jump out at me though and maybe some ROK Drop readers living in Daejon can better identify them.

The biggest question to answer though is whether this execution was a North Korean execution as depicted on the back of the photo or ROK Army execution.  Below is a number of photos from executions carried out around Daejon by the South Korean governmental authorities:



For more on these photographs I highly recommend reading:

Notice in these pictures none of the bodies executed by the ROK authorities wer lined in up in neat lines like the picture in question.  Now here are pictures of executions in Daejon carried out by the North Koreans:

In all the pictures I have seen of executions carried out in Daejon none of them show bodies neatly organized like in the picture in question.  Additionally what I find interesting about the picture is how big the trench is compared to other execution sites.  It makes me wonder if this is actually some kind of irrigaton canal for example that the bodies were left in?

This is without a doubt an interesting photo and hopefully ROK Drop readers can help shed some more light on the image.

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  • Teadrinker
    11:09 pm on September 20th, 2009 1

    Do you know what the truth and reconciliation commission has done about these, especially the massacres committed by the ROK armed forces? After all, some, if not many, of the soldiers who took part in these massacres are probably still alive.

  • gerry
    1:01 pm on September 21st, 2009 2

    The photo does not look like an "execution" site. In other words they were not killed at that spot, but layed out after they were killed.

    They do appear to have been executed, with hands tied behind their backs, but may have been moved to this site for burial. (or cover up).

  • David Monaghan
    5:32 am on November 5th, 2009 3

    RE Via the ROK Drop Forums comes this image from the Korean War with the inscription on the back of, “South Koreans killed at Tae Jon by North Koreans”:

    The photo I believe shows the re-burial of victims of what was known as the Second Taejon massacre committed by North Koreans on captured South Koreans. There is a matching photo of what appears to be the same trench of the photo archive of Life Magazine taken early October 1950. The bodies were those gathered from the trenches at Taejon prison and taken for reburial. The New York Times report of Oct 3, 1950 read TAEJON, Korea, Oct. 2 ( P)- The bodies of 1100 Korean civilians murdered by the Red invaders had been found thus far in this ruined town

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    2:06 pm on November 5th, 2009 4

    David, thanks for the comment. Do you have a link to the Life magazine image by chance?

  • Dillon Staas
    3:20 pm on May 26th, 2013 5

    I was at the site in late September 1950 and saw the bodies; mostly women,children and older men. The state of decomposition did not indicate that thy had been dear for an extended period of time and yet they did seem to have died several days before I saw them, which was no more than two days after the recapture of Taejon.
    I hardly think the South Korean authorities could have sneaked in and murdered them while the communist troops occupied the city.
    There may well have been two incidents but I will never believe our side was involved in the one I saw.


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