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Historic Place Where Tragic Baekbum’s Assassination Occurred

Historic Place Where Tragic Baekbum’s Assassination Occurred

Posted June. 08, 2005 06:43,   


Gyeonggyojang, the two-floor modern style building built in 1938, is currently attached to the front of Kangbuk Samsung Hospital’s main building in Pyeong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Baekbum used Gyeonggyojang as his office and lodging for three years and seven months until he died in 1949 after returning from China in November 1945. Since the assassination of Baekbum, the building was used as the U.S. Armed Force’s office and the Taiwanese Embassy Residence. Goryeo Hospital (current Kangbuk Samsung Hospital) then purchased the building in 1967.

On June 7, the second floor of the building, which is being used as an operation preparation room and a pharmacy, was undergoing restoration work designed to restore the feature of an office at the time of the incident.

Although the outward appearance is well preserved, the inside was remodeled and the office on the second floor where Baekbum fell has since been used as a doctor’s resting room. Seoul City subsequently designated the building as a tangible cultural property (No. 129) in 2001, and the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital recently started restoring the building.

The Kangbuk Samsung Hospital began restoration work in April after it found the building’s design drawing in Japan at the end of last year. The 24-pyeong office has a living room, bedroom, and a wall closet in the center and is surrounded by a corridor. Baekbum’s desk and table are in the living room.

Restoring and displaying the bust of the Baekbum, Gyeonggyojang model, and various kinds of panels, the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital plans to name the office “Baekbum Memorial Room.”

The Kangbuk Samsung Hospital will have a completion ceremony as early as June 24 and will open the office to people for free starting June 26, the day of Baekbum’s death.

The most complicated task in the restoration was to restore the bullet hole in a glass window. The assassinator Ahn Doo-hee broke into a living room, shot Baekbum who was doing calligraphy at his desk, and two bullets penetrated the window. The material which witnessed the situation at the time is a black and white picture which shows the image outside the window from inside the office. The picture was taken right after the assassination.

The picture vividly shows the two holes, which the bullets went through, and the weeping public beyond the holes.

After examining a number of plans for restoring the bullet holes, the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital decided to reproduce a bullet hole on a transparent five millimeter acryl board and attach the board on the glass window.

Yoon Bong-seok, who is in charge of the work and a cultural asset restoration expert, noted that he will reproduce a bullet hole that looks same as the one in the picture.

The hospital also decided to only mark footprints on the location where Ahn Doo-hee fired shots while not marking the traffic line made by Ahn Doo-hee when he broke into the living room.

Kwawg-PyoLee kplee@donga.com