Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

October 2009

Creation Date


Publisher Information

Florida Holocaust Museum in conjunction with University of South Florida Tampa Library and Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center


Asaba (Nigeria), Civil War, 1967-1970, Crimes against humanity, Esenwa, John


This is an oral history interview with John Esenwa, a survivor of the Asaba Massacre, a mass killing of civilians which occurred in 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War. Esenwa, who was fourteen years old when the massacre took place, was attending boarding school in the Asaba area at the time; his school was about a mile from the city. When the soldiers entered the city, the support staff stopped coming to work, and the decision was made to close the school, but the teachers had trouble finding adequate transportation. One day, a cattle truck on its way to the Nigerian soldiers' camp stopped at the school and offered some of the students a ride. Esenwa and several others accepted; on the road, Esenwa changed his mind, jumped off, and went back to the school. None of the children who accepted the ride were ever seen again. In this interview, Esenwa also comments on the causes of the Asaba Massacre and discusses potential ways to memorialize and identify the victims.

Physical Information

1 sound file (42 min.) : digital, MP3 file + 1 transcript (15 p.)