Hellfire Pass is part of the Thailand–Burma Railway, a 415 kilometers (258 mi) railway between Ban Pong, Thailand, and Thanbyuzayat, Burma, built by the Empire of Japan in 1943, to support its forces in the Burma campaign of World War II. The conditions of the Prisoners and Asian laborers working on the railway were extreme and many died. But the conditions in the Hellfire Pass area were the harshest, with much rock to cut by hand and some explosives. It is estimated that 90,000 of the Asian workers died and 12,621 Allied POWs died during the construction of the railway. The POWs who died included 6,904 British, 2,802 Australians, 2,782 Dutch, and 133 Americans soldiers.
It is reported that as many as 700 prisoners died in the Hellfire Pass area alone. The area was not big but the work was treacherous and physically grueling. Also some 70 prisoners were reported to be beaten to death.