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Kim Yu-yon
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2013-12-26 15:56:07  |  Hit 2467
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Abductee: Kim Yu-yon
Recorded Date: October 24th, 2005

Profile of Abductee

Name: Kim Yu-yon (male)
Date of Birth: December 1, 1901
Place of Birth: Ongjin-gun, Hwanghae-do, North Korea
Last Address: 111-10 Kongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Date of Abduction: August 23, 1950 (age 49)
Place of Abduction: At his home
Occupation: Pastor and Professor at Seoul Theological Seminary
Education/Career: Reporter/Branch Chief of Dong-a Daily, Kyeongseong Bible Institution,
Dependents: Wife, 2 sons and 2 daughters
Appearance/Personality: Slim, sharp, neat scholar type who possessed an iron will

Profile of Witness

Name: Kim Sung-ho (born in 1930)
Relation: Eldest son
Type of Witness: Indirect witness

Summary of the Abduction

- At the time of the abduction, the abductee was a pastor and professor at Seoul Theological College. He couldn’t leave the church and the school and gave up seeking refuge. On August 23, when he was staying at home, people in civilian clothes from the Political Security Bureau came in and took him into a jeep and left. Other five religious leaders were captured together on the same day.
- Other five religious leaders belonging to the Holiness Church denomination, were captured together with the abductee. It has been allegedly reported through articles titled, “Days of Death” published in a series in the Dong-a daily newspaper that the abductee lived in a concentration camp in the North and replaced to other place after being caught when contacting other pastors ministering underground churches.

Detail of the Abduction

Q. How was he abducted?
After Seoul was fallen under the communist's hands on June 28 I took a temporary refuge and before my father was abducted, I came back home from a temporary refuge. My father was one of the key figures in the church communities. Feeling of the danger due to his social position, I said to my father, “We need to take refuge to the South.” I then took him to the last stop of street cars at Mapo.

We were to rent a boat and sail out, but my father got off the car and said. “I can’t go, you yourself take refuge and I hope we can meet gain in safety.” I asked, “Why aren’t you leaving with us?” He was professor at Seoul Seminary College and pastor of SinGongDeok Church. He said, ‘There are many believers still staying behind and relying on me. I can't betray them. I have an obligation to protect and guard Seoul Theological College. If there’s no professor staying on campus, the communists will occupy the college and take it away. That’s why I should go back and protect it. And God will surely protect me.” He got on a car that came in and went back home. That was the last that I saw him.

I hid myself temporarily in some acquaintance’s house at Kumanni village of Yesan in south Chungcheong-do. After a while, I came back home immediately at the news of my father’s abduction. As I heard he was taken to the Political Security Bureau, I went there to find him. There I was almost caught and I made myself hide again. I later heard my father was seen at Miari area, so I took a bicycle ride to there to search him, but all in vain. No news of him has been heard ever since.

Q. Could you specify the situation more clearly?
Mother and younger siblings were at home and mother went out to get some food to eat. Then agents from the Political Security Bureau surrounded my house. My younger sister, then a middle school student, witnesses the scene. They drove a black jeep and parked it in front of my house.
Then they shouted to open the gate, barged in and yelled looking for my father. At that moment, my father had professors, friends of his coming home and talking about impending dangers. My father in haste hid the professors in the room and he alone came out of the room to the front door. As it was summer, he was barefoot and was taken away barefooted. On the other hand, the other professors made it to survive.

Q. Who do you think abducted your father?
The five religious leaders in the same denomination with my church, were captured to Internal Police station or the Political Security Bureau and were detained there. It seemed that the five church leaders were caught to Mapo Internal Police station when they were on campus of Seoul Theological College and that my father was seized directly by agents from Political Security Bureau. My brother said that people in civilian clothes, not in their uniforms came in and took him away.

Reason behind the Abduction

Q. Why do you think he was abducted?
Many were abducted after a confidential order by Kim Il-sung to abduct all the important figures in the legal, political and religious circles. About seventy protestant church’s pastors were abducted, one of them my father. According to the testimonies of survivors from the detention camps like Mr. Jeong Chul, many of the church community including Nam Gung-hyeok, Pastor Song Chang-geun and other leading figures were in a procession of the abductees. This proves that the abduction was carried out by the order of premeditated abduction and not by coincidence.

Q. Is there evidence that proves the abduction was premeditated?
Its scheme is also recorded in Complete Collection of Kim Il-sung’s Works, which states in a very euphemistic way, “Ask intellectuals in the leadership class in the South to come to the North and bring them.” This actually meant to abduct them. It’s a well known fact that back at that time, North Korea was suffering from lack of human resources.
The vacuum of human resources was caused as many people in leadership in the North came down to the South. Thus, the North abducted people from all walks of life whom its government considered to be useful to the South during the Korean War.
When some abductees are found to be useless, they executed the abductees ruthlessly or deported them to remote regions like a coal mine camp in Hamgyeong-do, - all corroborated facts by evidence. So it’s certain that the abduction was premeditated.

News after the Abduction

“Days of Death” was first reported by Research Institute of Domestic and Foreign Matters, a research institute in North Korea under the Central Intelligence Agency. The memories were written by Cho Chul, who was once staff of Korea’s provisional government in Shanghai. He was also among the abductees to the North. He became influential in the North that he was in charge of supervising food in the abductees’ camps. He later escaped from the North to South Korea carrying his memos with him that was about what he had witnessed on the way of the abduction and when living with the abductees in the camps. He then put the memos together corroborated by testimony records, titled it as “Days of Death” and published it through Research Institute of Domestic and Foreign Matter under the Central Intelligence Agency. It is among the most convincing information regarding the abductees to the North.
According to the record, my father is known to have had contact with North Korea’s underground church pastors and its believers. If he had not had any contact with them, he might have been able to survive longer. I think it was the pastor that he got to know when he ministered in Shin-ui-joo. When making contact with the pastor, he was caught and dragged into the Political Security Bureau and never was brought back to the camps. He has not been heard of since then. The record says, ‘He was taken to the bureau on charge of organizing and masterminding the underground churches.’ Reading his charge, I think he must have died few days after the capture from torture.

Q. Any other relation in North Korea?
In those days, all the Christians in North Korea were annihilated or went underground. But as it came known that well-known South Korean pastors were being detained in the camps in the North, there was an old lady who sold rice cake to the detainees in that camps. And the old lady created a network of communication among the pastors, as she delivered messages among the pastors in the camps. After few exchanges among pastors, her stealthy actions were noticed.

Q. Before you came to read the Dong-a Daily articles, how did you try to find the abductee?
I made every effort to find out about his whereabouts. What I did first was to enlist in the special forces on December 24, 1950. It was the first wartime unit of South’s spies who operated against North Korea. I was dispatched to the forefront and fought in the battle. I was a member of the KLO which can penetrate into the North Korea behind the line. I volunteered to join the challenging unit in full youthful vigor with expectation that since the unit was the only information unit that penetrated into North Korea, I might be able to find the abductees or at least, trace their whereabouts. Fighting in the forefront in the peak of hot summer days in 1951, all I hoped was to get my father’s whereabouts but that was impossible.
After reading Cho Chul’s testimony, I then gave up the hope that my father might have been alive. Though my single hope was crushed, I felt the pain of all other abductees’ families. So I joined the Korean War Abductees' Family Union to share their sorrows together. I have served as chief director of the union for several years.
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