The Japanese camp commandants
Our first camp commandant was Sakai, in November 1944 Suzuki became our second commandant and in February 1945 came Yamada as our third and last camp commander.They did not only have the Banyu Biru prison under their commands but also camp 6, 7 and 9 in Ambarawa as well as camp 11 in Banyu Biru.The camp commandants came now and then to give some orders, to tell us what we had to do and what was not allowed to do.
The Japanese camp keepers was a different story. They stayed in their own rooms from the prison near the gate, strictly separated from us the prisoners. Outside the gate stood a Heiho who kept watch during the days and during the nights.
Our camp keepers were Ochiai, the second one as from May 1944 was the very strict Ito, the third one as from December 1944 was Hashimoto who stayed with us just for the month December 1944 ,Isikawa also stayed one month January 1945 and in February 1945 Hashimoto, came back again until May 1945, our last camp keeper was Wakita he left us in August 1945.
Our Dutch camp leader was Mrs. Eichelberg
We were told that as from January 1944, we were no longer Internees, but from that date on we were considered as Prisoners of War, even the youngest children. And so, as from January 1944 we were treated as POWs. A strange situation, because in Malang we were told that the Japanese military had put us in camps to protect us against the Indonesians, but now in Banyu Biru we learnt a different story.
My malaria attacks came more often, more or less every two weeks. Each time I had a very high temperature, it made my “job” a lot harder. On top of that I found some head louses in my hair, it was also one of those camp plagues, one had to live with it. I washed my hair as much as I could with cold water of course. In the end my hair became very dry and looked like straw.
On a certain day when I was outside working on the land, a Heiho told us that there was some wild purslane around the place where we were working. Each one of us hided some of that precious wild vegetable under our clothes. My mother washed it and the four of us put it in our cabbage starch soup for dinner that day. I also found some snails at certain times, so my mother and some other ladies (also working in places where there were snails to be found) boiled the snails in water then threw the first water away, and boiled them two more times, when ready we cut them in tiny pieces and mixed them with our rice. Those days were our happy days. But I often worried about my father, what did he get to eat? I couldn't help him.
When I finished my daily work outside the prison, and after a bath of course I tried to find some books to read. Books are heavy so most of us didn't have books. But luckily I had success by Mrs. Dame and Mrs. toe Water, they both had a couple of books. I had taken two study books an English and French one with me in my rucksack We were not allowed to study at all! But these two books came from my happy days at my boarding school in Malang.
Music was not allowed either in Banyu Biru camp 10, I have always been sad about the fact that we never heard a sound of music from the 14 th of February 1944 right until December 1945, I missed it very much. After the war I learnt that some camps had been allowed to make some music or listen to music.
My mother and my sister Henny became both very skinny, and my youngest sister Jansje hardly played at all, she also had quite some malaria attacks as well. My poor mother also began to lose some of her teeth, I felt sad to see how my family slowly became sicker and sicker.
In the meantime there were more women and children coming into our prison.The 19 th of November 1944 there were 600 coming in from Kareës and on 21 November, 350 women and children they came from the camp Tjihapit.The trouble was of course that when more people came in our prison, we received less food, we had less space and there was less water for us all.
Everyone walking into our prison said the same thing; “What a horrible camp!”