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Camp Book Japanese invasion

Lampersari Semarang (3-6-1945 --- 2-11-1945)

3-6-1945
Departure for Semarang! Under the supervision of Mrs. De Blot.
There our entire luggage was loaded unto trucks, whereafter we had to walk
for three hours along boiling hot streets. At 4 o’clock we arrived in camp
Lampersari, a camp consisting of houses this time. There was both checking
and frisking. Many women were beaten with a stick or a sable. I successfully
hid my silver “rijksdaalder” (= Dutch silver coin worth 2 guilders and fifty cents)
in the grass and it remained undetected.
Our address is now: Hoofdmangga 64. A front porch of about 2 to 4 meter
wide and use of 1/3 of the adjacent room. We live with 22 people in a very tiny
little house!
For comfort we got a plate with “hutspot” (= kind of stew).
4-6-1945
The second transport from Solo arrived.
7-6-1945
Roeli’s birthday! We found a few old acquaintances back: Mrs. Vink and Bep
van Wijk. A sad message: Mrs. De Weeger had passed away. How very sad
for her children in Holland.
The people, on whom money was still found, had to stand in the blazing sun
for the entire day, as punishment. Fortunately they didn’t find the money that
Mom hid in the head of the little Negro doll. Further, already for some time no
sugar has been handed out, as punishment for the smuggling. Here we get
tiny little portions of djagoeng, rice and porridge. Woutertje gets a half portion
rice and a half portion nassi-trim.
19-6-1945
Today I had to go “sprieten” for the first time, which means to work a piece of
land, located about three quarters of an hours walking distance from the
camp. I was assigned to the patjol squad again. Hard, heavy physical labour,
with as only advantage a little extra food.
For both Wouter and Mom we have been able to find a bunk bed. Now at least
they don’t have to lie down on the humid dirt floor anymore. At Miss de Bruin-
Ouboter’s we held a church service. The Toko is closed for the time being.
From acquaintances we heard that both Aunt Hettie Dake and Het are
interned in the Halmahera camp, the second women’s camp of Samarang.
Both Jaap and Maart Dake are in Bankong, a large boys and men’s camp.
26-5-1945
There are rumours that the Americans are near both Soerabaja and Madoera
and have put forwards an ultimatum that has to be answered within 36 hours.
The “Sprieten” have gotten a 2 days rest. We were allowed to write another
post card again. It is very cold in the morning. Both Paul and Wouter have got
bacillary dysentery.
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Instead of porridge we got tapioca flower, from which we are supposed to stir
up some kind of porridge in the kitchen, by adding some hot hot water, “glass
porridge”. Mrs. Poulus recently died of diphtheria. Poor Siebke!
8-7-1945
The “Sprieten” now have gotten 2 ½ days off. Is it because of military
exercises?
Now we’ve got porridge twice a day, further a little bit of rice and water soup.
The Toko is open again, fortunately. We could get some onions, lomboks,
pisangs and tea.
The Asia porridge is disgusting. Once in a while we secretly (very much
prohibited) bake a tapioca cake on a small fire behind the house. Lately we
made a broth from a little bird that had fallen out of its nest. On the “Sprieten”
field there is a regular hunt on both frogs and snakes. Lately I have been hit,
together with a few other people, because we took home some greens.
17-7-1945
Heleen’s birthday. Both Bep van Wijk and Mrs. Vink dropped in to
congratulate. We were able to offer them some miniature cookies made with
Red-Cross raisins and also some whipped coffee.
Both Mrs. Jansen van Raay and Heintje joined the party as well. Heleen got
from Bep a spoon, from Mom a handkerchief complete with an embroidered H
on it (Both Roeli and I got one each too), from me a spoon crafted out of
bamboo, from Roeli a mug warmer and from Paul a wooden fruit bowl. We
had saved some rice and fashioned a “nasi goreng” (= fried rice) as good as
we could. Mmmm!
The rumours are good again: Before August all of Indonesia will be liberated.
Juliana will be crowned in September. Queen Wilhelmina has returned to the
“Loo” palace. And everywhere in Holland big field kitchens have been set up.
22-7-1945
Seven “Flying Fortresses” flew over. They bombed the harbour at 1:30PM.
Everyone had to go inside. Everything had to be locked up. Jan de Mepper (=
John the Clubber) walked along the back of the houses to check on it. The
“Sprieten” who were in the field at that time, told us later they had seen the
bombs being dropped. Further, some insisted, they had seen the words
“Rescue is near” painted on a guard post.
A funny habit has started: When the “Sprieten” return from work, and while
marching through the camp, you can hear them sing from street to street:
“The Sprieten are coming home, the sprieten are coming home”. And that
sounds so funny.
23-7-1945
Last night another bombardment, tracer fire and machine gun fire.
28-7-945
Air raid alarm again, the tension rises.
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4-8-1945
We got 1 egg, 1 pisang and some onions. During the hand out a lot seems to
have been stolen. Mom has yellow fever. Roeli has to go “Sprieten” now too.
Wouter fell into a deep ditch across the street lately. Couvered in dirt and with
a big lump on his head he was escorted home. He is now on the rope again.
Heleen has gotten influenza.
Once in a while I drop in at Joop Bouman, a nice gal. Many people have
swollen oedema legs and red spots because of the lack of vitamins. While
walking, from some their knees bent unexpectedly. That is a horrible sight.
In our garden we now grow also krokot (= a Japanese kind of purslane),
gondola (=a strange kind of leaf vegetable) and oebi. The soup vegetables
are now enriched with papaja flowers and young pisang bark and sometimes
the bud. Brrr!
Mrs. Groenewegen, some time ago, fashioned a nice hotplate for us out of a
hollowed brick and a spiral wire that Mom had taken out of a blow dryer and
smuggled in. It is very handy and we use it a lot. In the morning early, at 4
AM, Mom turns it on with a big pot of water on top and at 6 AM the whole
house could drink a nice cup of “koppie toebroek” (cup of Toebroek = ground,
unfiltered coffee, prepared in a mug with sugar and hot water).
13-8-1045
Today the “Sprieten” left as if nothing had happened. We didn’t get any
porridge, only djagoeng. In town, a guy on a bike rode by and he shouted
something which I couldn’t understand. But some said he shouted: “The war
is over”. The work was not interrupted by the sound of sirens, but something
else happened that was kind of strange. All women, who had relatives among
the boys and the men who were also working on the field, were allowed to
walk over to them to speak to them for a minute. That created a happy
consternation. Mothers talked to their sons, brothers to their sisters and so on.
And that was all because of the “goodness” of the Jap, of course.
14-8-1945
Birthday of Grandma Willie Bosman. How would she be doing?
Today I didn’t have to go “Sprieten”. The others returned home with exiting
stories, though. That the war was over, that an important telegram had been
received in the administration office, and that both the ladies van de Poel and
Jaarsma had to report there. Anxiously we spent the evening, but we didn’t
hear anything anymore. Both Mom and I were on duty that night as the
fushinban (= night watch).
15-8-1945
A European drove into the camp in a small car. Later he turned out to be
Danish. A Jap approached him and barked something at him. The Danish
answered something and was immediately slapped in the face. But the guy
was not born yesterday and smacked the Jap back in his face. It was a
delightful scene. He entered the office and left the flabbergasted Jap outside
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in the dust. We were incredibly curious what would happen next, but
everything remained quiet. After a while though, all Hantijo”s (= Japanese
block heads) were called together and then the big announcement was made:
“Yesterday at 4 o’clock in Geneve the Japanese capitulation has been
signed!” Incredible joy and thankfulness resonated through the entire camp.
In the afternoon, a great quantity of both yellow and red candy was handed
out throughout the camp. People said it was a present from the Chinese. Very
kind and very welcome!
From the Halmahera camp some messages came through. Bep told that Aunt
Hettie had died and also others received word of people having passed away.
That spoiled our joy somewhat. The word was that the liberation troopers will
arrive here at the 18th of August.
Mom read us a verse of thankfulness. I was very tired.
16-8-1945
We got 2 ounces of sugar per person. Yummy!
One of the Japanese head officers, nicknamed “Sientje”, acted as if nothing
had happened. He barked and hit as ever before. He insisted this whole thing
was nonsense. Oh, those last little convulsions!
The “Sprieten” didn’t have to leave anymore. Never again one would hear the
song “The Sprieten are coming home” anymore. A relief indeed, because it
was hard work.
The gedek (= fence) is overrun from both the inside and the outside, because
many natives come and offer food and fruit in trade for clothing and old rags.
As far as clothing concerns those people are in miserable shape. A few rags
or goeni bags (= rice bags), is all they are wearing. We are being warned not
to “bollossen” (= break) out the camp, but to wait for the liberation army,
because of the danger posed by extremists.
The sick will leave first, for now to the large St. Elisabeth’s hospital and later
to Australia.
17-8-1945
6 Airplanes flew over, from which 2 of them flying several times over the camp
at very low altitude. Clearly one could distinguish the red-white and blue on
both the wings and the tails.
We were jumping up and down outside of ourselves from pure joy and
laughed and waived vigorously from the street. Immediately 6, 7 or 8 carefully
hidden flags appeared and were draped upon the street to show the pilots
who we were.
Crazy, crazy, crazy we were! From the office came the order: “Stay quiet
inside”.
According to the rumours, tomorrow van Mook will arrive with the liberators.
People from both the police and the state railway appear to already have
been released. Soon more doctors will arrive for the camps. Mom will now get
2 ounces of sugar for her yellow fever. Heleen is still very weak and Roeli’s
tummy aches again. As for myself, I don’t feel that weak anymore. I weighed
myself on the big rice scale in the kitchen: 47.6 Kg.
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We are cooking all kinds of wonderful dishes and eat, no we are feasting on
them the whole day. Finally we’ve got fruit, finally meat and eggs and so much
other delicacies, we missed for ages. The pigs, raised by the Japanese for
themselves, will now be slaughtered in our kitchen.
22-8-1945
The rumours about the 18th of August turn out to be untrue. But a peace
accord was signed on that day in Manilla though. There are some new
rumours about an American-Indonesian republic, but that is perhaps to keep
the populous quiet.
Today the seriously ill have been taken to the big Hospital.
Yesterday morning another airplane with red-white and blue on the tail flew
over.
Today the Japanese occupation for this camp seems to have arrived, to
protect us until the new liberation forces arrive. “Sientje” has already
disappeared too.
Tonight both Mom and I have watch duty from 11 PM till 1 AM. During that
time we cooked a bun made from Asia flower, au-bain-marie on our brick. It
turned out to be very tasty. The last days a lot of flower has arrived. Yesterday
we didn’t get any porridge, but 50 grams of flower instead. Today we got 100
grams flower and porridge on top of that! Instead of the djagoeng, we got half
a ration of rice more, thus 330 grams rice in total. Now we can eat rice both
this afternoon and tonight. From our flour I have kneaded two buns and baked
into a lobak cake (= raddish). Especially Roeli likes that. Paul brought a
delicious soup from the kitchen made with vegetables, meat and broth.
Yesterday we got 1 ounce of white sugar and 1 ounce of brown sugar. What
are they good to us!
A few days we got klappers (= coconut) for the entire camp: 1 klapper per 14
people. We got lucky with our big family, because we got almost half an entire
klapper. The shell we have cut in half and raffled off. Both Mrs. Geisler and we
had each a half. From the fruit meat we made santen (= coco milk) and used it
partly with the porridge and partly with the coffee. Very tasty! From the ampas
(= leftover from pressed coco) I made seroendeng (= fried coco), which tasted
very good too.
Wouter just woke up. Roeli is feeding him both a pisang goreng (=fried
banana) and a piece of lobak cake, which he likes very much. He already
crawls out of his bed by himself and can also get on the potty, as long as his
pants are not too difficult to open up. He talks already so nice. He can already
say in his funny way: “Hello folks”. But our little man can also be quite a
character, which is a constant strain for Mom. He can also play “Nippon” with
a stick. Further he is still very fond of flowers, buds, sticks and leaves. What
will Daddy be surprised when he sees you back and what will he love you! We
all are very much longing for that day.
But our primary wish is now that the Japanese disappear; totally disappear, so
that we can be free again. But before that happens, we will still have to have
some patience and keep our faith in God. Fortunately all of us are healthy
again.
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23-8-1945
Again two Lockheeds came over with red-white and blue on the tail. They
dropped pamphlets. Again, in no time, the street was covered with flags.
Text of the pamphlets:
Deputies of the Emperor of Japan have arrived at Manilla at the headquarters
of General Mac Arthur, to sign the documents for the ending of the war in the
Pacific. Members of the Japanese Imperial family have left Japan for China,
Mantsjoeria, and other fronts to oversee the obedience of the Japanese
armed forces to the orders to cease the war. The Emperor has guaranteed the
safety of all allied prisoners of war including those interned and promised the
immediate distribution of food, clothing and medicine. On many places in the
Pacific region the Japanese commanders have already begon to release the
prisoners of war and the interned.
Balikpapan, 21 August 1945
At 1 o’clock we got 100 grams uncooked rice, onions and an entire pancake
each. Mmm!
Bep dropped in also. Much smuggling is going on at the gedek, despite the
danger from the extremists. In the neighbours bathroom they now raise a
chicken. Once in a while you can hear hurrahs and singing, perhaps as a
rehearsal for the upcoming birthday of our Queen Wilhelmina on August the
31st. That woman must also have some difficult years behind her.
Tomorrow we will get 400 grams of rice, 100 grams of flower, djagoeng, and
500 grams of vegetables, further lard, meat and sugar. We are out of
ourselves from both joy and exitement. An internment office will from now on
take care of us, as far as clothing, food and housing concerns. This afternoon
everyone was making fires and cooking all kinds of delicacies.
This evening we dragged a pile of stashed gedek sections away. Thereafter
somebody with an accordion walked down the streets and a whole bunch of
people followed him singing and dancing. In front of Ds. Stegeman (8th
Mangga) the line came to a halt. For a moment everybody was silent and than
the national anthem “Wilhelmus” was sung. That was so beautiful. It was not
so much sung from the lungs, as deep from the heart. So incredible
emotional!
Thereafter the parade got going again. Just now we heard the WIlhelmus a
second time. Tonight, Mom has read the verse: “Thank, all thank God now”
and after that we sang the verse, together with Mrs. Geisler and Mrs. Jansen
van Raay. A beautiful end of a beautiful day.
26-8-1945
Sunday. This morning Mom has read verse 107. Both beautiful and
appropriate for these days. This afternoon we invited Bep to join us for dinner.
Very cosy and very tasty. We are now getting enough to eat: rice, flour, sugar,
oil, pisang and katjang. A stuffed stomach is a good feeling.
Since 3 days now the gedek is being invaded from the outside by aboriginals
with all kinds of food. They trade that against rags, clothing and cloth. I also
107
joined the party enthusiastically. The old rags from the garbage dump in Solo
were washed and came in handy now. I traded them for: goela djawa,
coconut, a small chicken, bananas, onions, lomboks and one ketimoen. An
old dress from Mom we traded for a fat chicken.
We enjoy all that food immensely, but we are also very careful, because many
people are already sick from eating too much food and too much fat. Often
some Indo and Chinese women come to the gedek, who hand out sugar,
cookies, coffee, ketella, cooked rice and so on, without wanting anything in
return. It is really nice of them wanting to help us too. I got some sugar from
them, mixed with coffee powder.
Together with Bep we ate rice with baked chicken, ketimoen, seroendeng,
broth and sajoer from waloe (= grapefruit) and Tempe. For desert we had a
fruitsalad made from pisang, djeroek and mangga (= mango). Delicious! Bep
enjoyed it too.
Our young, just born, pigeon sat on the table and ate some rice too. Such a
lovely tame little creature! The baby down has gone and now the feathers are
coming through. We call it Yksi, one of the bird names out of the book from
Neils Holgerson.
Some other important thing: Yesterday we received a postcard from Friso, in
which he wrote that Akka was still alive and with him. A wonderful surprise for
all of us.
And we are also happy with the other things he wrote:
Dear Mommy, I am doing well and I am fat. I am here together with uncle
Henk, uncle Giel. I don’t work very much. Our bird Akka is here. Akka is doing
very well too. I am not going to school. I feel pretty good here. Plenty of cloths.
The food is good too. I am looking forwards to see my father and mother back
soon. Bye! Many kisses from Friso Bosman. (May 21st.)
Almost all the other people living in the house have now received a postcard
too.
They are still being handed out, so…who knows.
In almost every street a flag flies now, a beautiful sight. The last few days
already a lot of Blanda-Indo people have already left through the front gate, at
least those who are able to find shelter on the outside by family and friends.
The new occupation forces have still not arrived yet, but the attitude of the
Japs towards us has changed quite a lot.
This afternoon all the adults had to report in front of the office, awaiting an
important announcement. People said that it was going to be the last order
from the Japanese authorities, but that was completely wrong. It was about
gratefulness, that we had been so well protected and that we had been able to
weather the past times so well, thanks to all the good care we had received.
We had to continue like this in the future. All nonsense, of course. We were
happy that we had not taken the effort to listen to it.
4-8-1945
Via the Red Cross we finally received a note from Daddy. All good news.
Tomorrow the new occupation will arrive; we are not allowed to leave the
grounds anymore.
108
On August 3rd and also today, some airplanes flew over again.
I feel a little sick right now, perhaps because of the Chinese food we got.
8-8-1945
We received another note from Daddy in which he wrote that we had to wait
for him “at home” and not to go seek for him in Tjimahi. What would he mean
with “at Home?” It was so nice to see both his own handwriting and signature
again and to know that he is healthy and doing well. We all have written
something in response, even Wouter.
Yesterday, finally the new occupation has arrived. Both Bep and Mrs. Platteel
attended that moving ceremony. The Wilhelmus was song and our flag was
raised. There is also a message from the brother from both Mrs. Jansen van
Raay and from Mr. Groenewegen. We received a Malaysian postcard from
Daddy. Unfortunately there are also arriving announcements of passing and
that tempers the mood.
10-10-1945
A lot of people are leaving already: Fam. Reddingius, fam. Geisler, and many
Blanda-Indos.
Also the first official transports to Soerabaja have started. In a while they start
heading for Malang and from there perhaps to both Batavia and Bandoeng.
For the people from Semarang quarters have been set up in Tandji. They are
moving today.
Daddy is now physician-director from the hospital in Hotel Homan in
Bandoeng and he is waiting for us there, together with Friso! They already
visited Mrs. Marzynski.
The Nationalist Indonesians have occupied the (government) headquarters
from both Soerabaja and Bandoeng together with many other important
locations and buildings. Everywhere one can see their dammed flag flying and
they all wear their red-white pins. If a strong occupation force does not take
control quickly, they are going to control everything. Sometimes there are
shootings at the gedek as well.
Adele van der Klei, a girlfriend from Roeli, has been shot dead there as well.
Very tragic!
There are now some English, Australians and British-Indians, but their troops
are not strong enough to change anything. Ds. Van Heerden has also joined
his wife and lives here now. A safe feeling: a man in the house! The night
watch is now done by men. The food is good and plentiful. The last couple of
days we even got bread. We are gainig a little weight again. At the last
meagre episode I weighed 47.6 Kg at a height of 1,70 m.
Almost every day we received a note from Daddy, sometime accompanied by
one from Friso. And twice I got a very long letter from Rietje Ensering. They
were always welcomed with hurrahs. Daddy thinks that we should go to
Bandoeng with the first organised transport. We are very much looking
forwards to that. In the beginning it looked like we could leave soon, but now
the Indonesians have taken over all the railway connections. They do not
make any train cars available for the transport of Blanda’s. So, that’s why we
109
are still here. We had hoped so much that we would have been reunited again
at Paul’s birthday (October 8). Nevertheless we celebrated it as good as we
could, and we had a delicious dinner. We will do it again as soon as the two
Friso’s have joined us.
For a while there was an opportunity to leave the camp on our own accord,
but Daddy advised against it. The trip was dangerous and tiring. On top of that
one would lose both the protection and the support from the Red Cross. Mrs.
Kamerling, Wunderink, Breikers and Aunt Iny Loggers left for Bandoeng
anyway and have taken notes from us with them. We sent Daddy 50 Guilders
hidden in a little mirror. A few days later we received a letter containing 200
Guilders in Japanese money. We are not short of money because we have
sold many old rags and old cloths, even an old mattress for 80 Guilders. Also
money has been handed out by the street masters, the first time10 Guilders,
the second time 20 Guilders and the last time even 30 Guilders per person.
Mom has now purchased brown sandals with rubber soles for all three of us.
Those for both Roeli and Heleen cost 42.50 Guilders each and mine 55
Guilders. They fit well.
A little while ago I suddenly felt unwell during the afternoon, as if all the blood
drained from my head and I felt like if I was about to faint. It didn’t want to go
away. Laying down flat on my back was the most comfortable thing to do. The
next day I felt a little better, and as medication I got a small steak. Luckily it
didn’t come back since.
15-10-1945
This morning early, at about 5 AM, there was a shooting, by the sound of it,
from both rifles and machine guns. It sounded very close to the camp. All of a
sudden we were all wide awake. Mom advised us to get dressed right away.
In the mean time she prepared a backpack with the most necessary items,
just in case something would happen. We also noticed that the water tap was
dry. The water supply for the entire camp was shut off. People said that the
water had been poisoned. Fortunately last night, out of prudence, we had
already filled all our water containers and also the mandibak (= concrete
vessel used to bath in with a bucket) was full. Other people almost didn’t have
any. Here and there people were digging wells, but they filled only with some
muddy groundwater.
From a few men passing by, we heard that the shooting came from the
Japanese, mixed once in a while a rifle shot from the Indonesians. The
Japanese were still in power here and luckily they still protected us, because
at times the shooting sounded uncomfortably close.
From the radio news we heard that in Batavia, Bandoeng and Buitenzorg, the
Japanese had taken the power again. The Dutch troops were focussing their
efforts on Balikpapan, to organize a landing from there into Java. Tomorrow,
(Oct. 16) the government will take its decision.
Yesterday, a number of men, including both Dutch and Indo-Europeans and
also a bunch of Japanese have been arrested in town by the Nationalists and
transported to jails in both Boeloe and Djoernatan. Yesterday it was also very
tumultuous in the kampongs surrounding the camp: a lot of yelling and
110
screeming. A large quantity of Japanese left from Djatingaleh (Tjandi) for
downtown.
16-10-1945
Again heavy gun fire. The jail in Boeloe has been liberated by the Japanese.
And what happened to be the case? The rebels had killed and tortured all
Japanese prisoners (83). 13 of them were even found in the kali. The
Europeans received a terrible threat: “When we’re done with the Japanese,
it’s your turn!” But fortunately it didn’t get to that point, because one of the
Japanese had played dead and escaped. He alarmed his friends in
Djatingaleh and those set out to rescue the other prisoners. They were
outraged when they discouvered the massacre among their co-nationals and
took revenge with a vigor against the Indonesians, in which they even used
light artillery.
17-10-1945
The prisoners returned from Boeleo and were received with cheers. The
women of Tjandi fortunately have not been attacked, as was rumoured earlier.
They are well protected too. According to the Japanese, the entire territory of
Semarang is now firmly under their control.
19-10-1945
Tonight the British-Indian occupation has arrived. We didn’t notice much of it
yet.
20-10-1945
This afternoon we noticed a beautiful car parked in front of the office, flying an
American flag on each of the four sides. There were also a couple of British
officers walking around and next to the car we noticed the first Gurkha.
Shooting is still going on all the time. On the news was announced that
Bandoeng has been occupied by the Gurkha’s now. Finally!
21-10-1945
This morning we attended the service lead by Ds. Bakker.
Mr. Groenewegen dropped by to tell us that his wife would return to the camp
this afternoon. A while ago she left to live outside, because he had his work
out there. But one day they had to flee for the rebels and she sought shelter
with an Indian family. Unfortunately they lost everything. Mr. Groenewegen
had been locked up in Boeloe too and told us horror stories about what
happened there. It is sad that so many death messages are coming in.
Today we saw already quite a lot of Gurkha’s. They wear silly hats, which look
just like little green ladies hats. The office was now flying an English flag.
Neither last night nor today we heared any more shooting. The sory goes that
the British-Indians hadn’t announced their arrival to the Japanese and that
therefore they had come under Japanese fire at first.
111
Latest news: In Australia there are big supplies of both food and clothing
waiting for us. Here we have got only enough rice to last until the half of
December.
Woutertje has been ill for a few days, but now he is as healthy as two fishes
again.
Today we are writing a long letter to Daddy again. I hope so much that the
mail connections will be reinstated soon.
Our chicken, Bellakroontje, lays an egg faithfully every day!
 

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