Source: NARA Rg 331 Box
921; Akenobe File
Summary: Lewis documents
that the Japanese hid file cabinets and boxes of records in the
AFFIDAVIT OF CLAUDE R. LEWIS
Private First Class
U.S. Marine Corps
State of California (State Seal)
County of Los Angeles
CLAUDE R. LEWIS, being duly sworn deposes and says:
1. I am 28 years old and my permanent home address is 7007 Menlo
Avenue, Los Angeles, California. I am and at all times hereinafter
mentioned was a member of the armed forces of the United States
and am now a Private First Class, United States Marine Corps,
Serial No, 270874.
2. I was a prisoner of war of Japan at the following times and
a. At Bataan, April 9, 1942, about 12 days.
b. At Camp O'Donnel, April 1942 to May 1942. [4th
c. At Cabanatuan, Luzon, May 1942 to Sept. 1943. [Transit
to Japan on Taga Maru a.k.a. Coral Maru]
d. At Camp Sakurjima (sic) in Osaka,
Japan from Sept. 1943 to May 1945.
e. At Akenobe, Japan, from May 1945 to my liberation on 3 Sept.
3. I desire to offer the following information
in the hope that it may lead to the discovery of important Japanese
papers and documents which I believe that Japanese have desired
to hide so that the Americans authorities would not be able to
In August 1945 I was a prisoner of war at Akenobe, Japan, which
is located about twenty miles up the valley from Yoka. I was
forced to work in the copper mines which were owned by the MITSUBISHI
Mining Corporation and operated by that company under government
jurisdiction. These mines are mostly operated for the copper
found there. Akenobe is located directly at the bottom of the
mountain side where the mines in which I worked are located.
The last day that we worked in the mines was the 13th of August
1945. For approximately ten days prior to the 13th I saw the
mining cable car bring numerous filing cabinets and other containers
from the terminal of the cable car at the bottom of the mountain.
Some of the filing cabinets were made of metal and others of
wood. The filing cabinets had various locks which were built
into the cabinets and which had been used to lock them. Some
of the cabinets were rather small and others were large, like
thise used in the modern offices in the United States. The cabinets
from outside appearances seemed to have sliding drawers. Most
of them were olive green in color. I addition to the cabinets,
there were numerous wooden boxes which were brought up the hill
by cable car. The boxes were of various sizes and shapes; some
were nailed shut; others were tied with grass rope, and some
were both nailed and tied. Actually, I did not see the contents
of the boxes or cabinets, but when reflecting upon the matter
recently it seems entirely possible that they contain important
records which the Japs wanted to hide away from the United States
On several occasions during this ten-day period I actually helped
unload the cabinets and boxes from the cable car and put them
on the small ore cars which were later rolled on tracks into
the mines. During some of this ten-day period the stream of boxes
and cabinets seemed constant; on other days there would be only
a load or two in the morning and another in the afternoon.
All of the boxes and cabinets which I observed were rolled in
the ore cars into the No.1 Mine. A part of this mine is said
to be 2000 years old; it contains many shafts and lateral passages.
The present active portion of the mine was said to have been
started 300 years ago. Because of the maze of tunnels and shafts,
the mine could seem to be an ideal place to hide records from
October 19, 1945
/S/ Claude R. Lewis
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 22nd day of October, 1945.
/S/ Jack O. Goldsmith
Lieutenant (jg), USNR
On 11 August 1945 the records of the main office of the MITSUBISHI
Mining Corporation were taken from the office of the mine. This
main office is located on the middle level of the mining operations
in the same area as the large machine shop and electric car repair
shop. All of the office records were removed during the course
of one long working day. Some of the records were contained in
two steel filing cabinets, while most of them were placed in
unpainted wooden boxes. Some of these records contain the material
on us prisoners of war, as we checked in and out of this main
office of the mining company. These records were also put into
the ore cars and rolled into the No.1 Mine.
Other prisoners of war, including Englishmen and Australians,
remarked about the thoroughness with which the records were removed
from the office. The electric car pulled them into the mine and
I do not believe that any Allied Personnel knew where the records
were actually deposited within the mine. Some of the tracks going
into the No. 1 Mine emerged on the other side of the hill before
entering into the other mines farther distant.
About three weeks before 13 August 1945 a quantity of mining
equipment was brought to the No. 1 Mine, reportedly from the
No. 2 and No. 3 mines, which included used ore cars and also
a new electric-type engine with overhead trolley, which was used
for transportation in the open air between the mine shafts. This
new engine was left in a shed which constituted a portion of
the building that housed machinery for operating the mine car.
This was on the middle level of the mining operations.
I do not know the name of anyone who could give more detailed
information concerning the matters above.