One of the most emotional places that you can visit in Thailand is สุสานสัมพันธมิตรthat is located opposite the main train station. Laid out in straight lines in the beautiful garden of flowers are the graves of more than 7,000 prisoners of war who had been forced to endure the inhumane treatment by the Japanese soldiers during the construction of Thailand-Burma railway.
During the Second World War, prisoners of war and other Asian labourers had to endure different disease, torture, malnutrition and overwork while constructing the railway that will connect Thailand to Burma. The brutal conditions that they were subjected to were closely similar to hell on earth that is why the railway was called Hellfire Pass.
Many of prisoners of war died or were killed. According to the calculations of historians, at least 38 of the Allied prisoners of war died for every kilometre of the track laid on the railway. The soldiers were initially buried at makeshift grave sites on various locations along the railway line but after the war ended the สุสานสัมพันธมิตรor Don Rak Cemetery was designed as their final resting place.
The Don Rak Cemetery is also a memorial to the fallen soldiers with their names, ages and regimens engraved on the headstones. For the unidentified soldiers, a simple inscription reads “A soldier who died for his country.” It is very obvious that the cemetery is properly maintained with fresh flowers of remembrance beside every headstone.
Entrance to the cemetery is free. Visitors are allowed from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Every April 25 (Anzac Day), an emotional service of remembrance is held. Every year, the service is attended by visitors from abroad including several groups of expatriates in Thailand. ANZAC means Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
Anzac Day is an opportunity for people to remember the fallen soldiers at สุสานสัมพันธมิตร. Religious ceremonies are held at dawn to commemorate their sacrifices and death which was the time when the soldiers landed. At about 10:00 AM, a wreath is placed at the Alliance Military Cemetery with representatives from Australia and New Zealand.