Last Attuan captured by Japan in World War II dies at 84

The old village of Attu was in Chichagof Harbor. (Zoë Sobel/KUCB)

The last surviving person from Attu, Gregory Golodoff, passed away earlier this month at the age of 84.

Golodoff was a young child in 1942 when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded his village in the western Aleutians. The Battle of Attu was the last major action of the Aleutian Islands campaign of World War II.

All 42 Attuans living in the village were taken to Japan as prisoners, including Golodoff. Only about half of them survived the experience.

Attu was abandoned after the war, and most of the returning Attuans settled in Atka, about 500 miles from their home.

two children
Gregory Golodoff and his sister, Elizabeth Golodoff Kudrin , photographed on Atka Island, sometime between 1946-1947. (Courtesy Of National Park Service, University Of Washington Press and Ethel Ross Oliver)

Golodoff spent most of his life in Atka. He was the tribal president in the 1980s when Atka saw significant growth, including the building of a new subdivision and a new school.

His sister, Elizabeth Kudrin, passed away earlier this year. They were the last two living people who were born and lived in Attu.

Gregory Golodoff was living in Anchorage with his wife when he passed away on Nov. 17. His funeral service will take place at St. Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Anchorage on Monday, Nov. 27.

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