And then I shall go back to Sumber Sewu
My father was the thread in my story, since he was the most important and most loving person during my youth in the former Dutch East Indies. His death has left a deep wound in my soul. I had lost my best friend! When people ask me about the time I had to stay in my concentration camp Banyu Biru 10 in Central Java, I always tell them that although it was a very hard and a most miserable time, it nevertheless has not left me with a trauma. But my father’s death yes, even up till today. My father who was killed by the Kempeitai is my war trauma.
The second trauma is that I had to leave the country where I grew up. Indonesia the country I had loved so much. We, the Dutch people, had to leave this most wonderful country as if we were criminals. It has hurt me very deeply.
The Netherlands had two enemies during World War Two, Germany and Japan. But the Dutch people only speak about the Germans. I can’t even remember how many books I have read about the enemy Germany. It was only in 1995 that I really began to read about the other enemy, Japan. Mostly written in English of course, because the Netherlands doesn’t really see Japan as their former enemy.
That is also the very reason why I wrote this website in English, with many mistakes and all. I tried to tell the story of the Japanese occupation in the former Dutch East Indies, because it is a quite unknown story. I tried to tell about the consequences of that very cruel Japanese military occupation of the former Dutch East Indies. There are many trauma’s people had and still have from that occupation.
What made it worse, is that Japan doesn’t acknowledge their atrocities from during World War Two and that the Netherlands is absolutely not interested in what the Japanese did to the Dutch in the former Dutch East Indies.
Today I am the happy mother of my children from India. I couldn’t have wished for better and more wonderful children . Life is more gentle for me now that I am much older.
I still read many books, I do a lot of research work about World War Two in Europe and in the Far East. I can only hope that such a horrible war as the WWII was, will never come back again. I hope for a peaceful world for my children, for the next generations.
I am also helping 12 Indonesian children to school in Indonesia. Children from the island Sumba, from Kalimantan and from Malang, the town where I once very long ago went to school. Education will give those Indonesian children a better future.
And I help them with a view of doing something to show how grateful I am for my wonderful youth I have spent in their country, beautiful Indonesia.
When the day comes that I shall have to leave this beautiful earth, then I know that I shall go back to Sumber Sewu.
I shall hear my mother play the piano again and I will feel happy. I shall hear the voices of my two sisters while they are playing in the garden. I shall go to Rasmina (our cook) in the kitchen and I shall eat some of her just backed maize-cakes. I shall go to the stable and I will find Trip, my lovely mountain horse back again. I will cuddle the adorable doggies and pet the cats. I will talk to Pa Min, our garden boy. I will sit under the banyan tree and read a book.
But then comes my father, and we start walking, climbing right through the jungle.
Higher and higher we will go, until we can see the Indian Ocean.
I will see my father’s happy face again and I know I shall be very happy too!
Elizabeth van Kampen, 31-03-2007