Finding Aid for the Ernest O. Lepera Second World War correspondence 2018.136.w.r

Andrew Harman
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Ernest O. Lepera Second World War correspondence
source: LePera, Lane
Identifier/Call Number: 2018.136.w.r
Physical Description: 0.15 Linear feet (1 folder)
Date (inclusive): 1945 July 22 - 1945 August 23
Abstract: This collection contains thank you correspondence to Capt. Ernest O. Lepera, USA, and the Catholic Welfare Organization from victims of the Japanese Army in Manila, Philippines during the Second World War.
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 5
Container: 11
Container: 1

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Lane LePera.


This collection is arranged in chronological order.

Biographical / Historical

Captain Ernest Orlando Lepera, United States Army worked with the Catholic Welfare Organization (CWO) in the Philippines during the Second World War. Toward the latter part of the Second World War, the Philippines, particularly Manila, experienced some of the most destructive land battles of the war, creating a crisis state for the inhabitants of the islands. The services of the CWO were presented to General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander, Allied Powers to work in relief efforts.
After years of occupation and civilian concentration camps held by the Japanese, the Allies invaded the Philippines and, during the Battle of Manila, February to March, 1945, the Japanese committed atrocities against the civilian population resulting in an estimated one hundred thousand civilian casualties. Most notably mentioned in this collection is the fire that the Japanese set that consumed most of Manila, along with people and property. With the Japanese defeated in the islands, the CWO took up their relief effort and provided food, clothing and medicine to those who lost everything in the fire or to Japanese looting.
Capt. Lepera went on to earn the rank of Major and was familiar with Gen. MacArthur, though it is not known if that was before or after his work in the Philippines. Capt. Lepera was on the USS Missouri during the signing of the surrender of Japanese forces, and also participated in the Japanese war crimes trials. This information is per the donor, Lane LePera, who is the son of Capt. Lepera. More materials pertaining to these later events are expected to be donated to the Army museum in Virginia.

Preferred Citation

[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Ernest O. Lepera Second World War correspondence (2018.136.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

Content Description

This collection contains thirty-eight correspondence to Captain Ernest O. Lepera, U.S. Army, from various authors whom he aided while working with the Catholic Welfare Organization during the Second World War. The letters are thank you notes for his relief work in providing food and clothing to those effected by the Japanese occupation and the Manila Massacre in February 1945.
Most of the thanks is specifically for clothing, though medicine is also mentioned. The bulk of the letters are directed to Father Anthony V. Keane, S.J. (Jesuit) to give to Capt. Lepera from people from Singalong and Ateneo, Manila, Philippines. One letter even calls Capt. Lepera a "modern Santa Claus."
Of special note is the letter dated August 19, 1945 for its verbage and eloquence.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

World War (1939-1945) -- Philippines.
Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
United States. -- Army.
War crime trials -- Philippines -- Manila
Lepera, Ernest O. , Major
LePera, Lane