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Camp Book Japanese invasion

From Motherland to Fatherland (2-11-1945 --- 30-5-1946)

2-11-1945
All of a sudden everything went into acceleration. We received a call to go to
the airport. In an open truck we sat together among our meagre possessions.
In town there was an ugly, anxious athmosphere and we had to keep our
heads down as much as possible to avoid being noticed. At around 11 o’clock
we arrived safely at the airport. Once there we had to wait for the airplane to
arrive, which didn’t seem to want to come. Finally, at 5 PM, we could leave for
Batavia. It was a beautiful trip from an hour and a half along the coast line with
both clear skies and a setting sun. From the Gurha’s we got some food from
cans to eat. After touch down they took us to the Tjikini hotel for the night.
3-11-1945
We couldn’t leave yet and thus visited both Aunt Amy and Dr. Lim.
Bellakroontje had to lay an egg and fulfilled that task sweetly in a hotel
cubboard.
4-11-1945
In a silver Douglas we flew to Bandoeng with our joyful hearts full of
expectations. And yes! On the Andir airport, we met our two sweet Friso’s
again. Both emotional and happy, we were finally able to hug each other
again. Daddy had not much changed, a little skinnier and a little older
perhaps. But Friso Jr. was a pale skinny boy with a fat oedeem belly. We
heard that he had been sick for three months, but thanks to the faithful help of
a few steph fathers, he had managed to overcome. If they were able to get
something extra, they shared with him. If they smuggled something, he got a
share. Unfortunately, Akka did not survive. But terrific, we were together
again. For the time being we were lodged in Hotel Homan.
10-11-1945
We moved into house “Beatrix” our own house at the Beatrix Boulevard,
which had survived the war time in reasonable good shape. We further met
the family de Ridder, Mandersloot and Uncle Ies de Koning, who were lodged
temporarily in the Ursulinen Monastry.
16-11-1945
Uncle Ies leaves for Batavia.
23-11-1945
Lately we received letters from Holland, from Grandmother Willie Bosman,
Aunt Willie, Uncle Albert, Aunt Nonnie, Aunt Heleentje, Uncle Gerard, Aunt
Annie and Uncle Maarten. They also had their share of difficult times during
the German occupation. Both Grandfather and Grandmother Schrieke have
passed away and also a few older Aunts. In Holland there was a possibility to
be active in the resistance, something that was unthinkable here.
Latest news: Semarang has been bombed. Here we only experience a
boycott in the food supply.
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We would love to go to Holland too. Grandma Willie already has even offered
the use of her house, as temporary shelter. But it seems that there are not too
many transportation opportunities here yet. I went both to the church and the
PJC again, but it has become a rather scary enterprise, because many
robberies and kidnappings are taking place here lately.
24-11-1945
Friso Jr’s birthday. Both Aunt Ank and Uncle Ben de Ridder dropped in with a
photocamera. People are being murdered all the time. But we still found a
way to go for a swim with Woutertje, which he enjoyed very much.
Now there are two Gurkha’s sleeping overnight in our house, but we still keep
our flight luggage ready, just in case. It is a stressful time full.
28-11-1945
This afternoon we were drinking tea with kwee-talem (= sort of cookie) on the
balcony, when suddenly a shooting started. Gurkha’s slipped by under cover.
Cars were being shot at. A militairy vehicle with a machine gun mounted on it
came from the Dago road and drove into the Irene Boulevard, but didn’t do
anything more than that. From the direction of the Kampong the shooting
continued.
In the evening people fleeing from the outermost row of houses ran by. They
saw the armed natives approaching. That was the moment we decided to put
our suitcases downstairs to the ready.
The shooting intensified. A loud explosion bursted nearby. We fled to the high
school at the Dagoroad. Our suitcases we loaded both on top and hung from
a bicycle and Bellkroontje went into a basket. The bullets whistled around us.
An orange package full with stuff was left behind in the garden and we forgat
to lock the front door. Quick, quick, go go! Many others joined the flee. At the
high school we were accomodated in the aula and there we got a spot to
sleep on the podium, on top of some old curtains and the basket with the
chicken on top of a chair.
29-11-1945
This morning early we went back to “Beatrix”. Everything was still in order.
Even the orange package was still lieing in the garden. Afterwards we could
get a ride with the car from Dr. Stibbe to the pavilion of the Ursulinen
Monastry. The de Ridder family moved to the Banda street and the family
Mandersloot moved to Tjihapit.
Since yesterday I have yellow feaver again and my appetite is almost gone.
5-12-1945
A real St. Nicolaas and three “Pieten” (= black skinned assistants), came
along and poured candy from their bags. They even handed packages out.
(Wouter, unfortunately, was just doing his afternoon nap). Our three boys got
a beautiful American made miniature train together, complete with tracks and
also a nifty flask, made out of a klapper (= coconut) shell. Roeli, Heleen and I
received each a needlecraft and a buckle. Mom got a hand bag with a napkin
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for each of us. Late in the evening we still got another two Australian
packages filled with toiletry and other useful items. No shoes, unfortunately.
For a few days all kinds of cans were handed out. Mmmmm! They included
bacon, butter, herring, milk and some packages with biscuits.
22-12-1945
Today Grandma An Schrieke would have had her birthday. (22-12-1874). We
received another long letter from both Grandma Willie Bosman and Aunt
Willie. There was also a letter from Uncle Jack Schrieke (Mom’s brother) from
Bangkok. Grandma’s house is ready and waiting for us. Roelie got another
letter from Ot van der Brug.
Yesterday it was our turn to receive cans with corned beef, milk, margarine
and biscuits. Roeli received also an Australian package.
In the newspaper we read that Uncle Bou Krijger departed from Batavia to
Holland on December 5th. Both Aunt Amy and Uncle Ies hope to follow suit by
boat soon.
Tonight there is a music performance from a sextet.
23-12-1945
Sunday. Ds. Woortman read the sermon. On other Sundays Ds. Van der
Linde does that. He will start in January to teach catechismus and both Roeli
and I will join those lessons. Two weeks ago, Paul fell on his butt two weeks
ago and one of his back vertebrae has been hurting since. He had to lie down
for 2 weeks. It is better now, but he still has to take it easy for a while.
Bellakroontje still lays an egg every day. She has run away once, but the next
day we found her back across the street.
Again we received letters from Holland.
A few days ago there was a performance from a funny magician in the local
community theatre: Leonardino, together with Miss Fatima. Lovely!
25-12-1945
This morning we attended a Christmas service with Ds. Van der Linde. In the
evening there was a Christmas celebration for the children. We all got a little
bag filled with goodies, chocolate bar and chocolate milk. Woutertje was very
exited. On top of our table we had some candles as well. A real festivity!
26-12-1945
We attended a Christmas celbration for the elderly with a beautiful choir.
31-12-1945
News years eve, complete with real oliebollen! (= sweet deepfried
doughballs). We all stayed up until 12 o’clock midnight.
There is an exposition about “How Holland lives, works and builds”.
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1946
1-1-1946
A new beginning.What will this new year bring?
During the evening there was a “Soiree variee” followed by dancing. Very
nice!
Both Roeli and I work regularly in the sick ward. (Actually it is located in the
Church hall). And we earn $30 per day. It is pleasant work and not difficult.
I wrote a letter to Linde, Roeli wrote one to Willeke and Heleen wrote one to
Clara (all nieces).
8-1-1946
On January the 5th in the evening I got a fever, probably the flu. Too bad,
because that fever kept me from going to the sick ward. We work there
together with Zr. De Groot, Brughart and van der Poels. Only the afternoon
shifts, for now.
Miss Wessels has been able to get both Latin and Greek books for me. She is
going to teach me French. I am now reading an English book: “Ann is an
idiot”. A thriller!
From the “Jap” who stayed at “Beatrix”, we got green curtains. They are being
transformed into a couple of coat dresses right now. Those ment for both
Mom and I, are already finished. Mrs. Zwaan (9 children) made me a
matching English baret from it. Daddy treated her children while they were
sick. Out of appreciation they sent us a basket full of fruit. Very nice! Now
there are Chinese living in “Beatrix”, who keep it very well, fortunately. Lately
one of them brought us all kinds of vegetables.
The Ensering family still lives on the Lembang road and Mrs. Marzynski also
still lives in her own house. Solveig Polner, my Highschool girl friend, now
lives at the van Neck street number 6. Fortunately it is quiet now everywhere.
A few days ago I received another letter from both Grandma and Aunt Willie.
Grandma is a little sick and is caughing quite a bit.
We badly need some new pairs of shoes.
4 – 5 February.
I had the nightshift, together with Roeli. It was so quiet that we could take
turns napping. During last month we earned 1,420 Guilders with this nursing
job, a whole pile of bank notes! They are not worth very much though.
At January 31st, we had a costume party. Daddy as a nurse, won a silver soup
spoon, Mom as a baker, Louk Woortman as a doctor (Prize: a spoon and a
fork), Roeli as a gypsy, Heleen as a Parisian Apache, her gilrfirend Gertie
Nijhoff as a Grand mother and I as a pilot. There were many nice costumes.
Although I cannot dance very well, I did it anyway with a soldier from the
foreign legion. (Rob P.) We all got coffee and sandwiches.
In the morning there was a party at the fairgrounds for all school children,
complete with all kinds of games, races with handicaps and all kinds of
goodies. Both Firso and Paul had a great time.
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In the afternoon there was a puppet theatre and for everyone cake, also in the
sick ward.
We now regularly get white bread and all kinds of cans: wieners, butter, jam,
corned beef, pears, milk, pork sausage, margarine, chocolate and candy. We
enjoy those treats tremendously.
In Bandoeng everything is quiet now. We are awaiting anxiously the results
from the talks from Dr. van Mook. Batavia has been cleaned up already.
On Saturday, February 2nd, we watched the movie “Uncensored” about the
underground resistance activeties in Belgium and the printing of the “La Libre
Belgique”. As introductory movies we watched both: “England’s fastest plane”
and “Peace on November 11, 1918 and in 1945”, celebrated in London at the
foot of a great monument.
We now write regularly to Holland and we also have already received mail in
return. Linde is now in the 6th class of the Gymnasium and Willeke is in the 5th
class. How far already!
Perhaps we will go to Switserland for a while, because the Baselean
missionary has a vacancy for 10 missionary families. That is something I’d
like.
Almost all of our uncles participated in the underground resistance in Holland.
Aunt Martha took Jews into her home. Many girls worked as couriers for the
underground. Very courageous!
Grandma Willie is better now. Mrs. Zwaan wrote that she and almost all of her
children were sea-sick and that the trip home was rather unsettling. Both
Linda and Edda wrote that often they go ice-skating now.
January 17th was the birthday of Princess Margriet. There was a parade
organized in front of the High school and both the English and the Dutch flags
were raised. That makes one emotional.
Among the troops, except from the Gurkha’s, are now also the Sikh’s, big tall
men with beards. There are a few of them among the guards of the Convent.
The funny thing is that before they go to sleep, they roll their beards on a
piece of rope and tie it onto the top of their heads.
1-3-1946
We have been swimming again in the Tjihampelas. Awesome! Afterwards we
visited Aunt Nine van der Brug. Richt had already returned from Bangkok.
Also Greet van Gogh, Jannie Koper and Els Smits we met over there. Els had
gained quite some weight and she looked good. Unfortunately her mother
passed away in the camp.
We took the bus and that was quite special, because that was something we
didn’t do in years anymore.
2-3-1946
Saturday. At 2:30 both Roeli and I went to watch a beautiful movie at the
Fairgrounds: “Tale of two cities” about the French revolution. Very impressive!
In the evening we went to a concert in the Pieters church.
Starting half February I will be in school again and I’ll go to the Lyceum from
Mr. Overweel in the 15th Bat. I am in class 3B; I am behind in many subjects,
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but both in French and English I am ahead. From March 1st till March 10th we
have a holiday. Afterwards perhaps I will be going to the Christian Lyceum at
the Dago road, where I have also been previously.
I also joined the gym.
Tuesday I went to the rytmic gym from Annie Veer. I liked that very much.
3-3-1946
Sunday. There was a youth service in the Easter church. Ds. Woortman read
a good sermon about: “Standing your ground”. I helped with collecting. (414
Guilders)
In the evening there was a dance in the Community Centre. Both Truus and
Arie van Selst taught me the steps. Also an Englishman danced with me, but
they have very different steps, which is confusing. I have difficulties
understanding the English, because they speak so unclear.
5-3-1946
We have started packing. Our suitcases are toast. We are trying to get some
stuff back from Tjihapit.
Ton Woortman dropped by. He hasn’t changed much; perhaps he looks a little
older.
28-3-1946
At the Lyceum Heleen can get into class 1F and I go to class 3A, Roeli hasn’t
been placed yet.
South Bandoeng has been liberated now. Many buildings have been burned
down by the extremists. Once in a while still some shootings occur. A few
days ago (Sunday night), very close, just behind our place; a mortar bomb hit
the road. It was a tremendous explosion! Thereafter some more followed, but
not as close anymore. We were all shaken. That night we could see fires
everywhere in the city. That was the night the extremists were driven out of
South Bandoeng.
In Holland it is still very cold, but Aunt Willie has started the spring cleaning
already. Both Uncle Ben and Aunt Ank de Ridder, who want to go to
Heemstede too, just received a call for the ship “Klipfontijn”. Tomorrow they
will both fly to Batavia and the day after tomorrow they will be leaving. Thus
soon it will be our turn too.
Daddy is together with both Dr. van Soest and Dr. Schrok on top of the list.
Both Hettie and Wiem Feith, who are both in my class, are probably going as
student-cleaners (also heading for Heemstede). Further there are: Inge Buyn
and Paul de Vries, Marit Koopman, Mollie Popken (just left for Holland),
Hanna Carmenjole, Henny Zon, Pim Burlage, Jan van de Let (also gone),
Paul Engel, Hans van Ommen, Otto Liesendaal, Henk and Cor de Liefde-
Meier, Bennie Wijsman and some Chinese boys.
Solveig Polner has taken the liberty to place herself in the 5th class. She is
engaged with a Russian guy and will marry before she goes to Australia. In
the 4th class I know: Maaike Versloot, Henny and Titi Ensering. Rietje
Ensering and Look Woortman in class 2D, Hannie and Wim Woortman in the
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1st class. Because I was in the 3rd class before the war, I can get a 3 years
diploma. Therefore I have to go to Prof. Esbach. Once in Holland I want to go
to the 4th class.
If we are still here on April 14, both Roeli and I will be confirmed by Uncle Ot
van der Brug in the Easter church. We now follow confirmation classes for
that event by Ds. Woortman, together with both Miss Hamstra and Miss van
de Zwan. It is planned to take place during the youth service. Lately Ds. Van
der Linde has read a beautiful sermon about Peter. This coming Sunday Ds.
Corvinius will arrive.
We have gotten a couple of sturdy cabin trunks from Mrs. Wunderink out of
Tjihapit. Mrs. Oliviera is already in Batavia. The Krijger family has arrived in
Heemstede. The Zwaan family is also already in Holland and are freezing.
Both Ot van der Brug and Henk Offereins are in Bali, Ot is in the infantery and
Henk in the staff. Richt is going to join them there soon.
I still know my French teacher (Miss Stempel) from the laundry shed in Solo,
where she did the Hospital laundry. Both Janneke and Ruth Maier left recently
as student-cleeners with the “Boschfontijn”.
Woutertje can be so naughty and so funny at the same time. He looks good
on the two family pictures we had made (for 300 Guilders in Japanese
money).
2-4-1946
Still no call yet. The weather is beautiful. Yesterday some more people arrived
here from Tjimahi. Still there is quite some shooting at a distance, but luckily
here around us everything is relatively quiet.
Roeli is now better, but Heleen is a little sick.
In school everything goes well, except with math. I am doing both Latin and
Greek again, because in Holland I want to go to the Gymnasium.
13-4-1946
Last week Thursday the confirmation classes were rounded off by uncle Ot.
Representing the church council Mr. van Ommen came over, Hans’ Dad.
Hans still remembers Daddy from Tjimahi and praised him. Tomorrow both
Roeli and I are going to be confirmed, together with both Tineke Kuylaars and
Honny Krijgsman. I already am looking forwards to it.
Richt is pregnant again. I hope so much for her that this time everything goes
well.
On April the 16th another transport leaves, unfortunately without us. But after
that, it’s our turn. We’ll try to smuggle the bicycle from Uncle Ies with us.
14-4-1946
Today the confirmation was done in a festive atmosphere in the Easter
church. Afterwards we joined an acceptance service held by Ds. Van der
Linde. Everything was very special and joyous. It makes me feel all warm and
fuzzy inside.
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17-4-1946
This morning after the 4th hour we had an Easter service in the Aula. Mrs.
Homan recited a few poems, among others: “Oh time that comes…” A choir
sang beautiful Easter songs. Ds. Kuyper read from the bible. It was very
beautiful.
19-4-1946
This morning we joined the celebration of the last supper in the Juliana
Hospital. Uncle Ot led the service and both Roeli and I were allowed to
participate for the first time.
21-4-1946
Easter! Ds. Oberman spoke for the last time in the Easter Church, because
he’ll leave on Tuesday.
22-4-1946
There was a big PJC reunion in the Pieters church lead by Ds. Keers. I saw
many aquaintences back. Two soldiers from Holland told about their
experiences. One told us about his escape from prison and the other about
his work in the underground.
24-4-1946
I am placed into the 4th class by Mr. Overweel, because otherwise I won’t get
my 3 years diploma. With both English and French it will be OK, but I will have
to catch up with the other subjects. Ieneke van Dijk, (room 12A) will help me
with that.
When we got home, Roeli shouted: “We are leaving Sunday at 2 PM!”
Finally! Finally! Hurrah! Now we gotto get packing!
This afternoon Frank Pelling dropped by again. He returned from Tjiandoer
shortly, where fighting had been fierce. He nearly escaped death twice and
looked all yellow from the obat against malaria.
Ds. Van der Linde came to say good-bye already.
28-4-1946.
Sunday. For the last time we went to the Easter church. (Ds. Jens). We said
good-bye to a lot of loving and friendly people. Frank Pelling took us to
Borromeus so we could visit Mrs. Wessels and say good-bye to her too.
A litlle past 2 PM the trucks and the busses arrived. Wouter got, when he said
good-bye to the English nurses, 2 chocolate bars. Also he had to say goodbye
to Ruth Wurbig, Mieke Beuker and her father (Mr. Portier). They regretted
that their little “son” had to leave now. Still more hand shakes and we were
waved farewell by many. Zr. Van der Sluijs Veer left at the same time as we
did.
On our way to Andir! Once there we heard that only tomorrow morning we
would leave for the airport. We were lodged in comfortable rooms (Room 21).
Both Daddy and Friso now got a taste of the “bunks” life. A pessimistic man
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took a concerned look at the mattresses and mumbled: “Will we lie on those
all by ourselves?”
Fortunately we didn’t pick any bugs up there.
Last Friday, I received 2 statements from Mr. Overweel:
One was for Heleen, certifying that she was in the 1st class, and one for me,
certifying that I had been in the 4th class. My 3 year diploma will be sent to
Holland by mail.
“Emotional and with a tear”, I thanked him and said good-bye, followed by
both Miss Stempel and Mr. Bos. Both Hanna Carmenjola and Hans van
Ommen are leaving for Holland too. Both Paul de Vries and Inge Buyn I have
been able to help with some school books.
29-4-1946
Brrr! It was cold this morning. I woke up early, because some children were so
loud. At 8 o’clock our luggage was picked up. Friso, Paul, Heleen and I got
our last Bandoeng ride in a fun yellow-black checkered coloured jeep. Daddy,
Mom, Roeli and Wouter followed in the distinguist car from Dr. Lay.
Thereafter: wait and more waiting. Our luggage was weighed and turned out
to be way too heavy. The two least important cabin trunks we had to leave
behind, together with four packages. After July 1st they will be sent after us.
Finally the plane arrived around 12 o’clock noon, a large Dakota. Even then
there was still too much barang. The left over will be sent later today. The
package containing uncle Ies’ bicycle was among that.
The airplane ride went swiftly, but with a lot of turbulence, which made my
stomach turn funny once in a while. I was happy when we finally landed in
Kemajoran, despite the rainstorm going on there. We took shelter under the
aircraft until a truck picked us up. We had some tea in the office and therafter
off to … camp Adek! We would never have imagined that. It is known as both a
transition house for koelis and an infamous women’s camp. But it turned out
OK: We got 2 neat 4 person rooms and a good meal. There was also both
light and running water.
30-4-1946
Princess Juliana’s birthday!
There was both a children’s parade and games organized. Wouter got a flag
too. In Batavia city there was a big parade comlete with tanks and troops.
Mom and I could get to the city too, thanks to getting a ride twice. We
purchased some beautiful, sturdy pairs of shoes there.
This afternoon we have done some writing and this evening we have been
dancing. There were many Dutch boys. (One was very tall). Also Hans van
Ommen together with his sister, and both Mientje van der Plas and Hanna
Carmenjola I saw again there. The musick sucked though. And it was hot, hot,
and hot!
Tomorrow we’ll leave for Tjandjong Priok at 1 PM.
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1-5-1946
This morning, after a lot of effort, we got some clothing at the NIGEO. We
bought some more pairs of shoes and also 3 more suitcases. I was also able
to get some Indonesian post stamps.
At 3 PM a drive with the truck to Priok, but the weather was beautiful. The lists
were checked. We received a pink card and could board the “Boissevain”.
Daddy got, together with other doctors, a beautiful stateroom. We were
lodged into hold number F4, about 4 metres above the water line. There were
long tables (12 people) and many cleaners. We sleep in large hammocks.
Wouter got one too, a very funny sight. Two blankets per person. Luckily there
were also portholes and fans, because it was very hot in there. The food is
tasty. We are allowed to use the bathtub in the cabin from the van der Leest
family (Salt water, of course). On deck it’s fantastic.
2-5-1946
I slept very well in my hammock. I offered myself as an assistant nurse and
had my first shift from 2 o’clock till 9 o’clock. It is not busy yet. Everything
looks very modern. Many children are sick. We all eat together. In the evening
I took a bath and afterwards I wrote to Mieke Beuker, Ruth Wurbig, Adelheid
Schieferlie and Jacky Supit.
4-5-1946
We sail! We sail! At 7:30 we left. By a small tugboat named “Conny” we were
carefully pulled out. Then out of the harbour into open water.
For the longest time I looked backwards and for the longest time I kept my
eyes locked on the slowly disappearing coast line. We left with sunny
weather. Bye-bye, beautiful and lovely Indie! You have been my Motherland.
Both love and sorrow I shared with you. Yes, sorrow too. I will remember you
often, your beautiful mountains, landscapes, your scents and your colours.
The ship moves fast and we navigate among countless little islands covered
with coconut trees. Beautiful contrasts that white foam on top of those green
waves. Here and there is a light house. Luckily there is too much swell. In the
sickbay I met Lies de Kroes, a nice girl, who also works there as an assistant
nurse.
6-5-1946
The ship is rolling quite heavily. Fortunately it doesn’t bother us much, except
for Paul who stays in his hammock the whole day, which makes him less
subject to all the rolling.
We held a life boat drill. Until we arrive in Colombo we have to keep wearing
our life jackets, because of the danger of mines.
9-5-1946
Thursday. This morning we arrived in Colombo. We saw many beautiful
houses, many ships, but none of them Dutch. On the extremeties of the two
long piers, two lovely towers were built. Slowly, very slowly we entered the
harbour. Both water and fruits were loaded. A few guys from the crew swam
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around the ship, which was not without danger. We were not allowed on
shore, of course. And it was hot, very hot, especially in the hold.
10-5-1945
We left at 10 o’clock in the morning. Luckily it became cooler almost
immediately. The sea was quiet. During the night we saw several ships
passing by. Once in a while the clock is set half an hour backwards. That
makes us often wake up very early and the sun is already high up at that time.
Bathing in salt water is not so nice, because afterwards one feels sticky, but
we rinse ourselves with a little fresh water. Fortuantely we are allowed to use
the bathrooms from both Mrs. Beeuwkes and from the van der Leest family.
14-5-1946
Wouter’s birthday! I gave him the chocolate bar which I got last night from Jan
Dievenbach (nurse). Further he got a bunch of little stuff and all kinds of
candy, which disappeared rather quickly. But every time he got something,
was exited and happy again! Everybody was charmed by it. In the end he
collected a can full of candy. Than he could say, just like Paul: “But I still have
some”.
At Cape Guardafui the sea was quite rough and both Lies and I got sea-sick.
We spend some time sitting on deck and that made us feel better.
After the Cape, in the Gulf of Aden, everything was quiet again. We passed
the island Perin, with a big fort on top of it, a light house and big stretches of
yellow beach. Good to see some land again after so much water, although I
think the sea would not tire me quickly. The heat in the Red Sea is not too
bad. It feels even cool here.
18-5-1946
Saturday. We arrive in Suez. Just now I have become somewhat sick. After
the night shift I felt very tired this morning, I had a cold, a sore throat, and a
fever. I fell into my bed and slept like a log. Afterwards I felt already a whole
lot better.
Tomorrow the first groups go on shore to get clothes in Ataka. I hope I am
allowed to go with them too. We have a beautiful view: proud bare rocks in
colours, which vary between yellow, red and dark brown. It is interesting to be
able to see the layers from which it all is built up. Unfortunately, there is not
one green spot in sight.
Evening: Hurrah! I am now free of fever and I am allowed to come along
tomorrow.
19-5-1946
Sunday. This morning we left at 7 o’clock. In two flat barges we sailed to the
coast, a lovely trip. On the bank we stepped into a cute little train. Both Friso
and Paul had fun because of the long dresses-type clothing worn by the
Arabs. We also saw wagons drawn by beautiful horses. I also saw a camel
with an Arab sitting on top of it, proceeding in a swinging motion. A real “ship”
of the desert. We also passed an oasis. That small green spot was in such a
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contrast with the barren face of sand and stone. From close by the rocks
looked even more bold and bare. After about a 10 minutes ride we arrived at a
couple of big sheds dressed up with flags.
A guy spoke to us through a megaphone. He welcomed us and gave some
advice. A nice band played some merry tunes and then we were allowed
inside. It sure looked like the land of Cockaigne. There were cakes, cookies,
candy, sandwiches, pisangs, djeroek and coffee. And you could take as much
as you wanted.
Further there was a playground for the children. Before the handing out of the
clothing, everyone had to be x-rayed first. We had gotten some high numbers
and thus we had to wait for a long time. Wouter found the X-raying quite
unnerving. You were not allowed to bring anymetal object in there. Finally we
were done. Mom first helped the boys fitting and therefore got at the very end
of the line with us, but she was able to finish everything in time. We all got
beautiful warm clothing and toiletries, which made us very happy. In the mean
time the band kept playing joyful music. The director himself played masterful
an accordion. He watched me all the time, which made me shy at first, but
later I started to enjoy it, and I looked back at him. He had not a particularly
handsome, but a real masculin face.
Because of all the time it took for the clothing to be handed out, we missed the
first train back and stayed to wait for the next one, which arrived at about 3
o’clock.”He” was also standing in front of the shed when we left and waved
back when I waved good-bye. Thereafter we had the lovely trip back to the
boat again, where we arrived both tired and hot, but satisfied.
20-5-1946
Monday. I have been back to Ataka! Namely to pick up cloths for Erie Fournier
who was just sick. We both are about the same size. Everything went swell.
When the orchestra played the welcome tune, I made sure not to show
myself. Once inside I sat down on omy old spot, diagonally across from the
band. “He” noticed me right away and had to smile. I smiled too, of course.
The others saw what was going on too, I think. It turned into a delicious
morning. When the first group left, I didn’t join them, but purposely stayed
behind. Both the boy who served djoeroek juice and also a funny Arabic
djongos understood what I was up to and laughed. I also had pictures taken of
myself, four pictures for 6 Guilders. They will be sent after me. Since I didn’t
tell Mom anything about all of this, it will be a surprise. There was also some
dancing going on. I danced twice with a MP (Militairy Policeman) and once
with an Englishman. Rather difficult, because the floor was covered with mats.
Ankie Zelis, Zr. Van der Sluis Veer and Rob Polderman were there too. Finally
we had to go. “He” came to the exit too and gave me a hand. Then I thanked
him for everything and he wished me a good trip. When the train left, I waved
good-bye again. Most likely we will never see each other again. “Ships that
pass in the night”. I am very tired, but I still feel both happy and exited. Would
this be what is called “Love on first sight?” It was for sure a special
experience.
125
During the evening we sailed deeper into the canal. There were a myriad of
lights, much like a picture from a fairy tale. Slowly and carefully the boat slid
forwards.
21-5-1946
This morning early we arrived in Port Said. I had the night shift. The entire
night we continued sailing. There are a lot of modern buildings around here.
Many people offer leather crafts, dades etc. for sale. I laughed my head off
observing Rob Polderman negotiating with those guys. He does such an
excellent job imitating them.
The entire mornig I slept in. This afternoon Mom could still buy some delicious
oranges.
Too-oo-oo-oo-oot! There we went again. Exiting the canal we sailed through
quite a large part of the city. A curious sight: all those houses and shops so
close by! We also passed two Dutch vessels, to which we waived
enthusiastically. Lovely!
We also noticed the big green statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps, of course, who
stretches his hand so elegantly inviting towards the canal. Thereafter two long
piers and than a beautiful flat and calm sea. The temperature slowly becomes
already quite fresh.
23-5-1946
Thursday. Mom’s birthday! Daddy brought some presents and ate with us,
very nice! The sea is rather rough today. That is funny while dancing. One
moment you seem like running and the other you seem like climbing a hill. It is
very funny though!
We passed a few islands, Kreta, perhaps?
27-5-1946
Today we passed Gibraltar. A lot of ships passed by.
There was a church service organized.
28-5-1946
Daddy’s birthday! Wouter gave away that there was brillantine in the present.
Again we had a cosy meal together. Thanks to his advice to go work in the
sick bay, I barely feel any sea-sickness. I am thinking: that’s because of the
distraction. That comes in handy right now, because the ship stamps quite
heavily right now and a lot of people are sea-sick.
We could buy both soap and sugar.
29-5-1946
The English coast is in sight. There is quite some fog. Again we had a life boat
drill, because here is also a mine threat. A ship passed by very closely. We
waved at two Dutch vessels. There is now an English pilot on board.
126
30-5-1946
Thursday. At about 5:30 PM both piers came in sight, further some bare gray
fortifications and the dunes of IJmuiden. The de Ridder family got a surprise
for us. They stood there with a big banner: “Bosman Eric”. And we laughed
and waved!
Soon we were inside the locks, again many waving people and another sign
reading: “BOSMAN”. It was not possible to see who those people were, but it
was so heartwarming!
Further we proceeded through a lovely Dutch landscape filled with many
pleasure craft and much waving. At our arrival an orchestra played all kinds of
national tunes. The sick went down first on stretchers. In the arrival hall we
were welcomed with sandwiches, cookies, coffee, milk and piesoup. Wouter
was carried to the railway station by soldiers.
From Amsterdam Central station to Haarlem we went with the electric train, a
new experience. Finally two passenger cars took us to Heemsteedse Dreef
105, where Grandma Willie and Aunt Willie welcomed us with open arms and
where a new begin waited for all of us.
My motherland I had to let go. I had a happy youth over there. But the pain
suffered during the time under both the Japanese and the extremists, made
my farwell easier. It is over now!
Now I stretch my arms out to this Fatherland with peace, freedom and new
opportunities. Thank God!
 

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