1. Memories of my youth in the former Dutch East Indies;
    At the age of one and a half year old, I went to a real paradise on earth.

  2. Sumatra;
    My first years on one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia.
    My sister Henny was born.

  3. My grandparents in Holland;
    Meeting my grandparents was a very heart-warming experience.

  4. West Java
    Back to my father again, back to the Dutch East Indies.
    And staying in a strange boarding-house.

  5. East Java
    Going to East Java by train. Going to Malang the town I will always love.

  6. Tretes Panggung
    A very interesting coffee and rubber plantation on the ridge of the mount Semeru.

  7. The year 1937
    A jubilee year for me, I became ten years old.
    A new sister, Jansje. And my father bought his Rheo.

  8. At Home and in Malang
    My life at home on the plantation during the weekends and the school holidays was so different from my life in Malang. I lived in two worlds.

  9. A misfortune
    “Be careful, don’t sit next to a Chinese!”

  10. Coffee Berry Gatherers
    Disobedience punished in a very particular way.

  11. Sumber Sewu
    The house was made half out of stone and half out of twisted bamboo, and it was all painted white. The doors and windows were painted in green. On top of the house was a red zinc roof. The house was built on a small hill.

  12. In and around the house
    The Tokèh got this name because in the evenings he calls his “tokèh” several times. When he calls seven times, you may make a wish.
    But he usually stops at six.

  13. My first private loan
    The Japanese assistant looked at me, told me to wait, went to see his boss, and came back with a piece of paper and a pen.

  14. Chinese Vendors
    Chinese vendors came along with the most beautiful embroidery, their wives and daughters must worked for hours on the table-cloths, napkins a.s.o.

  15. Bendoredjo
    For New Years Eve we went to the plantation Bendoredjo near Blitar in the residence Kediri, where my Aunt Miep and uncle Pierre lived.

  16. The year 1940
    On the 10th of May 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands.
    It changed the life of many Dutch in the Dutch East Indies.

  17. A New Car
    Since my father’s old Rheo began to cause a lot of trouble he decided to buy a new car, this time he bought a beautiful black Hudson.
    I always looked underneath my bed to see if there weren’t any snakes hiding somewhere.

  18. Cats, dogs and monkeys
    While I was teaching Henny to play at hopscotch, several monkeys threw some stones at us.

  19. A First Aid Course
    My mother receives her First Aid certificate and starts helping the Indonesians from Sumber Sewu. Two young military spent a wonderful vacation at our home and Rasmina makes us scared with the ghosts coming from the banyan trees.

  20. On Holiday
    On holiday at Surabaya and Pasir Putih.

  21. Walking with my father
    Walking with my father through a jungle was an experience I will never forget. But in the mean time World War Two came closer towards us in Indonesia.

  22. Pearl Harbor
    With the attack on Pearl Harbor my happy life in the former Dutch East Indies came to an end
My father and I

World War Two in the Dutch East Indies


  1. The Dutch East Indies is lost forever
    The war with Japan was over, the Dutch Army in Java surrendered to Japan. The Japanese shock-troops entered Malang on the 9th of March 1942.

  2. Dutch a forbidden language
    Right in the beginning of the Japanese occupation Dutch became a forbidden language and all the Dutch schools were closed down. All the bank accounts were in Japanese hands.

  3. Pendaftaran
    The Pendaftaran was a registration paper for all the Dutch as from the age of 18 years old.
    Also were our radio’s sealed, so that we could not receive any more news about the war from outside Java.

  4. Bamboo Baskets
    It was at the end of October 1942 that my father and I saw 5 trucks loaded with men in bamboo baskets, passing on the road while they were screaming for help and water in English and in Dutch. I was 15 years old when I saw this tragedy that I shall never forget.

  5. Come! Let's walk home
    My father had to bring his car to the Indonesian police station in Ampelgading. His car so the police said was now from the Japanese Army.

  6. Christmas 1942
    We had Japanese visitors for Christmas the 25th of December 1942, they came to look for weapons and they made a mess all over. But at least the five of us were still together.

  7. The Jungle and the Indian Ocean
    It was my last walk with my father through the Indonesian jungle, and that day I could see the Indian Ocean. It was a most adventurous and wonderful day, but it was also a day of farewell.

  8. My poor mother
    This time, a day in the beginning of February 1943, my father had to leave Sumber Sewu and became a internee in the Marine Kamp, in Malang.
    My poor mother had a real crying fit.

  9. My sixteenth birthday
    My father and I stood two meters apart with a iron gate between us, I never saw him again.

  10. A Japanese visitor
    In the beginning of May 1943 we had a Japanese visitor who asked my mother to play the piano for him.
    He gave my sister Henny a chance to get through the heavy pressure of the war. He gave my mother a small box with some medicines.

  11. Adieu Sumber Sewu
    These were our last days at Sumber Sewu, a coffee and rubber plantation I shall never forget.
    At no other place did I feel so at home as at Sumber Sewu.

  12. My first internment camp
    De Wijk in Malang was my first internment camp, it meant no more freedom. It meant living behind barbed wires.

  13. The Kempeitai
    My father fell in the extremely cruel and sadistic hands of the Kempeitai in Malang.
    The Kempeitai were the elite of the Japanese military forces. In Japan the civilians had to go down on their knees when they saw the Kempeitai, no matter how far away from themselves.
    The Kempeitai were trained from very young, to kill. Killing their victims was their job and filled with a deep hatred against all those who were not Japanese.

  14. My prison in Banyu Biru
    Leaving my father behind in a Kempeitai prison, leaving Malang, the town of my youth, hearing how the young Indonesians hated us, I couldn't stop the tears falling on my cheeks.
    After almost 24 hours in a blinded train sitting on a dirty floor, we arrived at the Banyu Biru prison, our new home was a ROEMAH

  15. Bed-bugs
    During the first night in the Banyu Biru prison a elderly lady in her sixties died.
    The prison was invaded by bed-bugs, I had never seen such a dirty place before.
    The 18 th of February 1944 my aunt Miep was also brought to this nightmare camp and she told us that my uncle Pierre was taken by the Kempeitai and brought to Jakarta.

  16. My first job
    I became a grass cutter, squatting on the ground, 3 till 5 hours a day.
    My mother, my two sisters and I moved to a cell in group C – D. A normal life seamed so far-away in this prison

  17. The roll call
    Every morning we had a roll call, and at the same time we learned four Japanese words. We had tea before and our starch breakfast after the roll call.

  18. The toil and moil group
    As from now on I worked outside our prison, I could see the mountains, I could see the beautiful landscape of Banyu Biru and Ambarawa. I could hear the so typical sounds of Indonesia again. Nevertheless all the hard work I felt a little happier.

  19. The Japanese camp commandants
    The camp commandants came to tell us what we had to do and what we were not allowed to do. The camp keepers were there to keep order, see that we worked enough and of course they were there for our daily call roll.

  20. Christmas 1944
    There was no soft candle light, there were no Christmas carols, and there was no Christmas dinner. My home was a dirty mattress, seventeen years old and almost without dreams.Christmas 1944 passed like any other day, there was nothing special at all.

  21. Donata Deska?
    That and a lot more, is what the Japanese military asked the Dutch night-watchers who were walking around in worn out clothes in the middle of the night.
    Walking barefoot to Ambarawa with heavy cavalry carts over the hot asphalt were the few better days during my forced stay in Banyu Biru. Those walks gave me the feeling that I was on the road to freedom.

  22. Sixty-five little boys
    It was a dramatic moment when those little boys, just 10 years old, had to leave their mothers. They looked so completely lost when the trucks drove them away from their “home”.

  23. Pamphlets
    A Dutch aeroplane flew over Banyu Biru on that great day, the 28 th of January 1945, hundreds of pamphlets came falling out of the sky on the ground of my prison.
    The pamphlet coming from general van Oyen, staying in Canberra, told us that the war in Asia as well as in Europe was almost over.

  24. Cruel punishments
    The punishments the women received because they had been smuggling, while they knew that this was strictly forbidden, were extremely cruel.
    The mothers had to smuggle to keep their sick children alive, but the Japanese guards didn't care about those hungry Dutch children.

  25. A nightmare
    Japanese officers took some of our young women out of the prison with them. The poor women cried, they knew very well what was going to happen to them, this was a nightmare, this was really far below level, this was criminal.
The years after World War Two


  1. Our Dutch Anthem, the Wilhelmus
    The 24 th August 1945, we were told that the war was over since the 15 th August.
    We were free at last, and never before or ever after did our Dutch anthem, the Wilhelmus sounded so beautiful as in this dirty smelling prison of Banyu Biru on the 24 th August 1945.

  2. And again we are prisoners
    Around the 15 th September 1945 we were ordered to stay inside our prison since it became too dangerous for us to go outside. Permuda's , young Indonesian rebels were trying to kill the Dutch women and children. The permuda's had nothing to do with the regular Indonesian army, they were young to very young, they were extremely fanatic and full of hate against the Dutch. Later on I learnt that there had been a lot of Japanese propaganda against the Dutch during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia. This was the final Japanese blow towards the Dutch people living in Indonesia.

  3. We became refugees
    At very last we could leave our dirty an smelling prison Banyu Biru 10, we were no longer safe in this place, we became refugees.

  4. Farwell beautiful Indonesia
    In December 1944 my uncle Pierre died in a Kempeitai prison in Jakarta.
    My mother, my two younger sisters and I had to leave Semarang, it became too dangerous for the Dutch people to stay much longer in Indonesia, the small British army in Indonesia couldn't protect us well enough against the angry Indonesians. Farewell beautiful Indonesia.

  5. On our way to Sri Lanka
    The Princess Beatrix, a Dutch ship with a British crew brought us safe to Sri Lanka. The four of us received a room with four camp beds, that gave us some privacy.

  6. The death of my beloved father
    I lost the best friend I ever had.

  7. The Netherlands, a home-coming?
    No, it was not a “home-coming” at all, the people from the former Netherlands East Indies were not really welcome in Holland.

  8. Back in school
    Not only did I have to go back in school, but I also had to go to a different type of school.
    My whole life had changed completely, I had to learn how to live in my grandparents country.

  9. Pen-friends, Paris and a year in England
    I was happy with all my pen-friends, they showed me that the world was so much bigger than Holland alone.
    My weekend in Paris was an adventure and a dream at the same time.In October 1948 I was going for a year to England.

  10. From England to Amsterdam, and my wedding
    In England I learned English, but not enough, I learned to clean a whole house and looked after three spoiled children. Nottingham was a very nice town, London was beautiful and I flew back to the Netherlands, but I kept on reading English books and newspapers.My training as a student nurse in a big hospital in Amsterdam did me a world of good, I have learned a lot. And I started a new life when I married Richard.

  11. From the Netherlands to South Africa
    After a wonderful journey on board of the “Waterman” we arrived in a complete strange world, from a strange continent.  I was fascinated by Cape Town, I would have liked to stay there instead of going to Johannesburg. But there were far more jobs to be found in Johannesburg than in Cape Town, so we had to go further.

  12. Johannesburg
    It was in 1956 that I arrived in Johannesburg, a dangerous but very fascinating swinging town. I liked this town, this country South Africa, but I never loved it.

  13. From South Africa to the Netherlands
    I went back to the Netherlands without my husband after many disappointments. Leaving behind me the several nice friends I had made, leaving behind me a beautiful country full of hate. Leaving a fascinating Continent.

  14. From Amsterdam to New York
    It was really wonderful to see my mother and sisters back again. My sisters were both married , Henny had a daughter and son, Puck (Jansje) had a daughter.
    I stayed one and a half year in the Netherlands and I was off again, this time to America.

  15. From New York to Lausanne
    I had really planned to settle down in the U.S.A., like so many Europeans I had dreamed about a real paradise on earth called America.  A country where everything was possible, but I was disappointed. Of course I had seen just a small part, but although there were many things I liked in New York, I have also seen many ugly things. Nobodies fault, it was just not my type of country.

  16. Switzerland
    I had all the luck in the world, when I could live in Switzerland, the country that gave me my health back, and even more so, Switzerland gave me the chance to find myself back again.

  17. In search of my father
    As from 1984 I started looking for anything I could find about my father. I started with our family tree, I went to Helmond the town where he was born, I wrote letters to the Red Cross and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs the answers were polite but empty. My father was a political prisoner of the military Japanese, anything and everything could have happened to him.

  18. Why did the Kempeitai kill my father
    I shall never forget his smiling face and his friendly eyes full of humour.

  19. Back to beautiful Indonesia
    Being back in Indonesia gave me the feeling that I wanted to stay here forever, but of course I knew that I could only stay for one month, so I enjoyed every single moment in this lovely country with its nice and friendly people. 

  20. Falling in love with Sumatra
    Being a few days on the island Samosir on Lake Toba has brought me back to my youth. Again I was surrounded by friendly Indonesians, again I could feel the beauty of this most wonderful country.  And I was falling in love with Sumatra.

  21. Medan, Palembang and Bandar Lampung
    By plane from Medan to Palembang and by train from Palembang to Bandar Lampung, travelling over and through beautiful Sumatra and meeting the most wonderful people.

  22. Back to Java
    The first morning was a sad visit at the Menteng Pulo cemetery, where my uncle Pierre was buried. He was killed by the Kempeitai in "Batavia" today Jakarta, in December 1944.

  23. Java, a beautiful volcanic island
    When you visit the Dutch cemeteries and see all those white crosses with the names of the men, women and children who were the victims of the Japanese occupation in the former Dutch East Indies, you feel ashamed that you can come back to Indonesia as a tourist.

  24. Mysterious Central Java
    The Borobudur and a very special talk with an Indonesian gentleman.Yogyakarta and its famous batik and silver, the sultan’s palace, but most of all the friendly people everywhere made my journey through Central Java, very special. 

  25. On our way to East Java
    Drinking Koppi Tubruk in Kediri, staying in an old-fashion style hotel in Blitar was a just like a dream. Kediri and Blitar were the first towns I could recognize , because I have been there with my parents before the Japanese occupation. As from now on, I am no longer a tourist. I am coming back home.

  26. Back to Malang
    Back in Malang was something I can hardly describe, it was wonderful and very emotional.  Malang was the town where I grew up, where I went to school, where I had my friends. More than 50 years ago the Japanese military had loaded the Dutch women and children in trucks to drive them to the Malang station. Many young Indonesians had hissed and yelled at us.  It had hurt me badly while I had stood there with tears in my eyes. But now  in 1996, I was back, and this time I was happy and smiling.

  27. The Lowok Waru prison
    2 October 1996 I visited the ex-Kempeitai prison in Malang, in the quarter Lowok Waru, where my father was slowly killed by the Japanese occupiers.
    I visited the graveyard Sukun in Malang, but I didn’t find his name.Impossible to describe my feelings of that day. I was completely heartbroken.

  28. Back to Sumber Sewu
    To be back at Sumber Sewu, the place I love most on earth, it was all like a real dream.
    The house was gone that is true. Many things have changed that is also true. But I saw all that green around me again, just like a green paradise. I could feel the presence of my father around me. Thank you Sumber Sewu.

  29. Walking through Malang
    Walking through the streets from Malang, visiting my old school, my swimming pool,shop in shop out, what a lovely day I had. This was really being back in Malang, the town I will never forget.

  30. On top of the Bromo
    To climb a mountain like the Bromo is not easy at all when you are 69 years old. But I made it and I am quite proud about this adventure. It was beautiful and very special.

  31. Ngliyep and my last day in Malang
    I had to leave Malang, I had to leave the town where I spent the most wonderful years of my youth! When I saw Malang for the first time in 1936, I asked my parents if I had to go to school and to a boarding-house in Malang, I was so very happy when the answer was YES. Malang became my town.Today it is Malang that has taken the war traumas away from me.

  32. Leaving my father, leaving Malang. leaving Indonesia
    When the plane lifted off, when we were really leaving the country I love so much, tears were falling on my cheeks, I couldn’t stop them.

  33. Demonstrations in front of the Japanese embassy
    Every second Tuesday of the month we, around seventy Dutch East Indies demonstrators, stand in front of the Japanese embassy.
    Still hoping that the Japanese ambassador will tell us one day that he acknowledges the crimes committed by the Japanese military in the former Dutch east Indies during World War Two.

  34. Japan and the Japanese
    I had planned to visit Japan with an open mind, but it was as from Nagasaki that I felt positive about Japan. Had my father ever been in Nagasaki? I hoped so.
    I learned a lot in those two weeks that I was in Japan.  There are fine people in every corner of this world, of course also in Japan!

  35. And then I shall go back to Sumber Sewu
    My father was the thread through my story. His death was for me the trauma of World War Two, I had lost my best friend.

    The end.