MARTYRS OF WORLD WAR II
PALAU, 1991, the centenary of Christianity in Micronesia, Scott 288c
from a mini-sheet of six stamps
After the outbreak of World War II in December 1941, these three Jesuit missionaries to Palau, Fr. Marino de la Hoz, SJ, Fr. Elías Fernández González, SJ, and Br. Emilio Villar y Blázquez, SJ, were confined to Koror by the Japanese. They carried on work there as best they could, but as the Americans began approaching in July 1944, their captors ordered them out of the mission quarters and moved them first to Ngatpang, then later to Babeldaob. They were joined there by three other Jesuits captured from nearby Yap, now a part of the Federated States of Micronesia: Fr. Luis Blanco Suarez, Fr. Bernardo de Espriella, and Br. Francisco Hernandez. On the evening of September 18, 1944 a truck manned by Japanese police pulled up to the house; the six Jesuits were loaded into the truck and driven off to an even more deserted spot. They were ordered out of the truck and were forced to kneel alongside a large trench where they were shot at close range by the Japanese military police. Their bodies were later dug up and cremated, but the gravesite remains unknown to the present day. The stamp above hails the three from Palau as the Jesuit "Martyrs" of World War II.