| The War That Came Early |
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
|Appearance(s):|| Hitler's War|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
Herman Szulc (pronounced Schultz) was a private in the United States Marine Corps stationed in China in the 1930s. He was of Polish descent. Herman Szulc was squadmates with Pete McGill. He and McGill had been friendly in Peking, but their relationship grew intermittently tense in Shanghai whenever Szulc spoke disparagingly of Vera Kuznetsova.
Szulc was a fairly stupid man. He was a racist and was offended that the Japanese who controlled coastal China obviously considered themselves as good as white men. (In fact, to the extent that the Japanese were race-conscious, they considered themselves much better than white men, though Szulc was not aware of this.)
Szulc was captured by the Japanese in Shanghai in 1941 and interned at Unit 731. While there, he was a ringleader in an elaborate shell game the Marines played to confuse the guards' attempts to get an accurate count each morning. Hideki Fujita, commander of the squad of guards set over the Marines, attempted to learn how and why the Marines were doing this by interrogating him through an interpreter. Szulc was initially defiant until Fujita beat him into submission. Fujita then warned that Marines would be killed if they continued to confuse the count--a bluff, since the scientists in charge of the facility wanted all the American prisoners to be treated well. Szulc passed the word along to his comrades, but they continued to confuse the Japanese count. When Fujita realized this, he immobilized the Marines on pain of death and counted them one by one. He determined that three had escaped, probably some time ago. When he reported this, he was reduced in rank to corporal as punishment for his negligence.