In the quiet of morning, exactly six
months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese
touched down on American soil. Landing
on the remote Alaska island of Attu,
they assailed an entire village, holding
the Alaskan villagers for two months and
eventually corralling all survivors into a
freighter bound for Japan.
One of those survivors, Nick
Golodoff, became a prisoner of war at
just six years old. He was among the
dozens of Unangan Attu residents swept
away to Hokkaido, and one of only twenty five to survive.
Attu Boy tells Golodoff’s
story of these harrowing years as he
found both friendship and cruelty at the
hands of the Japanese. It offers a rare
look at the lives of civilian prisoners and
their captors in WWII-era Japan. It also
tells of Golodoff’s bittersweet return to
a homeland torn apart by occupation
and forced internments. Interwoven
with other voices from Attu, this richly
illustrated memoir is a testament to the
struggles, triumphs, and heartbreak of
lives disrupted by war.
Except for his imprisonment in Japan, Nick Golodoff (1935–2013) lived his life in the
Aleutian Islands. Rachel Mason is a cultural anthropologist for the National Park
Service in Anchorage, Alaska.