The Dear Reader: DPRK Observations & Musings


Remembering One of the Original U.S. Prisoners of the Korean War

There are a couple of different ways to pay tribute this weekend to the late Larry Zellers, a Texas-born missionary who was captured by North Korean soldiers in Kaesong on June 25th, 1950 and held as a POW until 1953.

One is to read this nice profile piece in Mississippi‘s Desoto Times of his widow Frances, age 91. She explains how she was unable to attend a special dedication last fall in Hernando of a memorial to locals who fought in the Korean War, because the memories are still “too fresh, too painful.”

There is also Larry Zellers‘ book In Enemy Hands, which he began writing some 35 years after his ordeal. It was first published by the University of Kentucky Press in 1987. Among the reviews on Amazon is this one from a friend of the late Zellers, Kenny:

I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Zellers through the Methodist church that we both attended in Weatherford, Tx. I had heard through other church members that Larry had written a book about his experience in Korea. I even spoke to him about it in casual conversation stating a desire to read it when I got a chance. He didn’t seem to want to talk about the details of it and I didn’t press the matter. Unfortunately it was Larry‘s death that finally prompted me to purchase and read his story.

What an incredible story. It was hard to understand how the gentle elderly man that I knew could have ever possibly survived the horrors that he describes in his book. Larry was one of the very first prisoners of the Korean war and was held captive for the duration. He witnessed many atrocities as well as survived many himself. Larry doesn’t emphasize his faith in this book as much as one might expect, but it is obvious that it was his faith in God that carried him through. I believe that the following quote from the book summarizes Larry‘s faith and his struggles with the reality of his situation.

Rightly or wrongly, a full copy of the book is also posted on Google Books. RIP.


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