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Previous • How it started 1941 • 1942 • 1943 • Tjihapit • Camp Solo • Semarang • Back to Holland

Camp Book Japanese invasion

Camp Solo  C14-11-1944 --- 3-6-1945)

13-11-1944
At 7:30, after a lot of good byes, we left home. Roeli was picked up by a velo
with a stretcher mounted on it. Saying good bye to Friso was the most difficult
thing to do. Fortunately Aunt Mies stayed back with him at home, which was
very sweet of her. At 8 o’clock we were all standing on the Orange Square. At
8:30 we all walked, heavily packed, through the main gate. Wouter was very
quiet. We still had to wait a while for the trucks and the busses that would
bring us to the train station. Both Aunt Amy and Mrs. Vink surprised us by
joining us for a minute outside the gate. Actually they weren’t allowed to do
that, but they were able to slip through by walking next to a stretcher. And
thus they became the last ones who waived us goodbye from Tjihapit. At 9
o’clock we left. Along the Grote Postweg and the Papandajanlaan we rode to
a small railway station in the neighbourhood of Karees. We belonged to travel
group number 7 and our Hantyo or guide, was Mrs Ebelink. Soon we were
driven like cattle, hit with bamboo sticks, into the railcars. Wouter too got hit
on his little head, but Mom luckily was able to fend it off a bit. He didn’t cry.
What a humiliation was that!
We were packed with 68 people into a 4th class railcar. (4th class = goat
class). At 10 o’clock we left in the direction of Garoet. Roeli luckily travelled in
the ambulance car, where Mom spent some considerable time with her as her
caretaker. I managed to send her 2 notes accompanied by some
dengdengglumpers (= rice cookies with meat). Our Merdika neighbours had
so thoughtfully prepared those for us. Including even some special ones for
Woutertje, filled with some veggies. He liked them very much. He has been
very sweet and even managed to sleep for a while. At first, all windows had to
stay shut, but later they were allowed open once in a while. We passed
through the most beautiful landscapes. Wouter really enjoyed looking out the
window, because it was his first train trip. But at every station the windows
had to be closed. Underway a Jap repeatedly came by checking if all of us
were still there. The worst thing was that we had only one washroom. Many
children had an upset tummy. As our doctor we had gotten Dr. Hennequin de
Haas. As soon as the windows were closed, it became boiling hot. And as
soon as they were finally allowed open again, we all put our coats on,
because we were soaking wet. In the evening we passed the stations of Maos
and Kroja. There we stopped for a long time and got warm water.
Mom, in the mean time, had joined us again, because someone else
volunteered to stay with Roelie. And so we went into the night. For the
children, as far as possible, some sleeping room was created. Both Mom and
I took turns holding Wouter on our lap and attempted to sleep while sitting up.
What stiff and sore we became from it. I was also able to secure a spot on the
floor. At least I could lie down and stretch myself for a bit. But every time the
doctor came by with a sick person or people who had to go to the bathroom. A
lamp we didn’t have, so we had to light with candles. Finally we saw it
becoming lighter outside and at 5 AM the train stopped and we were in … Solo!
There we had to get out.
Poor Mrs. Lob slipped on the steps, fell, and broke her wrist. That was so sad.
But luckily she was picked up by the ambulance crew.
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Then we had to get in line and started walking, all packed and bagged. First
through a kampong (= a native village), followed by a long road, than we
turned a corner and there we finally saw the bilikken walls of our future home
in front of us. We were very tired and exhausted. We almost stumbled through
the gate. Once inside we had to line up again, counted and then led into a
shed made out of bilik. But the inhabitants of this camp welcomed us very
friendly. They brought us delicious coffee and tea. Soon we were assigned
our bunks in the shed, on which we fell down, exhausted. At first Woutertje
ran happily back and forth over all those bunks, but after a while he was not
allowed to do that anymore and Mom tied him up with a piece of rope, which
made him cry out loud. He kept crying and crying until finally Mom lied down
with him and he fell asleep. Soon I broke down too and cried my heart out. I
was so tired and it had been such a terrible trip. Mom gave me a sleeping pill
and soon I fell into a deep sleep. As a result I didn’t notice that all our bags
and backpacks were being “inspected”. Luckily not much had been taken,
only a few pictures from Daddy in his military uniform, a few booklets and our
little knife with the yellow handle. But that little knife was returned to us a little
while later by a young boy. He had taken it sneekingly a little earlier. Also the
booklets were returned a few days later, but now sporting a Japanese stamp.
Our shed is called block 19 and consists out of two long rooms called A and
B, separated by walls made out of bilik. There are no windows in them, but on
top there is some bamboo lattice work for ventilation. The bunks are placed
against each other and there are 2 bunks for every 3 people, thus we got 4 of
them. We’ve got a real native bathroom toilet, namely small little rooms, with
built-in brick basins and a hole in the ground with 2 raised brick steps for your
feet.
But something is an advantage: we don’t have to go and get our food at the
kitchen, but it is being delivered in tubs and distributed from there. One
comfort is that we now are being treated exactly the same as the men and not
a hair better. The food here is much better, except for the bread. That is very
sticky. In the afternoon we get rice, sajoer (= dish made out of wet veggies). 1
table spoon kedele (soy souce) and some kind of sambal (hot sauce). Very
tasty! One of our Tjihapit bread loaves we swapped for a pair of wooden
shoes.
We already discouvered two acquaintances: Mrs. Graafstal, who we knew
once in Perwakarta as Mrs Gehl. I was allowed to take a refreshing bath in the
bathroom from her block. Further we met to our surprise Aunt Christien
Slotemaker de Bruine. She enjoyed seeing us again too. She is the minister in
the camp. All the people in this camp came about a year ago from the
women’s quarter in Malang. Thus they are here already for a year! Brrr!
Roeli has been taken immediately from the train to the hospital by car and is
in good care. Paul is also very tired and sleeps the entire afternoon already.
There are also a few older boys and a few men in the camp. Their hair has all
been shaved off and that looks so ugly, like bandits.
Woutertje gets here only about 200cc of milk daily. In that respect we got a lot
more in Tjihapit. There is also no buttermilk. In the evening, during dinner, the
camp commander Funakushi came by and asked whether we liked the food
85
here better. It seems that he is very kind and it looks like he takes good care
of this camp. All people here are looking at the delicious bread loafs we
brought with us from Tjihapit and are very much willing to swap them for other
stuff.
14-11-1944
Despite the lack of our duffel bags, klamboe’s or blankets, we slept like logs
anyway. We slept on top of our coats and Mom slept together with Woutertje
on a small bag from Aunt Aaf. (Mrs. Graafstal). This afternoon the mattresses
were delivered, all mixed up. Finally we found, after a lot of digging, three of
the four back. Now we can sleep comfortably again. This is a lot better than
the floor in the train, where one had to lay down curled among many legs and
feet. Our neighbours are Mrs. Beckman with her little sons Hans and Bubi and
on the other side Mrs. Beckman with her little son Bernie. That poor little boy
has long blond hair, because his mother refuses to cut it before his father has
seen it. Further she is a very nice lady.
This morning I went to wash all our dirty cloths in the laundry. That is a very
large room with water tubs built-in at each wall and in the middle a large brick
table for shrubbing. Fortunately we could borrow Aunt Aaf’s tub, because our
buckets still haven’t arrived yet.
This camp originally was a hospital. Now they have added some big barracks
and it consists out of two parts: the Solo camp and the Boemi camp,
subdivided into 31 blocks. Do you know who else I met again here? Tineke
Fokkinga. She has lost a lot of weight and has become quite skinny. We really
enjoyed meeting each other again and loved to talk about old high school
memories. No instruction is being given in this camp. Only children between 3
and 6 years old are allowed to go to a kindergarten. That is a pity but we are
planning to continue the lessons by ourselves and Mom will help us with it.
Now we don’t have the energy for it yet, because we are all still very tired and
weak. Roeli, fortunately, is doing well.
15-11-1944
Today our luggage arrived, but they first have been turned upside down at the
gate, before being allowed in. The Japs and the Kleponners (=Native soldiers
in Japanese service), took all kinds of stuff out, especially candles and
matches. They also took the beautiful pencil-set from Heleen and from Paul
they took some tin soldiers and some toy airplanes. One lady had a kilogram
of bacon in her suitcase. The Jap asked her brute: “Dari mana?” (= where
does that come from?). And she answered joyfully: “Dari gedek”. (= from a
hole in the wall) Then he too bursted out in laughing and after some waiting,
he let her have her suitcase. One of the Kleponners cut through a roll of wool,
because he felt something hard inside. It turned out to be an empty thread
spool. In the shed we immediately unpacked the suitcases. Over the bunks
we’ve got a shelf, on which we can store all kind of stuff. We store the
suitcases themselves under the bunks.
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Both Heleen and Paul’s tummies are upset and they are getting nassi-tim for
a week. That is excellent here, always with carrots and broth in it. Wouter gets
that too, only his is strained.
Every morning at 8 o’clock and every evening at 9 o’clock is roll-call and at 10
PM the lights go out. Thus just as at the men’s department. We were lucky
because we’ve gotten a spot just below a light.
16-11-1944
Thursday. Today we got our klamboes, blankets and bucket. Fortunately the
mosquitos didn’t bother us yet.
Woutertje was so annoying today that Mom finally tied him with a rope to one
of the pillars, so that he could still walk and play a bit. He hated it with a
passion. We miss his play pen so much. The hair of all boys over 6 years old
is shaven off and this morning also those living in our shed had their
treatment. Paul hated it. At first he sat down with his head hidden under a
pillow for a while, because he didn’t dare showing himself. But he was
comforted somewhat when we told him that both Daddy and Friso were
probably shaven as well by now. But he looks pretty sad indeed.
All people here have to officially perform 6 hours of camp duties per day, but
almost nobody does it. Both Riet Lips and I have as camp duty to clean the
rice and soup bins after the food has been distributed. We all still feel very
weak and each night we drop in our beds exhausted.
19-11-1944
Sunday. Today is Aunt Aaf’s birthday. Woutertje handed her a handkerchief
and a flower, which she very much appreciated. Further there were a lot of
other camp presents, among them some real nice ones.
This morning, it was our shed’s turn for the hairdresser. One could get here
even beautiful waves and curls. We all had a trim only. Lately we have all
been de-liced, because there was one woman in the shed that had them.
Roeli is fortunately a lot better now, and she will probably be back with us
soon. It has been very hot here lately. For Woutertje we are allowed to have
some porridge cooked each morning and evening. We mix his yogurt through
it. Luckily the plants have survived the trip.
20-11-1944
Today I became sick. Mom thinks its influenza. Bah, not nice!
24-11-1944
Friso had his birthday today. Where would our little boy be and how would he
be doing? Aunt Aaf knew about it and brought us a beautiful white flower.
Poor Mom!
I am on a nassi-tim diet.
Continued with short notices:
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29-11-1944
Thursday. I went to the hospital with influenza. I was put into a room together
with both Mrs. Bakker (who has passed away) and Mrs. De Vries. Diet: Broth,
mashed potatoes and vegetable soup. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
visitors come from 12 o’clock until 12:30.
Delay for the departure of the boys and the men. Their hair doesn’t have to be
shaven off anymore.
5-12-1944
Sinterklaas (= Dutch version of Santa Claus. Note that Santa Claus is a
corruption of the original Dutch version of Sint Nicolaas) went through all
sheds accompanied by 2 Pieten (Pete’s = Black skinned assistants,
traditionally called “Pieten”). Funajushi came along too. Woutertje said: “Piet,
Piet!”. Further he can also say: “Pap eten” (= eat porridge), “boek” (= book),
“toomai” (?), “buite eten” (= eat outside), “ting-ting”, “linke en eten” (= drink
and eat), “Goeli-Goeli” (?), “Akoe, Jien, Friso, Amy, Mies and Aaf”.
11-12-1944
I am taken to the rest house, where also Else Smits and other acquaintances
are staying. Fortunately I am doing a little better noiw.
13-12-1944
Today I was discharged from the rest house.
16-12-1944
Sick again, unfortunately.
24-12-1944
Aunt Chris held a Christmas church service on the Tjemara Square. The Jap
wished us both good days and a happy new year.
As a treat there was an egg in the sambal (= hot sauce) and everyone got one
“djeroek nipis” (= small green lemon). We decorated inside too, with self made
Christmas decorations.
I feel better again, fortunately. Roeli’s tummy is upset again, probably the tail
end of the bacillary mouse.
At coffe time we ate “colombijntjes” (= cake) and stir coffee (= instant coffee),
just like a party!
26-12-1944
There was a Christmas play performance.
29-12-1944
Now Mom is sick, also with a form of bacillary dysentery, but fortunately not
so serious.
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31-12-1944
New Years Eve. We were allowed a short church service. Mom and I read
some Christmas stories. At 10 PM the light went out and thus we went to
sleep as usual.
1945
1-1-1945
Woutertje is sick. Luckily we could get some rice porridge for him. Inside the
shed it is very hot and therefore we carry him in turns outside into the shadow
of the trees.
3-1-1945
Heleen has the smallpox and Paul’s tummy is acting up again.
6-1-1945
At 12 o’clock noon both the boys and the men had to leave, nobody knows
where.
7-1-1945
For the first time I had duty as fushinban (night watch), together with Mrs.
Groenewegen. To the Japanese patrol I had to say: “Dai dju kju kumi no
fushinban fukumuchu ijo harimasan”, which translates into: “I am the night
watch from block 19 and report that there is nothing to report”. Unfortunately I
started to feel really bad, had nausea and a lot of diarrhoea. At 1 o’clock I was
taken to the hospital.
At 3 o’clock in the afternoon new people arrived from Ambarawa, Soerabaja
and Karees and among them fortunately only a few sick people. Heleen is
very sick too, but luckily Woutertje is better now.
Today we remembered the 8th anniversary of the wedding from Juliana with
Bernhard.
10-1-1945
I fee a bit better today and I am allowed to have some mashed potatoes. But I
am still very weak. Today is also Doortje Dohrendorf’s birthday. How would
she be doing?
11-1-1945
Today is visiting day again, always welcome. I slept still in this morning for
quite a while, so the visiting hour approached quickly. For a minute I thought
Mom had forgotten about it, but luckily she showed up. She told me that the
sick ones were doing well and that Wouterje’s stool looked good again. She
must be very busy, I thought.
Right after the visiting hour was over, I cryed for a while. I felt so weak and so
miserable. Not that I am not properly being taken care off. I am quite OK here
and they feed me well, even that bite of mashed potatoes is something
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extraordinairy. As soon as the doctor noticed that I had been crying and asked
why, she said that starting tomorrow I would get the normal rice with sajoer
again. That would do me good and make me strong again. I sure hope so.
14-1-1945
Sunday. I am now in the rest house, just next to the spot I laid last time. I feel
a lot better already, but still very weak. Still, it is heading in the right direction.
Yesterday morning it was not very quiet here, because a buch of Japanese,
together with Kleponners, were building a guard post in a tree behind the rest
house. What for we don’t know. A few girls had to splice bamboo for it. Those
were such stupid girls. They were flirting with the Japanese and got some
cigarettes. Bah!
21-1-1945
Luckily I am home again. Yesterday morning Mom, Roeli and I went to
church. Aunt Chris had a beautiful text: “Let the children from Israel go along
the road I will show them”. It was so well to understand. Afterwards we have
been sitting on the Tjemara field with Woutertje for a while. For him it is there
a good playing field without either mud or trash cans.
From the Ambarawa people we learned a good way to make stir coffee. First
you have to whip the coffee extract up until foamy and than add every time a
spoonful of sugar. It starts to look just like coffee cream and it looks a lot more
than it is.
For quite some time now we didn’t get any sugar or any porridge, yesterday
for the first time we’ve got some again. There came actually still a delicious
surprise from the kitchen: real stew with pieces of meat and potatoes. How did
we enjoy that, yummy! Our Toko money didn’t last till the end of the month
this time, because we spent too much to start with.
Until February Mom doesn’t want me to do the laundry, because she is afraid
that I will get sick again. Did I really become such a weak puppy? But I still
help her with rinsing and hanging, because she too feels often very tired.
There is something really peculiar going on with us: we are all … healthy
again. Fantastic! Only Roeli is still on a spruw diet for her tummy. That is
delicious: four or five different vegetables and a cup of broth with a piece of
meat in it. Woutertje gets some of the broth too. Than he has such a heavenly
expression on his face!
Yesterday Roeli said: “Woutertje, say: “Good Morning Mommy!” And than he
said: “Morning Mommy, morning Mommy!” That’s very cute. It is such a sweet
little boy.
A sad message to report: this afternoon Dr Engels passed away. There are a
lot of deaths lately. I am afraid I am going to get smallpox, because there is
already one fat one sitting on my belly and another on my arm.
1-2-1945
Luckily I am better again. Last week it was the worst, because I was covered
with smallpox and they itched so badly. I felt really miserable too, but now it’s
over. I have even been outside already with the babat-gang. We had to cut
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the grass along a ditch and also trim a hague down to the roots. It was a hard
job and we were all boiling hot, but the Jap thought that we didn’t do it right
and let us stay behind. Finally we were allowed to go home at 2 PM after a
long reprimand. We all had gotten a bad sunburn.
For the longest time we have been without sugar, but today the kitchen
handed out 1 ounce per person and tomorrow we may be able to get some
from the Toko. This month we will be more careful with ordering, because if
not, we may be short again.
Woutertje has been very ill again. About a week ago he suddenly got high
fevers which persisted. On the fifth day Mom decided that it would be better to
take him to the hospital after all. Something we all resented. But fortunately,
by the next day the fever dropped somewhat. Red spots appeared all over his
tummy. People said that it had been the “five days illness” (whatever that may
have been). He was much more upbeat now, but still weak. At everything he
said: “No”. But we are so happy that it was nothing more serious.
19-2-1945
I am now being assigned to the patjol squad (a shovel which can be used to
hack as well), which consist out of 100 women and girls. Each morning we are
on duty between 9 and 12 o’clock. Roeli is by the weeding squad and is on
duty in the afternoon between 2 and 5 o’clock. It is tiring, but healthy work out
in the open and in fresh air.
We all feel very weak and slow lately, which is obviously caused by the lack of
enough food. For a while we have had no bread, only porridge. Two new
doctors have arrived: Dr van de Broek and Dr de Haas, the brother of Dr.
Hennequin, which is very nice for her. A while ago he has been in Tjimahi too
and talked to Daddy, but he didn’t remember much of it. His next assignment
was in a women’s camp in Semarang. He told us that the lodging there was
much better, but the food was way worse. To live in a shed like ours was
really very bad he said. Lately we are infested by rajaps (= white ant, termite).
Every day we have to feel around the supports of our bunks to find out
whether or not they climbed up and got into the mattresses yet. Lately we
found an entire mouse nest in our backpack complete with 5 tiny little mice
babies. They made a nice soft nest out of Mom’s beautiful shopping bag.
They had been chewing on other things too. That was a real pity. During one
night they hauled away half of our supply of lomboks and ate them on Mrs.
Van Nie’s shelf. Only the seeds were left.
28-2-1945
I do my patjolling now in the afternoon, because that suits Mom better. Today
we were off, because at 11 o’clock the siren went and we had to retreat back
inside the sheds. But fortunately, the alarm didn’t last too long and soon we
were allowed to go outside again.
Today no sambal, because no lomboks (=Spanish pepper, the main
ingredient of sambal) arrived. But the soup was very tasteful, complete with
pieces of meat and potatoes. Bread we are still not getting, only porridge,
porridge and porridge.
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A while ago I devised a nice little plan: to draw Woutertje’s portrait for Mom’s
birthday. Roeli will hold him still while I do the drawing. It is very difficult, but I
think I will manage.
Aunt Chris has started a small Sunday school in our barrack, for which Roeli,
Heleen, Henny Giese Koch, Corry Lieneman and I will act as teachers. Last
Sunday Heleen had influenza and Paula has taken care of her class. Luckily
she is better now, but she still looks very pale, especially in comparison to our
tanned skins. Woutertje is now better again and Mom, in general, feels good
too, but is often weak and tires quickly. But that is something we are all feel.
12-3-1945
Time flies! In about 3 weeks it’s Eastern again. Yesterday it was Sunday and
together we went to the church service on the Tjemara field. At those services
are always a Jap and a translator present. Aunt Chris read a sermon and
thereby she read a beautiful piece about the time of suffering Jesus went
through. In the afternoon we had our Sunday school. Because it was raining
cats and dogs, we sat down in the aisle of room B with the children. We talked
about the last supper. My pupils understood what was being said, but Heleen
thought it was a little hard to understand for her little ones.
Normally we have got that hour in the morning, but today all female garden
workers had to report for work. The roster had been changed again. First we
had to work 3 hours a day, either in the morning or in the afternoon. Now it is:
every other day 2 ½ hours both in the morning and in the afternoon. Roeli is
among those people that have been working today and tomorrow it is my turn.
We are all off on Sunday, Wednesday afternoon and on Saturday afternoon
and that is nice. The patjolling is not too bad. At first I got blisters on my
hands, but they have turned into callus now. Lately, while I was rinsing the
patjol off next to the well in the Boemi camp, I heard a burst of very loud
cracking. What happened: a Jap had been cutting away at one of the large
rain trees in front of our barrack. When one branch came down it took a
number of other branches with it. The Jap was not in such a particularly good
shape. His arm got caught in between two branches and was probably brused
or fractured. When he finally climbed down his arm was hanging limp. Once
off the ladder he fainted. Another Jap caught him.
Last week we were allowed to send another postcard to Daddy, even one with
a date on it. We wrote:
“9-3-2605” (Japanese year).
Daddy, dear Friso,
After much illness we are all ok again. We hope that too for the Friso’s. No
card received yet. Each evening we think about our two Friso’s. Keep faith in
the Lord. Woutertje is very smart. In the train he was very sweet, slept well.
Earlier we were here by Kapa, now with Jack, Bertha, Christien. Our greetings
for the peace of the Friso’s, family and friends. Kisses from… Anneke, Roeli,
Heleen, Paul Woutertje, Landa”.
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When will this card arrive? Woutertje turns into a real betoel (smart *ss).
When he has gotten a treat, and we close the box and say: “It’s finished
Woutertje”, than he says: “No, no, cookies, more, more!” He has a cold now
and comes every time obediently back to us and says: “Nose, nose!” And we’ll
blow his nose again. Yesterday I taught him to say: “Sst!” with his finger in
front of his lips. He had to laugh his head off at that one. Also he can play so
nice “peekaboo” with Bernie Beckman, who is staying with us now while his
mother is in the hospital. That boy still has long blond curls. His mother finds it
a pity to cut them off, before his father has seen it. He looks just like a girl.
At night he sleeps next to me. He turns and tosses a lot. Sometimes, in the
morning, I find his little head right next to me on the pillow. When he wakes up
at night, he reaches out to feel if I am still there. Poor little boy, he misses his
Mommy very much. Fortunately she has almost recovered and it looks like
she will be back soon.
A while ago Mom had some red spots on her legs. Dr. Hennequin prescribed
her some yeast which helped right away. Yesterday some Papaya’s came
from the Toko and among the 6 of us we could share one. Delicious!
Today we ate half of it and tomorrow we are going to eat the rest. Yesterday,
for Sunday, we made stir coffee again. That was very tasty. One thing is
rather disturbing though: every time when we have some treat, the Mulder
family on the other side of the aisle sits there staring at us. The mother is ok,
but she raises her children the wrong way. Those children are jerks, they
beggar for treats wherever they can get them. They also cry at least once a
day. Especially John is the one we don’t like. Mom thinks he’s mentally
challenged. The whole picture looks to me like something a family shouldn’t
be.
Last week, for a few days, we got pancakes instead of porridge. Very tasty!
Complete with sugar and cinnamon. But Toean (= Master) Nippon decided
that we had used too much flower and oil and the fun was over. Now it’s back
to 2 table spoons dedek-porridge (=porridge made from poor quality
ingredients) in the morning and in the afternoon some rice with sajoer and
sambal. Lately I started shaking uncontrollable from hunger and quickly drank
four cups of tea. It helped somewhat.
Last night we played some games together, among them “Pit and Quit”. Mom,
during the evenings, often reads from the Bible and from the song bundle.
And in the morning from my booklet: A prayer for every day. Woutertje can
already fold his hands so sweetly, while we say grace before a meal.
This morning there was a meeting between all block-leaders from the camp
and a high ranking Japanese officer. Many topics have been discussed,
because they were allowed to bring all complaints forwards. Of course the
food has been discussed as well. They asked for more rice and bread instead
of porridge. Further they asked for: oil, beans, sugar, fruits and milk for the
children. Dr de Wolf was called into the discussion as well. He said that the
garden labour was way too hard in comparison to the food supplied. The
women would go “antjoer” (= break down) from it, he said. Further was asked
if the coffins, made from old bunk beds, could possibly be made by others
93
than by our girls. The Jap was surprised to hear that and seemed not to have
known about it.
Also a request was made to get school instruction for the children. “No, that’s
impossible”, he answered. Then he asked if we knew something about about
the progress of the war. “No”, was our answer, “We read the last newspaper 3
months ago. That one said that fighting was going on at both the Filipinas and
on the Salomon’s Islands”.
“Yes they are still fighting there as we speak”, the Jap answered. “America is
strong, but so is Japan. In case the American Army would arrive here, how
would you comport yourselves?” “We would remain calm”, was our answer.
“And in case our army would have to retreat, how could we possibly protect
you? Are you then coming with us, or would you prefer to stay behind in this
camp?” “We prefer to stay behind, but under the protection of some
Japanese, until the American occupation arrives”. Further he asked if we were
willing to stay eventually under an Indonesian government. “No, that would be
unthinkable”, was our answer. “Because, as a matter of fact, we have been
occupied by Japanese and not by Indonesian forces”. The discussion kept
going on for a while longer and than the meeting was over.
I don’t know if he could give us some more hope. We all are so looking
forwards to an end of this occupation, without Daddy, without Friso, but with
hunger, anxiety and hopelessness. Let’s hope that it may be a happy ending
and not an ending as Hall Caine described in his book: “Love above hate”:
“The first years of peace maybe worse than the last years of war”.
Daily roster: (aside from the garden duty):
08:00 AM. Roll-call.
08:30 AM. Making toast for Wouter and pick up the porridge.
09:00 AM. Get hot water for coffee or tea.
10:00 AM. Do laundry and place bath water for Wouter outside into the
sunshine.
11:00 AM. Pick up the bread.
01:00 PM. Pick up rice, kedele (=highly nutritional yellow bean) and some
fruit.
01:30 PM. Pick up Wouter’s milk, rinse laundry and hang to dry.
02:00 PM. Pick up soup and sambal.
05:00 PM. Pick up hot water, toasted bread and porridge.
06:00 PM. Pick up laundry and bring inside.
09:00 PM. Roll-call.
10:00 PM. Lights out.
14-3-1945.
Today has been very quiet, because I had no garden duty. Roeli was on a
shift and Mom had to stand in for someone’s shift this afternoon. It was her
first time, but fortunately it wasn’t too hard on her. It left her with a nice sun
tan. I thus took care of both the little monkeys this afternoon. While they were
asleep, I made some stir coffee for both hard working garden workers. They
were deliciously surprised and we, of course, had to taste the coffee too.
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This morning another inspection by some 10 high ranking Japanese was
announced. Everything had to be in ship shape, of course. At 11 o’clock, 7 of
them came trudging through the camp. They did not even look into our shed.
15-3-1945
Today is a big day for us because… sugar has arrived! We got 8 ounces per
person and that is a lot.
Mrs. Beckman has returned this morning, so Bernie has gone back to her
again. But Mrs. Wesly (across from us) is going to the hospital tomorrow and
her little son George will get under our care for the time being. It’s a real
naughty boy, but he can also be very nice.
This morning I was on patjol duty, but I got next to no work assigned. The
arrangements have changed again: First group A worked one day and group
B the other, but now is it group A the morning shift and group B the afternoon
shift. Thus both Roeli and I now take turns to be away on the same day.
Woutertje was so funny this morning. As soon as he noticed that I was on my
way to the garden, he said: “Akoe tuin” (tuin = garden) and a while later he
came up with my pocket knife and said: “Akoe mes” (mes = knife). It was so
funny that he already understood that we take a knife with us when we go to
the garden for weeding.
2-4-1945
Yesterday it was Eastern Sunday. In the morning Mom, George and I went to
church. They told us that there would be a baptism ceremony too, but that
was cancelled. Aunt Chris spoke about the three days: Good Friday, Silent
Saturday and Eastern Sunday, as the sad day, the silent day and the happy
day. For us these are the sad times, but if not followed by a time of silence
and introspection, than no happy day will ever come afterwards. I thought she
said that very well. Lately we are sitting a lot outside, behind hall B. It is very
quiet there and so we can enjoy the beautiful weather. Mom reads us than
something from the Bible. From between the trees, we can just see a part of
the Goenoeng Marbaboe. Yesterday the evening sun shed a beautiful light on
it. On that spot I often teach my Sunday school class.
Yesterday morning we got porridge again instead of djagoeng, which many
people regretted, because they had wanted to fashion eastern eggs out of the
djagoeng for the children. But not to worry, eastern bunnies, birds and little
nests with eggs were created out of lobak, roots and laboe. That looked very
funny. Roeli made one of those nests with a bird on it for Paul. Peter and
Teun Groenewegen got from them a root-bunny with two buttons for eyes. For
my Sunday school class, I made root-eggs with a little blue thread bound
around it, some laboe-grass in it and some sugar as a border. They all liked it
very much.
Roeli didn’t feel well. We spreaded her class among ours. George is now with
me. Luckily he was quiet, which doesn’t happen too often. Especially in the
afternoon, when he has to take a nap, he can be a pain. That is also because
his mother spoiled him lately quite a bit and gave in on too many things. When
I ever will have children, I promise that there is one thing I will never do: to
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spoil them too much. Once in a while a little spoiling can’t hurt, but never so
much that they become annoying.
Yesterday we made stir coffee again for both the Sunday and the holiday.
Mmmm! And in the afternoon we watched the pictures that we were able to
take with us. Many memories bubbled to the surface. I also have been able to
read some in a lovely book.
Here follow the names of the nurses in the big hospital:
Zr. Aalders, Zr. van de Voort, Zr. Wemper, Zr. Beer, Zr. Verdonk, Zr.
Hogeboom, Zr. Prossman, Zr. Hen, Zr. Meier, Zr. Gracius, Zr. van Heusden,
Zr. van Dijk, Zr. Bot, Zr. Hendriks and Zr. Suus.
My life mission:
“Going through life with courage, light hearted and love, paired with a deep
trust and faith in God”.
Some wise words I encountered:
If your face wants to smile, let it! If it doesn’t, make it!
Giving, and being happy to give, makes ones life rich.
Keep your smile and make the best of it.
Answer with mercy, spiced with salt.
“Than, even than, I am rich in God!” cries my soul.
2-4-1945
For more than 10 days in a row we only get some kedele in the morning and
some porridge in the evening.
In the afternoon with the rice we got a little djagoeng. The kedele doesn’t go
down well, every time I got a tummy ache from it. Now we have learned
something new from Mrs. De Vos: we make peujeum (= fermented porridge)
from it. That can be done from either djagoeng as from kedele, but with
djagoeng it tastes way better.
Recipe: First in the meat grinder until fine, and then put away mixed with
yeast, sugar and water. It works beautifully and it is better to digest.
In the garden we have an odd job to do, namely we have got to pull all kinds
of hedges out complete with the roots. And we’ve got to do that with our
patjols! I now have a blister on my hand again, which didn’t happen anymore
while doing the usual work. The hacking on those trunks is extremely tiring
and also the patjols are suffering. Only when coffee arrives, nobody is tired
anymore.
10-4-1945
Luckily the Toko is open again, although many items have become more
expensive. Toilet soap: 58 ct, laundry detergent: 45 ct, kwee boloe, (= cookie)
16 ct, a columbine 37 ct, 1 ounce of onions, 36 ct, 1 ounce lombok 36 ct.
Fortunately sugar has arrived today: 1 pound per person. Delicious! It is
terrible not to have anything around here. This morning I was so weak again,
that I couldn’t do much. Mom also suffers the same thing.
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Last Friday there was a search covering the entire camp (Money, radio’s,
electrical appliances, etc.). As nervous as I was before, so indifferent I felt
now. We just started our work in the garden when three kleponners came
running by. A little later a lady from the office came telling us to return home.
Soon we saw more kleponners and also Japanese. All sheds were secured.
At our shed they were all busy putting the opened suitcases on top of the
bunks. A Jap came running in and while shouting: “Keloear, keloear!” (= out,
out) we were chased outside. Outside under the two rain trees, we had to
wait. Our shed was first. They didn’t even find much. A small basket full was
the entire loot. Then our bodies were frisked. Luckily we were handled by Mrs.
Van Dalen and Mrs Groenwegen, but at all the other blocks it was done by a
kleponner.
Brrrr! Finally, finally we were allowed inside again at about 3:30 PM, all very
sun burned and hungry. Inside it was a mess; everything was piled and mixed
up. Heleen’s piggybank lied broken on a shelf, but the half cent coins were
still in there. We didn’t miss anything. They almost seized our warm water
bag, but both Mrs. Van Dalen and Mrs. Groenewegen were just able to avoid
that. All the food stood prepared in the kitchen and was ready to be handed
out. That tasted good!
29-4-1945
Sunday. Unfortunately a church service was not allowed today. Hearing that,
we went and sat down behind hall B on a quiet spot with our sandwiches.
Mom read us from the Bible. Yes we had a real sandwich again, because
Toean (= Master) “Nippon” had already for a week the “grace” to send us
some real bread. The yeast is made here in the camp and than sent to the
factory. The djagoeng portions are getting smaller and smaller. Our Sunday
meal consisted out of extra thick porridge and half an ounce of sugar. Mmmm!
Corrie, Roeli and I went this afternoon again to the club formed by Miss
Kerling, who talks about all kinds of interesting things from the world of
biology, among other things, about bacteria, injections, vaccines, sera,
contagious illnesses, cowpox etc. I love it, because there is still so much I
don’t know about. Both Corrie and I have agreed with Katrien Miedema, to
start French lessons. We want to try to repeat the third part of the “Cours
Pratique” again and to read once in a while a story from my book. We have
asked Mrs. Wesly to both help us a little and to explain some things to us. She
does it with pleasure and that is very sweet of her, because she doesn’t feel
too good yet, after her illness.
Jopie van Nie is staying with us now, because his mother is in the hospital
with angina. He is quiet and doesn’t have as many tinka’s (= whims) as usual.
I now have three jobs simultaneously: I have to wash the djagoeng, I am a
spare patjol person, and I am the assistant of Mrs. Viegeler, the hall nurse. My
nursing wish is starting to take shape already, because I now have to take
care of Mrs. Wesly, Bakker and Leefers. Making beds, bathing children,
preparing warm water bottles, picking up food, and so on. It is not too bad. I
like it to help and to take care of things. And later I could work nicely in a big
hospital, alongside other nurses. And who knows, with Daddy as the doctor?
97
Within a few days a 1000 kilo’s oebi has been harvested from the gardens.
That is now regularly being mixed into the sambal, very tasty. The garden-Jap
was content with our work. Further each of us was allowed to submit a
request. Many didn’t do it, because they didn’t know what to ask for. We
wouldn’t get any more food anyway and other requests are perhaps going to
be ignored as well.
2-5-1945
Mrs van Nie is back from the hospital. Our peace is gone!
Further notable news: We are allowed to order eggs and pisangs (= bananas)
at the Toko. 1 ducks egg: 47 ct, 1 chicken egg: 39 ct, 1 pisang 10 ct. A rip-off,
but we still ordered an egg and a pisang for each one of us.
7-5-1945
20 Years ago Daddy and Mommy married! What would we have celebrated
that differently in another time!
12-5-1945
Good news and bad news! A while ago the rumour went that more Red-Cross
packages were going to arrive. But then we didn’t hear about them anymore.
Now, all of a sudden, the message came that they were here and ready for
hand out. There was a hurray when we heard the news.
Now the bad news: This afternoon Miss Bouvy called everyone in the block
together to tell them that in the office it was announced that this entire camp
had to move. It was funny to notice the different reactions. While one was
laughing, another was crying, a third one looked puzzled and the children had
visions of an exiting train ride. Further she told us that we didn’t have to hurry
packing, because it could still take a while. Whereto and when, she didn’t
know. We don’t mind it as much as before in Tjihapit. Now we just pick up our
suit case and walk!
13-5-1945
This afternoon, to our big surprise, we received two postcards: one from
Daddy and one from Friso!
On the one from Friso a lot had been censored out. There were only 3
sentences left: “I am healthy, also Rob Krijger, many kisses”.
And then it was signed with such a disarming childish signature. From
postcards sent by other boys we understood that he is still interned in the
Bandoeng camp. Probably he’s in a boy’s camp headed by a lady. That is
what Mom likes the most.
Daddy mailed his card still to Rijpwijk 84, so he didn’t even know that we had
left. From his card nothing had been erased. He wrote:
2605-2-11
I hope that we all are still in good health. How are the children? Do you have
enough money to survive? My thoughts are often with you all; especially for
the moment we may meet each other again. I am content.
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What a pity that Friso is not with him. Both the husband and son from Mrs.
Kok are together instead, because she received one postcard from both of
them. Daddy had to put “Blanda” at the “from” spot and he has written the “B”
very thin and the word “landa” very fat. So funny is that. At first we didn’t
understand what he meant with the last sentence, but now we think that he
hopes that we will be together again for the next birthdays. We hope that too!
14-4-1945
Woutertjes second birthday! It was very busy and a lot of presents at our spot.
This morning almost all children from the shed were grouping around the
birthday boy and his presents. From almost everyone he got some little
something. It was so nice. Wouter didn’t become shy in the least and he was
not overwhelmed either. Joyfully and nice he un wrapped everything and
while opening a package he shouted: “Ai, Ai!” Especially the djahe’s (=ginger)
he liked.
And to add to the festivities some of the Red-Cross packages were already
handed out. We were suddenly immerged in an unknown luxury, because we
got: cigarettes, cookies, pie, candy, raisins, soap, milk powder, chocolate,
chewing gum, corned beef, cheese and plum pudding. Of everything of
course only very small portions, but hey, it was delicious. And more to come
tomorrow!
15-5-1945
Now came from the land of milk and honey: bacon, sausage, jam, ragout,
marmalade, plum pudding, pie, salmon, coffee, custard, for the children and
one plum.
My, my, what were we thankful to the people who had been organizing those
packages! It was so good!
The block-hen has laid her first egg today, an egg without a shell! It was
raffled among the children and Wouter won it!
Just now it was announced that the move will start May 25. The sick will leave
first.
We can now pick up our books from the library. And also the big aluminium
pot, they borrowed from us for use in the kitchen. We did a good trade: for a
good amount of soap, we got a big red pot and a plate in return.
16-5-1945
There was still no end to all the good gifts. Todat we got evaporated milk,
kitchen syrup, sugar and margarine.
22-5-1945
Today is the birthday from both Aunt Mies and Grandfather Bosman.
Muruwi visited our shed; he is still as fat as ever. Among the transport of the
sick will travel: Mrs. Wesly, Bakker, Leefers, Beckman, Parree, Koek, Aunt
Willy Giese Koch and Aunt Christien.
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23-5-1945
Mom’s birthday! We ate a small pudding at Aunt Christien’s. It was very
comfy. A kleptomaniac woman stole handkerchiefs from the cloth line, also
some of ours. A few of them we were able to get back.
25-5-1945
The people belonging to the first transport have to hand in their suitcases and
barang, among them are Mrs. Beckman and Mrs. Parree.
26-5-1945
Tonight at 1:30AM the first transport, for the major part consisting out of sick
people, has left for an unknown destination. People whisper: to Moentilan. It
was full Moon.
27-5-1945
Sunday. Hauling mattresses to the front gate and load them into trucks.
28-5-1945
Daddy’s birthday, not spent together again. How long will all this misery still
last?
Today Mrs. Wesly, Bakker, Posthumus, de Geus, Leefers, Aunt Willie Gise
Koch and Zr. Ziegler left. I am block nurse now and have to report everything
out out the ordinairy to Zr. Snellen.
30-5-1945
Wednesday. At 5 o’clock Aunt Aaf Graafstal left. We moved to block 18 and
are lying down on bare bunks. We will probably leave on Sunday or Monday.
31-5-1945
We are leaving Sunday at 5 PM. Our travel numbers are: 308 - 314. We are
getting a lot of both djagoeng and kedele and we are making cookies out of
them.
I have been scavenging on the garbage dump behind the camp and salvaged
some usable pieces of cloth. I earned some cigarettes for hauling suitcases.
Smoking I find disgusting, but cigarettes make good trading items. Woutertje
is running around through all the mess and has a great time.
 

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