February 21, 2024

The Korean War POWs who rejected North and South Korea to go to neutral India

Seventy years ago, a handful of Koreans set sail for Madras, many with futile dreams of eventually settling in the US

On Feb. 9, 1954, 76 Korean and 12 Chinese POWs set sail from Incheon, South Korea to Madras, India to begin uncertain new lives in an undecided country.

Diehard anti-communists, traitors to South Korea, or intellectuals who transcended Cold War ideologies? This tiny handful of Korean War POWs who rejected both North and South Korea for neutral nations have been romanticized and demonized in various ways over the decades, but their motivations were much more complex than they first appeared.