My poor mother
In the beginning of February 1943, my father received a phone call from the police-station at Ampelgading that he had to leave Sumber Sewu within 6 days. The police told my dad that mr.Sloekers my father’s boss also had to leave and they both would be fetched by a dokar, (a buggy) that would bring them to Dampit and from there they had to take the train to Malang.
Both had to go straight to the Marine Camp, in Malang and had to announce themselves by the camp leader.
My father told my mother that the moment had arrived that he had to leave us all behind in Sumber Sewu. We passed a very sad week. My father gave the last helpful instructions to Karto and several others. He just went daily to the fabric, finished all the paperwork and then he stayed at home with us. He had prepared this departure long before, all the Indonesians from Sumber Sewu knew their jobs. He had arranged that my mother would get some money from Surabaya every month through mrs.Sloekers, she and her son lived not far from us.
His suitcase was packed, he went fishing early in the morning and always caught one or two,
he stayed so wonderfully calm as if he was going away for a few days only. That made my mother a lot calmer as well.
But then the day arrived that my father had to leave us. We saw the dokar coming towards our house, mr.Sloekers was already in the buggy.
Karto and several other Indonesian foremen had come to say goodbye, they hoped that my father would soon come back to Sumber Sewu. Wonderful people.
My father embraced my mother and his three daughters with tears in his eyes, took his suitcase and walked to the buggy, greeted mr Sloekers, the buggy turned around and left us standing there completely lost. Henny started running after the buggy and then walked crying back. In the meantime, my mother started crying, she really had a terrible crying fit, Jansje started crying as well and Cora and I didn’t know what to do. Luckily Rasmina came from the kitchen to comfort my mother. She brought my mother to bed and kneeled down beside her and caressed my mother’s hair until she became calmer again. Lovely and wonderful Rasmina was very upset about what just happened to the Dutch family she had given a place in her heart.
The house without my father looked terribly empty and I realized that from now on life would be a lot harder, I felt completely lost and could hardly sleep that night.
Mrs Sloekers had phoned my mother they spoke a long time together, that was very good of course.
The next day we all realized that life goes on, Henny, Cora and I started studying again and Pa Min kept an eye on Jansje while she was playing in the garden. My mother was still crying now and then, and she phoned my aunt Miep to tell her that my father was interned in the Marine Kamp in Malang, my uncle Pierre was already interned in Kediri. Most Dutch men were all interned by now.
By the end of the week the postman brought us a card from my father! He wrote my mother in the Malay language, that everything went well, and that the camp was not really bad as long as you did what the Japanese told you to do. His job was to work in the garden and he liked that a lot, there was also a good library in the camp and the food was reasonable.
We were all very happy with this first card from my father.
But the next day my mother started worrying again, she was so scared that we also had to leave Sumber Sewu, this was her home, this was the place where she felt safe. Sumber Sewu was the place where my father would come back to her.