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Camp Book Japanese invasion

Tjipahit

Tjihapit
Bandoeng
20-7-1943 --- 13-11-1944
6-8-1943
There is a lot to talk about again. We are now interned in Rijpwijk 84,
Tjihapitcamp Bandoeng. We live in a very tiny, but cosy little house. But now I
will tell the story from the beginning.
On July 12, all of a sudden, 5 medical doctors were picked-up. That scared
us. On July 14, Daddy received a list to fill out: Everything he had in his
inventory of medicine and instruments. Some of it was borrowed from other
doctors. In the afternoon Ms. Wessels dropped in suddenly to tell us that Dr.
Kampman received his notice to report to camp simultaneously with the list to
fill out. We anticipated this of course, but still, it freightened us.
That afternoon I went to the PJC, but again a big disappointment: All church
services, all religious clubs and Sunday schools were prohibited. From now
on, the only church services allowed had to be performed in the Malaysian
language. Disappointed we headed back home. What I had feared to arrive,
had arrived: Daddy’s notice to report. The next day he was ordered to report
at the Palace hotel, at noon Nippon time, together with his suitcase and duffel
bag. Now all hell had broken lose. The next morning he left with 2 suitcases
and with 2 duffel bags. (In order for him to be able to share with others).
Roeli, Heleen and I accompanied him. Underway we had to stop for a
checkpoint, manned by a lousy Indian for which we all just looked on purpose
in the other direction. This guy once threw a rock after me, just because I
didn’t bow low enough.
We arrived at the Palace hotel. Daddy entered last, with a happy face. At least
that’s what he showed. We waited for a little while. Roeli and Heleen returned
home after that, but I decided to stay a little while longer. Some doctors came
out of the building again, Dr. Wisse, Stibbe, Overman, Mayer, van der Linde,
Fast, de Roemer, but Daddy wasn’t among them. Then I returned home
myself. Once back home, we all started packing immediately. There were
some air raid protection exercises going on at the same time, and that was
annoying.
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Saturday, July the 17th, our notice to report arrived too. Imagine, we had to
report in camp at 4 o’clock Nippon time, on Monday! Luckily we were
assigned a room next to Aunt Amy’s house, but we were not allowed to go
and see it. From the early morning till late at night we were busy packing. On
top of that Heleen got sick. Dr. Linn diagnosed: Appendicitis! The next
morning she was operated on by Dr. Sie. Everything went well. And in the
mean time we were still packing. We made a list: Things to take with us,
things to sell, things to drop off at Pasteurweg 24, and things to give away to
other people. Monday, we received, by grace, another day respite.
In the evening at the Mazynski’s there was a complete Japanese uproar, as a
result of unsatisfactory black-out. Monday morning two grobaks already left
for camp and were received by Aunt Amy. Tuesday morning has been very
hectic here, many people gave us packages. I sold 4 chickens for three
guilders. The Australors and the small chickens went to Honny Krijgsman’s
mother. The fish tanks went to Mr. Pasenea, who promised to take good care
of them.
8-8-1943 (a quick review)
Tuesday morning we went to the camp with 2 carts. At the first guard post we
didn’t have to stop. At the office instead we had to wait a very long time. What
was going on? We didn’t have to go to the Houtmanstraat number 9 at all,
something we were quite looking forward to, because it would have brought
us close to Aunt Amy. Instead we got one large room with a tiny side room at
Tjihapit number 34. Mr. Boenjamin personally had picked it out for us. The
room was not too bad after all and the ladies that lived there were quite OK.
Our barang had been not closely examined, luckily. Then there was also the
embarrassing scene about my little photo camera, which was confiscated.
Mom hadn’t hid it very well, but let me not blame her of anything. Everything
has been already hectic enough for her. Further 2 scouts knives and a
baseball bat were also confiscated. Both Aunt Amy and Mrs. Van der Does
helped us very nicely with unloading the barang. After unloading I went back
for the next load. Mom, in the mean time, went for the last time to visit Heleen
in the hospital. Finally our move was finished at around 6 o’clock in the
evening. Both Roos and Endjoem were allowed to accompany us till the main
gate. Finally arrived at our address, we found a lot of people there. To many
we were able to give something from the outside. That felt good. But I was
exhausted and when I finally sat down, I couldn’t move anymore. After
drinking a refreshing cup of coffee though, served by one of the ladies, I was
able to resume again. Wouter was in the centre of attention and was admired
by everyone. He is such a little sweetheart. At around eight o’clock, or
perhaps even earlier, we dropped into bed and slept like logs. Aunty Amy
offered to let both Friso and Paul stay with her as long as we weren’t
organized. We gladly accepted.
21-7-1943
39
Mess, mess, oh what a mess. With united efforts we have furnished our room,
kind of. I had to unpack the porcelain. Roeli had to unpack our cloths while
Mom took care of both hers and Wouter’s. Next to the house was a rather
large garden with high growing grass and several fruit trees. The Mary golds
were in full bloom and were beautiful. There was also an apple tree, a well, a
reasonably built bomb shelter, four old cars and a fire alley, through one
would be able to get outside the camp. Very much prohibited, of course.
Below one of those old cars Friso found a rusted air rifle, but we decided to
leave that there untouched.
22-7-1943
Big news: Soerabaja has been bombed. It is even mentioned in the Tjahaja.
That morning no papers were allowed into the camp. By coincidence, Mrs.
Loke, who lives here, received one anyway. There was an article saying 2 to 3
bombers had dropped some bombs there. Some people say already 200 or
even 300 bombs were dropped, so I guess there were probably about 20 to
30 of them. For an air raid alarm we luckily don’t have to drop everything here
inside the camp. Officially we have to, of course, but nobody pays attention to
it.
23-7-1943
New rumours again: All Blanda-Indo’s, who carry a “#1” or a “#2” on their
pendaftaran, will enter here in the next day or two as well. All dining rooms
had to be vacated too. Mom, after hearing the news, ran immediately to the
office and asked for the dining room at the Houtmanstraat, at Aunt Amy’s.
That would be arranged, they told her. That would take effect on July the 24th .
So, everybody’s packing again.
25-7-1943
Everything was packed again. The movers had already arrived when we got
word that Boenjamin refused permission. We were furious. And what turned
out to be the reason? The N.S.B. (NSB = Collaborators) ladies, living in that
house had protested against it.
26-7-1943
We didn’t feel much like unpacking again. The ladies office said that they
would look for something else for us. So, we decided to wait and see for a
while longer.
27-7-1943
Mrs. Burgers, a very nice, well curved lady, came to see us, accompanied by
her two brown deerhounds, with a nice offer. Her sister lived with another
lady, Mrs. Schotte, in a small house at the Rijpwijk. Because otherwise she
risked to be allotted other people, she asked us if we wanted to live there, in
exchange of our goedang. That proposal we found very reasonable. We
would get to use the entire house, except for the front room. It would give us
two reasonably sized rooms (4 by 5 meters), a very small side room, a little
40
kitchen, a bathroom and a toilet, a well and a garden with pisang (banana)
trees. After having checked with Aunt Amy, we decided to go for it and went to
the office. It worked! And the next day we could get a moving truck.
28-7-1943
The move went beautifully. The Ice box was dropped off at the little hospital.
We are comfortable there and we are totally happy with it. Both the toilet and
the bathroom are a bit smelly, but we are probably able to fix that.
Unfortunately there are a lot of cockroaches. Behind the house is a sewer,
which Friso has to unplug once in a while. Next to the well is a group of pisang
trees, but no bananas yet.
1-8-1943
Fortunately, from Heleen we received nothing but good news. She has almost
completely recovered, and we can expect her home any time now. Suddenly
she appeared in a sado this afternoon, accompanied by Aunt Amy. She was
very happy and she went straight for hugging Mom. For us and for others she
brought all kinds of goodies: cheese, butter, fruit and chocolate. Plus she
brought the greetings from all our friends.
Later, totally unexpected, Ms. Wessels showed up. She had sneaked out
accompanying a sick lady and took the occasion to quickly drop in to see us.
She got a lot of messages for the others to take with her. Most of them she
remembered flawlessly. Saturday morning Hetty and I are going to talk to her
at the bilik. She has to pick up some clothing for Ms. De Quaasteniet, who is
still held in the OAB building. Which is very sad. At the bilik we can to talk to
her while running past it, something that is actually rather dangerous.
17-9-1943
I have done a lot of reading lately. Now I am sitting down next to the well and
my diary rests in front of me on a low little bench. It is Friday, today. In a while
I am going to play ping pong at Dieneke Merkelbach’s place. I am also
already participating in ethnical dancing. Every Tuesday afternoon we
practice in the Emmahofje and Wednesday afternoon we dance on the little
square in front of our house. I love to participate, but both Roeli and Heleen
think its lame. Two weeks ago they sealed the Oosterkerk (Eastern Church).
Too bad, it just ran so well. Last month the entire bloemenkamp came over, it
was a real push to get them all in. I was able to still help Mrs. Bonebakker a
bit. In the mean time Ms de Quaasteniet has been released, which made her
very happy. About a week ago all the foreign women have joined us in the
camp. And do you know who was among them? Solveig Polner, my girl friend
from high school. This afternoon I managed to talk to her for a second. She is
OK and she is very happy that she‘s now away from her grumpy grand
mother, who was allowed to stay outside for now.
The latest news: Invasion in New Guinea, in Holland, in Belgium and in
France! Well done!
19-9-1943
41
It’s now Sunday night. I’m writing by candle light, because we’ve got no
electricity. In both houses, the one across and the one next to us, the power
has failed as well. It has been a beautiful day today. Unfortunately we can’t go
to church anymore, because it’s sealed. But reading in “Hollands Glory”, (=
Dutch Glory) borrowed from Mrs. Stevels, has made up for it. This morning
I’ve made some delicious pancakes, from toko-flower (Toko = a kind of a
general store. In Holland it means a store specializing in Indonesian
products).
Only two of them failed. We gave some of them to Aunt Amy and also to the
ladies in the front room (Mrs. Nel Schotte and Mrs. De Weeger). They all
enjoyed them.
The day before yesterday, all of a sudden Ms. Wessels came into the camp.
She had been picked up in the street somewhere and been put into the camp
without anything. Her lady friend will now look after her belongings. Just the
day before she had moved some of our stuff and also some stuff from Aunt
Nine to the Kistlaan. Our house is now occupied by Japanese. Mr. Klencke
has also been picked up. The Marzynsky’s are still out there. Aunt Amy, a few
days ago, received a money order for 1 Guilder from Uncle Bou, but not from
Soekamiskin, but from Ngawi. She further heard that the men from Struiswijk
(Batavia’s prison) have been moved to Bandoeng.
News: The rumour goes that Italy has capitulated.
4-10-1943
From across the little square in front of our house, a merry melody sounds,
played on an accordeon. Here and there a child joins in, encouraged by one
of the grown-ups, who also join in to help them. Monday afternoon is the
dance hour for the little ones. Now they sing: “the Seven Jump”. I like that
tune so much, that I often sing it while doing laundry. I still do the laundry.
Especially on Monday there is a lot, because on Sunday I don’t do any.
The weather is beautiful now: blue skies, white clouds, a gentle breeze, a
slowly setting sun and the trees of the Bengawanlaan, that carry such a nice
green foliage, that it just looks like spring. A big flock of “prietjes” (small bird
native of Java), sitting in a big shrub next to us, twittering busily. There are lot
of chicks among them; I see them flutter their little wings. A few tjankoerilungs
(a kind of Indies thrush) already are singing their evening song from the top of
the roof. If only Daddy could still be with us, than we could almost be happy,
because we are still doing quite allright. No illness, no hunger, quietness, no
quarrels and a lovely baby.
Woutertje, why didn’t I tell anything about you? He has a very sweet manner.
After being nursed, he can smile so brightly. He has only one dirty diaper
every two days, which is good for me. In the morning he just lies there waiting
so sweet and patiently, watching us with his sweet brown eyes, even if he is
soaking wet. Daddy what will you find him grown, because he’s now almost
twice as old as the last time you saw him. On the pictures he still looks like a
little babe, but now he’s already turning into a little toddler-boy. Tomato juice
and pisang (banana), he loves, but Mommy’s milk is still the “best of all”.
42
8-10-1943
Today is little Paul’s birthday and I, stupid, am sick. All day yesterday I
already didn’t feel well and last night I had a fever. Today the fever dropped a
little, fortunately. This morning at 6:30 little Paul was allowed in while singing
“happy birthday to you”. What a lot of presents were on the table! Both Mrs.
Schotte and Mrs. De Weeger quickly added a chocolate bar to them. Little
Wouter gave him the first present: a roll of peppermints, which he held in his
tiny little hands. Such a lovely sight. Daddy’s present was a book with a Little-
Brown-Bear story, self made from cut and paste paper figurines. We
recognized it from the past, but for him it was a surprise. From Mom he got a
cake covered with both icing sugar and little “sugar pearls”, from me he got
caramels, from Roeli a henkerchief with a red “P” on it, from Heleen some
“tumblers”, made from aluminium foil with a little metal bearing sphere packed
in them, and from Friso a delicious can with sardines.
From the birthday visitors, he’s gotten another pile of goodies. From Uncle Ies
a top made from a nut with a nail through the middle, From Ms. De
Quaasteniet a peujeumkoek (fermented flower from the cassava). On top of it,
with letters made from sugar syrup, was written “Paul”. Unfortunately he
doesn’t like peujeum. To top it all off, he is allowed two rides with the velocar
this afternoon. That’s a car made with bicycle wheels, a car steering wheel
and pedals. They are very much fashionable here in the camp. Louk
Woortman is building one too. This afternoon we ate a delicious pudding and
vanilla as desert. Yesterday afternoon was our toko-afternoon. We’ve gotten:
milk, smoked meat, soap, sugar, goela-djawa and fruits (pisang, papaya and
djeroek bali) (citrus fruit from Bali).
The Nippon gentlemen have been good to us. On Wednesday we got arang
(charcoal). I always pick that up. Mrs. Vink has suddenly returned from the
hospital and lives next to us now. From Mrs. Tonsbeek I received a
“rijksdaalder” (a coin worth 2 guilders and fifty cents), because I picked up and
delivered her food for a month. That one goes in Wouter’s piggy bank,
together with the guilder from Mrs Vink. I have to stop, because I am tired
from sitting up, that’s how weak I still am.
10-10-1943
“For women among each other, silence would be a virtue”. If the women here
in the camp would know this saying, it would be a lot nicer. The women in the
camp gossip shout and scold each other, which is terrible.
Camp capo Boenjamin is gone and is replaced by Sarta. One of his first new
measures is that everyone must have a pestilence inoculation. Today was
Rijpwijk’s turn. Luckily we already have gotten that inoculation, when we were
still outside.
The military barracks at the end of the Rijpweg are now being transformed
into a hospital for us. All medical doctors have to do their practice there. Dr.
van Ouwerkerk and Dr. Fast have both been released lately and have been
placed into our camp. They brought some good news from Daddy. He was
feeling a lot better and has been very helpful to everyone. Mrs. Cob became
emotional when she heard that Daddy was such a great help for her husband.
43
12-10-1943
All boys from 13 till 16 years old have been called today to report at the front
gate with their duffel bag and suitcase. That made many mothers anxious and
concerned. Louk Woortman had to go too and also Martin, but Guus Giese
Koch not yet.
It was this morning a sad group that advanced towards the gate. Most of them
were able to contain themselves, but many accompaning mothers and sisters
were crying. From the camp kitchen some peanut butter sandwiches still
arrived. One boy had his guitar strapped on his back. Some police officers,
some clerks from the office and also a few Japs showed up. The front gate
swung open and there was a large green bus with blinded windows. Names
were called out from a list. The place was very crowded with women and girls,
who kept the police officers busy. After the first 30 to 40 boys had entered the
bus, all hands were waving. You could see a lot of hands and the “Bye bye”
rolled over the square.
While the bus was pulling away, the waving started again. The first bus drove
away, than the second , the third, the fourth … with Louk and Martin, thereafter
the fifth and the sixth. Not one out of the about 200 boys remained. When the
last bus drove away all the women started to sing a song of hope and spirit. It
sounded very heartwarming. But Oh, there were such small boys among
them!
A little while later a few trucks arrived to pick up the luggage. We laughed our
heads off. Every time a truck rolled in, the driver was buried under an
avalange of duffel bags and suit cases. Everyone was lending a helping hand.
If you spotted someone you didn’t like, you dropped “by accident” a duffel bag
on his head. There were not enough trucks , but the remainder was picked up
in the afternoon. A little while later we received word that the boys had arrived
safely in Tjimahi and that many of them had been able to join their fathers
there. As we have a women’s village here, a men’s village exists over there.
Even with a swimming pool. It sounds very nice.
News: Italy has really capitulated. It was even written in the Tjahaja.
23-10-1943
This is my birthday, but without my Daddy. Oh God let it be better next year.
At first I didn’t want to celebrate at all, but more and more people found out
about it. I ended up having a lot of visitors with lots of presents. I will not
mention them all, but from Daddy I got a pair of beautiful pyjama’s, from Mom
a nice pair of slacks and a petticoat, from Mrs. Schotte a pin in a heart shape,
in which I have put a picture from Daddy with little Paul. From Woutertje a
scented soap bar, from Roeli a handkerchief with an “A” on it, from Uncle Ies
a little vase made out of bamboo, that can be hung on the wall and from
Wieneke a nice belt made from film band. That’s a lot in times like these!
We have gotten new neighbours: Mrs. Groenewegen with 2 grand sons, who
are luckily not too bad. Peter and Teun are their names. Their mother is
interned in the OAB. Next to us, Mrs. De Ridder and Mrs. Switser have
founded a club with the intention to make Sinterklaas presents for the children
44
of the Rijpwijk. Some are already practising Sinterklaas songs. How long will
we still have to stay here?
31-10-1943
It’s Sunday night. I am sitting down, writing, both Roeli and Heleen are
reading, the little boys are sleeping, Mom is doing embroidery “and what
would you be doing, Daddy?” “Mom is making a large handkerchief for you. Al
our signatures are on it, even from Woutertje, the cat and from Akka. Both
Mrs. Schotte and Mrs. De Weger also have put their names on it. First we
were convinced you were in Tjimahi, but now we are not so sure anymore.
There have been some transports from men above 45 years and you just
turned 45”.
Further rumours say that in Europe a truce has been negotiated. Would that
be the beginning of the end? O God give us peace! Daddy will return home
than. How much will Wouterje have grown once that happens? He is growing
so fast. He can be so funny, and so sweet. His hair is getting longer already.
He’s our daily second sunshine. Luckily he doesn’t cry much. His arms and
legs are nicely tanned. Often we wish that Daddy could take a peek around
the corner here.
14-11-1943
It’s Sunday night again. Outside it’s raining cats and dogs. Today Woutertje is
6 months old. His back is nicely straight, when you pick him up. His head
comes up very well too. He likes to sit up and look around with his big eyes.
Everything within his reach, he grabs and puts in his mouth. Also riding in his
stroller he likes a lot. A few times already he managed to turn himself around,
all by himself. A big crib now serves as a play-pen. Inside he can roll about to
his hearts content. Mom now writes both in his baby book and in her personal
diary. She just said: “It’s exactly 10 years ago today that Roeli was run-over
by a bike. Ms. Bokma, (my elementary school teacher), brought her home that
day”.
Of all rumours about peace, there’s no truth. The handkerchief for Daddy with
all our signatures, is ready. It turned out very nice. Wouter weighs now 6 Kg.
That has been embroidered on it too. But unfortunately, we’ve had no chance
to pass it along with somebody yet. Perhaps Mickey van der Klei can take it
with him.
19-12-1943
The time flies. We are getting older and also Woutertje has been growing
markedly, since Daddy had to leave. Now he can sit up already, but he can’t
yet get up by himself. He can be so nice and so sweet. What misses Daddy a
lot. When would we be able to see him back and how? Would Wouter walk
already by then? Come-on, it’s time for me to take my dark glasses off and
look for the bright side of things.
A few weeks ago all women were allowed to write a postcard to their men.
Mom has written about Wouter, that he has been inoculated against the
smallpox and how much he weighs. We have all put our names on it. We were
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allowed only 25 words, including names. We were one word short and we
asked Aunt Amy to put her name on it too. Everything had to be printed, of
course (Signatures not of course). What will Daddy be happy with it. The
handkerchief with all our names we gave to Mickey van der Klei, who, about a
week ago, has been picked up together with a bunch of other teenage boys
and most likely has been taken to Tjimahi. Mrs. Schotte wrote on her card that
she was living in our house. Her name is on the handkerchief too. Would
Daddy and Mr. Schotte be able to find each other? Yesterday we could send
Daddy a very little note by a secret messenger. Ssst! I can’t say anything
more.
Sinterklaas also came and went. He arrived on December 5th together with
black Peter here on the square sitting in a velocar! All kids sang songs and
received presents. There was some really nice stuff among them. Self made
dolls, puzzles, and carts, sewing baskets and a lot more. Unfortunately, it was
not a very entertaining Sinterklaas and Peter was dull too. Still some children
cried out from fear. Friso got a little golf ball, Paul a little toy car and Wouter
got a beautiful ball made out of wool. He looked at it with big eyes. In the
morning he found a bite-ring in his shoe and also a nice strap with
attachments to hang his toys from.
Mom made fudge in pudding forms for all us us. Paul got a small “rod” which I
made for him. In the evening Black Peter dropped in twice. The first one gave
us a bag with candy. The second one came in with a sack in one hand and a
“rod” in the other. He called Friso and Paul and lectured them shortly about
having to behave properly and to be helpful all the time. “Yes Black Peter”
they nodded sweetly. Whereafter Black Peter opened his sack and gave us
each a chocolate bar. We still sang another song and after having finished the
song Black Peter left. (It was Greet Donselaar). A moment later we heard
“Plof” in the other room.
There was a big package. There was something in it for each of us. Mom got
a table cloth, Roeli a very nice broche, a belt for me, for Heleen, Friso and
Paul, candies. We still don’t know where that surprise came from. From Aunt
Amy we got home made ginger-nuts (typical Sinterklaas candy). Mmmm!
Starting December 1st we are with the Mangga-kitchen, because Saninten had
to be repaired. We like it though. Soon we are going to get real chicken soup.
Today we had brown-bean soup with djeroek-Malang (Yellow citrus fruit).
Yesterday a fish stew, very tasty. Between December 1st and December 10th
we had to deposit our money into the Bank of Japan. Per family one was
allowed to keep 20 Guilders cash only. Because I have turned 17, I was
allowed to open a bank account too and also to keep 20 Guilders cash. That
bank account we didn’t open, but we kept the 20 Guilders anyway. Everyone
is “poor” now.
I also had a camp-ulcer that didn’t heal. Now, after almost 2 weeks, it looks
finally almost healed, what a relief.
Tomorrow both Wieneke and Quirientje have their birthday. We are going to
have tea with them. Quirientje is so nice. She has some teeth already and can
walk too. Tomorrow she’s going to be 1 year old. Across from their house,
outside of the bilik, some time ago, a search light has beeninstalled. One
46
evening it was turned on. The boys were so exited from it! No wonder,
because they had never seen something like that before.
26-12-1943
Today is Boxing Day. Last night we all celebrated Christmas together. Tonight
Aunt Amy, Mrs. Schotte, Mrs. De Weeger and Mrs. Vink will join us at our
place too. From Mrs. Vink we received yesterday a big package for under the
Christmas tree. There was something in it for each one of us. Both Roeli and
Heleen had handcrafted some nice things too. Mom was so happy with the
handkerchief. Ze had tears in her eyes when she saw Daddy’s name on it,
which I had copied from a signature on a post card. Woutertje’s name is
placed in the middle and all our names are around it.
Mom read us a Christmas story. The angels sang: “Peace on earth”. Oh may
that peace, that real peace, arrive on this earth soon.
Wednesday afternoon I celebrated Christmas at the C.J.C. (Christian youth
Club). Among other things a poem was read, very beautiful and I felt it deeply.
I was allowed to copy it. It really expresses people’s feeling in these times.
31-12-1943
Today is the 31st of December, the last day of this year. This year that came
and went with both its great joy and its great sadness. Indeed we got
Woutertje who came as a joyfull little angel and after two month Daddy had to
leave us.
It is evening now. We have finished supper and Mom is going to read us some
Christmas stories. Mrs. Schotte, Mrs. De Weeger and Mrs. Vink are also here.
I baked some “Oliebollen” (= deep fried dough balls, dipped in icing sugar)
this afternoon, if you can call them that. They didn’t become balls but flat
cookies, but they tasted awesome. Our last dried apples went in them too and
also some “sucade” (= candied peel), which we made from djeroek peals. For
the last time the candles in the Christmas tree were lighted. Little Paul wanted
to light them himself. Mom is now going to start reading.
It is now a quarter to 12 midnight. Heleen, Friso and Paul all fell asleep on the
couch. Mom told us three stories: “Jimsy’s Christmas”, “Heggehannes” and
one about the birth of a little baby in a snowed-in train.
I am sleepy too, but the coffee did wonders. In a few moments this year 1943
will be gone. It went by very fast. On one hand it’s good, because we are
going to get closer and closer to the peace. But on the other hand: our years
are passing by too. Sure we are learning a lot, but learning in school is not
part of it. We’ve got almost no time for that … Wait, the clock sounds midnight!
It is now a quarter past midnight, 15 minutes into the New Year. What will it
bring us? Nobody knows, but we trust in God.
Happy New Year!

1944

4-1-1944
The days just pass by as usual, only the calendar shows that a new year has
started. I am getting older and I notice very well that I am growing up, both in
my body as in my thoughts.
A lot of things that were difficult to understand before, are now clearer to me. I
also grow in the way I talk, think and pray. Does that happen to everyone in
my age? Does one’s thinking always change a lot? But how is it possible that
so many grown-ups still have such apparent narrow minded and immature
thoughts? Should their thinking not be on a much higher level by then?
Perhaps is it very human, or perhaps they had some very bad experiences in
the past. Sometime I feel too, that I am sinking into negativity. But I hope not
to become permanently immerged into that kind of state of mind, or to become
part of that bad temper. Especially not here in this camp.
13-2-1944
It’s now already the February the 13th. Our time flies. What does it mean to us
and what may we learn from it? Despite everything I fortunately do see a lot of
good, but I also see a lot of evil happening around us. It will make us even
stronger in order to be able to fight against it. I also have to fight the evil in
myself that clouds a pure life. Help me please, Lord Jesus.
It’s now Sunday night. I have to start setting the table soon, but continue
writing a bit more. I have written little or nothing lately, especially not about
our lovely Woutertje. Therefore I will now take a peek in his baby book:
December 14. Woutertje is 7 months old. He just made a major achievement:
he sits! He can’t sit up by himself yet, but if we help him, he’s doing alright. If
you pull him up a little further, he stands and he likes that a lot. And laughing
he does! Doctor van de Broek d’Obrenan, our doctor here in the camp, likes it
too. This afternoon we visited Aunt Amy and Woutertje sat for the first time in
the Sanssouci, and he loved it. He kisses now as well, although his kisses are
really more like licks instead of kisses, but he means well. He also likes sugar
and fudge. Further he gets Hoenkwee porridge (a kind of porridge made from
Children’s flour) and Mom’s milk. As soon as he becomes 8 months old, he
will start on nassi-tim (= Soft boiled rice mixed with vegetable soup), a ricevegetable
soup.
December 25: Today for the first time he sat up in his stroller all by himself
and laughed out loud doing so. Aunt Amy has lent us the Sanssouci (=
Stroller), which Wouter loves. Sometimes he falls asleep in it.
February 1: When he was 8 months old, he stood up in his crib-play pen all by
himself. Yesterday he did that in his own crib, but, oh-my-goodness, he trew
his little brush out, stood up to look where it went and fell head first out of the
crib! What a scare was that! Friso, who was bathing in a tub right next to it,
picked Wouter up. He was crying out loud of course and Friso, who pulled him
up to his feet, was both shaking on his feet and pale from the scare. Mom
comforted Wouter, who looked very pale at first, but a little later he ate, drank
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and slept as usual again. The side of his head, he landed on, looks allright
too. Now we’ll have to be extra careful. He doesn’t crawl yet. Already a few
times, Mom has put him on the potty. Since we don’t have a small one, the big
potty gets used. That looks very funny. And it was successful. From January
15 he gets nassi-tim from the camp kitchen. The first time he got it, he looked
at Mom with his big rond eyes, as if he wanted to say: “what is that?” But it
goes in well, although he likes porridge more and he likes pisang (= banana)
most. He already had his first illness too. On January 22 he woke up with both
a fever and red dots on his skin. For two days he looked sick and sad. Mom
thought it was something like German measles. After two days he was fever
free, but then he started coughing a bit. The fifth day the red dots were at their
worst, but thereafter they slowly disappeared. Yesterday Mom discouvered a
little white spot, left under in his mouth. Would that be his first tooth? Wrong,
the little white spot disappeared again.
February 16: Now our Woutertje is already 9 months old. He looks great.
Already for a few days he gets his bath outside in the sunshine, which he likes
very much. Doctor van de Broek dropped by to check up on him and said that
Woutertje looked sweet and healthy. And he roars with laughter, especially
when Friso makes those funny moves. You’ll have to laugh too because his
laughter is contagious. But at the end of the morning, when he is hungry and
sleepy, he can cry quite a bit too. Roeli can’t stand that and usually takes him
out of his play-pen. If Mom doesn’t like that, he’s got to go back in and cries
even louder.
About a week ago we were lend another play-pen, this one fitted with a
mattress. Wouter immediately stood up and enjoyed it. He also starts to
understand a lot of things. If you ask him: “Where is the clock?” he looks at
the clock. He does the same with the lamp and with the cat. And when Mom
says: “Wouter Daddy’s baby”, he’ll look around the room until he’s found
Daddy’s picture. And if Mom shows him the picture from close by, he smiles
sweet towards it. He’s also good buddies with uncle Ies.
20-2-1944.
It’s Sunday. In a moment I’ll leave for a Baptising service. Even here inside
the camp is that possible. Wouter was baptised when Daddy was still living
with us. That was when he was 2 months old and now he’s already 9 months
old.
We are no longer with the Mangga kitchen, but with the Orange kitchen. We
like it this way, because everything goes much faster now. Only… there’s no
Mrs. Schotte around, who gives Wouter the cream of the milk. Lately we got
butter milk, which is yummy too.
19-3-1944
Remember that in December we had to deposit money into the Yokohama
Specie Bank and we didn’t expect to see anything back from it? 20 Guilders
we were allowed to keep for shopping at the Toko. Every month we had to
declare how much we had spent of it. We did that faithfully and see! …. A few
49
days ago we could reimburse that spent amount from the street capo. We
were utterly amazed. We collected 36 Guilders in total, all in Japanese
currency, of course. It is costing them nothing but some paper anyway. But in
any case, it feels good to have it back!
On March 15 the administration of this camp has passed from the Indies army
to the Japanese army. We were told that we would receive much better care,
but that must have been Japanese politeness. Since that moment we have
not received any bread anymore and also from the Toko we could get very
little. Fortunately, we are getting some more rice. This morning, men from the
Bloemenkamp (Flower camp), even carried sacks with rice and corn inside for
us. Why they had to do that, we don’t know. Once in a while we get from the
kitchen also some raw vegetables, such as lobak (kind of radish) and laboeajer
(pear shaped fruit containing lots of water) and one time we got even
carrots. But there’s neither chicken soup nor fish soup anymore. Luckily
there’s still milk. Tomorrow it’s our turn again. Many people in the camp go
hungry because the camp kitchen rice is not enough for them. Oebi almost
doesn’t arrive anymore either. What am I happy that we took so much rice
with us from outside when we moved into the camp.
Yesterday afternoon there was a real downpoor. It was a terrible rainstorm.
This little old house was leaking everywhere. It was worst in the outbuildings.
Inside it leaked onto the closet. The sewer behind our house was spilling way
over the edge and was flushed out nicely.
Mom and Friso were both just in the hospital, at that very moment, but
returned home despite all the flooding and the mud. Around the Orange
kitchen it looked like a swimming pool. Some boys working in that kitchen
went for a real swim in there.
20-3-1944.
Last night I was so sleepy that I couldn’t write any further and just tumbled into
my bed. Yesterday, during that rainstorm, a nasty accident happened on the
Ananaslaan. A girl was swept away by the high water flood and drowned.
How terrible for her Mom!
Just now the gong sounded and our street capo, Ms. Van Dam, announced
that tomorrow high ranking people would come and visit the camp. The camp,
she said, should be considered as an army base and we as its soldiers, who
as such, would have to accept the accompanying consequences. Thus, for
instance, at 10 PM it’s lights out. Further rules and regulations we were to
receive shortly. For those high ranking visitors, we had to bow our bodies, not
only our head. Laundry or children’s play pens were to be removed from the
front yards and the yards themselves had to look well maintained. Our garden
we kept already in good order by our own choice. All plants are doing well.
The tomatoes grow beautifully. The cut-offs from the leek out of the garbage
cans of the camp kitchen, are sprouting already. Our Mexican sunflowers are
doing so well that we have fresh cut flowers for indoors, every day. Roeli also
has sown some “terrong seeds”, (seeds from a kind of eggplant). They rooted
alright, but it will be a rather long time before they will bear fruit. The raspberry
bush we have moved to a sunnier spot and ever since it is doing much better.
50
Woutertje is now every day in his play-pen in the garden, at least weather
permitting. He feels quite at home in his play-pen. He crawls and already kind
of walks around in it and amuses himself often for long periods of time. If it
drags on too long, he will look for something to suck on, such as a piece of
tikar (= mat), a leaf, or a piece of thread. He can look already so sweet to
Daddy’s picture on top of the yellow cabinet. If you take him up and stand with
him in front of the window, and let him look outside, than he becomes sweet
and silent. Often he than puts one of his little arms on your shoulder and that
is such a sweet and trusted gesture. If he’s standing in the play-pen and you
reach your hands out to him, than he can look back with such a delighted
smile on his face. Than I pull him up and swing him high into the air and then
he laughs out loud from pure pleasure. His eyes are also so beautiful, those
sweet dark brown sparkling eyes! Daddy, what you are missing much.
We have just gotten another secret note from him. Someone wrote in a letter
to his wife: “Are in daily touch with Friso, a nice guy!” Than followed a small
part that Daddy probably had dictated himself: “It is OK with me. I weigh 66 Kg
and have only been sick for one day. I am very happy with the handkerchief. I
work daily in the hospital ward”. A little while later we also heard that he works
in the ward with contaminating illnesses and reads a sermon there every
Sunday and also that people there appreciate it a lot. He also looked very
good. We are oh so happy that he is allright and that he has a job. Very nice
that he indeed received the handkerchief with all our names on it. He would
be really surprised if he knew what kind of little wounds Friso has on his feet.
It is namely Framboesia. That was diagnosed by Dr. van den Broek and was
later confirmed by a blood test. Now he gets an injection once every week and
we are curious whether or not it will help, because people have generally not
much confidence in the staff from Pasteur.
The ethnic dances on the little square are still going on. On Thursdays I can
join in, but not on Wednesdays, when I have to go to the CJC, which looks
very similar to the PJC outside the camp. I like it a lot. Sometimes I hear
people talk about subjects I am really curious about. For instance, there are
discussions about Communism and Christianity, or about the life and
teachings of Christ. And much more interesting stuff. Further we have musical
afternoons with recorded music, of course. Sometimes also have a tea
afternoon, to which we have to bring our own cup and sugar. Once there was
a lecture about the spreading of Christianity among the Chinese residents in
Holland. Very interesting!
I now also have a small bible class for children about 6 years old, here from
the Rijpwijk. There are in our vicinity about eight clubs with children between 4
and 6 years old. Mrs. Mostert has organized everything and handed me the
kids from 6 years old. Friso and Paul have both joined such a club too. It is on
Friday afternoon at 6 o’clock Nippon time, thus at 4:30. After that we take
them for singing at Mrs. Mostert’s or only the “Misses” are having a planning
session with her. We even had a session with the projection of pictures from
the bible. They liked that.
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As soon as all the children are there on Friday, I start with them and tell them
a story, teach them a song and finish with a prayer. That sounds so easy right
now, but sometimes it is not that easy at all.
A while ago a decree has been issued by “toean Nippon”, that all women
found outside the camp, would have their hair cut off. That has indeed
happened. A few of them live behind Mrs. Oliviera. They now dress like boys
and wear a cap. There is also a lot of smuggling going on at the bilik, although
it is very dangerous. Mrs. De Weeger lately has been able to buy a pound of
bacon from somebody for 3 Guiders and fifty cents. That meat was also
“biliked” and was very cheap in comparison to what other people sell it for. I
have to stop now, because it’s late and my toe still has to be looked after,
because there’s a little inflammation on it.
28-3-1944
Leaflets dated 9-3-2604 have been distributed with the following text:
Instructions for those interned at the camps:
I intent to protect you, therefore I have to limit your freedom of movement. It is
inevitable that your daily life must differ now from what it was in peace time. I
certainly will treat you in your rights, in accordance with the rules of humanity
and in consideration of your habits and customs. My principles may perhaps
differ from those that have been applied to you in the past. But I will do my
very best to treat you fair and reasonable, and even in the smallest offenses, I
will treat you with determined dedication. To punish those, who would want to
rise and commit violations, or plan secret acts against me personally. In order
to maintain the status quo, with the exclusion of obtaining freedom, all orders
are to be obeyed. To live daily life, with respect of health, be it spiritual or
physical. And so becoming used to these circumstances, I hope, that you will
have a happy time from now and into the future. Signed: Nikita Nasayaki.
2-4-1944
Today is Palm Sunday and next week is Eastern. Many memories of past
years are coming back. We were blessed with a lot of good and we should be
thankful for that.
The last post card to Daddy was returned to us, which was everybody’s
experience, by the way. That was too bad, because we had so many nice
things about Wouter written in there. Yesterday we discouvered Wouter’s first
tooth, on the bottom, left. Mom was the first one to discouver it and tonight we
all heard it tick against his mug, while he was drinking. That was such a sweet
sound. Mom told us that today, exactly 25 years ago, on Palm Sunday; Daddy
came to pick her up for a ride in a horse drawn carriage. Mom was 16 years
old at the time and Daddy was 20. She loved it to be picked up by such a tall,
handsome student for such a nice ride. I would love something like that to
happen to me too, but we are now interned in a camp and such things don’t
happen around here.
From the camp kitchen we don’t receive any bread anymore, but in the
afternoon we got a little bit of rice, tapioca flour and gaplek (not very tasty
pieces of dried ketella) (=cassava). Once or twice a week we got a little bit of
52
sugar, some salt and oil. Also from the toko we can get less and less. Both
Heleen and Friso are now on a salt-less diet, because something is not right
with their blood. They get a lot of vegetables and side dishes, but it is all
rather tasteless without salt.
9-4-1944
Eastern! What does it mean to us? Does it mean: “The Lord has risen” or
don’t we think about that anymore? Are we, or better, am I already sunk too
deep into the banalities of these times? Is there still real space and time in my
heart? Yes, my Lord, I believe in you and I believe too that you really rose
from the death. Please help me reminding those things with everything I do.
Today the church was opened for the first time again. It made everybody very
happy. They started with a sermon for the children, and it was so packed, that
all children less than 13 year old, had to be sent back home. But it still was a
nice morning.
In the afternoon there was a sermon for the grown-up’s. Mom attended that
one.
24-4-1944
Mrs. Mostert started today again taking applications for church memberships.
I enrolled myself too. This afternoon the first church meeting was held. There
were about 20 people there. Tineke Kuylaarts was there too and I liked that a
lot, because I still know here from the 7th grade. She is also a member of the
youth council.
14-5-1944
Today our Woutertje turns one year old! It is a beautiful day and many people
came to visit. Almost everybody said: “Next year his father will be there too”.
We surely hope that will happen. Woutertje is so spoiled with all his presents.
It started already this morning early with a candy rock, a few self knitted
socks, and a little vase with flowers from Mrs. De Weeger. Especially the
candy he liked.
Yesterday we baked a cake for him. Mrs. Vink, who already lives with us since
May 1st, still had some left over flour and we still had some real jam. There
was one candle in the middle, a real celebration. Wouter himself noticed that
something was going on, but didn’t really understand what it was all about.
But he sure liked the presents and the “Boe, boe’s” (bloemen=flowers). We
put Daddy’s picture in the middle, between the flowers. At about 9:30 Uncle
Ies, Aunt Amy, Rob and Querientje arrived, to have breakfast together with
us. We had a delicious lemon-rice. For the visitors we had prepared a
chocolate pudding, which they liked very much. To our big surprise Uncle
Walter Dake also dropped in for a moment. He was actually not allowed to do
that, but he did it anyway, under cover of visiting a “patient”. Of course he got
a piece of the delicious cake too.
Now something in between about the doctors:
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About 4 weeks ago, 10 doctors have been pulled from the 15th Bat and placed
into this camp: Dr. Dake, Dr. Fraenkel, Dr. Fisher, Dr. Lagros, Dr. Damen, Dr.
de Keizer, Dr. Padtberg, Dr. Teunissen, Dr. de Priester and Dr. Deenstra.
The rumour went at that time that their spouses would join them here too, but
that didn’t happen yet. I saw Uncle Walter for the first time three weeks ago,
when I was at the basketball club, invited there by Hanneke Schuurmans. We
play basketball in the garden from a convent, where also the doctors are
interned, close to the hospital. Uncle Walter looked to me like he was taller
and much slimmer. He told me about Aunt Hettie, about Het, Jaap and
Maarten, who are all now probably interned in a camp in Semarang. Mom
found among our pictures still two nice ones for him, one on which he is
together with aunt Hettie and the other one with their entire family. He was
very happy with those pictures, because he didn’t have any himself. I
managed also to prepare a small container with lemon ointment for him.
Now back to Wouter’s birthday. I gave him my little white teddy bear, the one
GrandPa gave me for my first birthday. From Roeli he got embroidered
suspenders and a pair of cotton shoes, from Heleen a ball made out of wool,
from both Paul and Friso he got a string of large beads (made last night).
Further a collection of aprons, toy-animals, fruit, flowers, and a nice self made
wooden duck, mounted on wheels, from uncle Ies. Really, all very nice stuff.
On May 1st. Mrs. Vink moved in with us. She now shares the back room with
me. Actually she was meant to share the front room with Mrs. De Weeger, but
she didn’t like that at all. Now we have arranged that Roeli sleeps there
overnight and Mrs. De Weeger has the room than all to herself during the day.
A few days there was a full moon and Wouter saw it for the first time. We told
him how it was called and now he says also: “Maam” and poits his little finger
towards it. Now, all light spots are called Maam too. That is so cute. The first
thing you hear when you get to his crib in the morning is: “Pappa”. “What is
your Daddy missing a lot, little Gnome!”
21-5-1944
This Sunday we were are all busy preparing for Mom’s birthday. I am
fashioning 6 cloth hangers out of bamboo and put a little blue trimming on
them. Roeli finished her present already a while ago. She re-finished the old
fly cap with new netting and added a small yellow ruffle to it. Heleen is cutting
a sugar spoon out of bamboo and fashiones an orange letter “L” on it. Friso
has put new straps on an old pair of wooden shoes and painted on those also
a blue trim. Paul doesn’t know what to do and thus will probably give the Lshaped
pin, made by Heleen earlier. Wouter gives something from himself,
namely a piece of his under layer. Mrs. Vink has needled an orange border on
it and now it can be used as a pot mitten. She herself has come up with
something nice too: she has revamped our Hongarian-doll teapot warmer,
which looked awful dirty, she has dressed it anew and she also has given it a
new face. She really did a good job and now it looks very nice again.
Further we dicided to bake an “oebi-cake” (= eatable sweet roots) and to
sprinkle candy sugar over it. We’ve got a little flour, no eggs, no milk, a tiny
54
little bit of sugar and a lot of oebi’s. But we’re going tol wait until Tuesday to
make it.
Now I go a little back in time. From the beginning of March we’ve got free
utilities, in the form of both free water and electricity. Therefore the lights have
to be out at 10 PM and further we had to surrender all electric appliances,
such as hot plates, ironing irons, toasters, blow dryers etc. There were a lot of
them. A little while later we had to report the wattage of our light bulbs. We
were allowed only one light bulb per room. When at the end of the month they
figured out how much electricity had been consumed, they found it way to
much and on the ladies office appeared an announcement saying that we
were still encouraged to surrender eventual remaining appliances. I don’t
believe that many more came forwards. Also all our music records had to be
surrendered, because in the men’s office they said they wanted to select a
few nice ones and send the rest back to us. That hasn’t happened yet. We
were also asked to surrender scrap metal and dump it in front of the ladies
office. A lot of bike parts appeared and a lot of junk. A tremendous interesting
place for boys to hang out and they did that with a passion.
A while ago Mom and I were invited to an evening in which Mrs. Homann
recited poems. I enjoyed that so much that I plan to read many more poems in
the future.
At the CJC someone told us once about her trip to Italy. She had been there
for a year and a lot had happened during her stay. That sounds so nice to
travel like that and having the opportunity to learn about new places and
meeting new people. Sometimes we also have a music afternoon, more often
than not with recorded music. Lately a lady played the piano and was
accompanied by a boy playing the violin. Perhaps beautiful for some, but the
violin is not my favourite instrument.
About two weeks ago Mrs. Tonsbeek received two postcards from her
husband, who is interned as a POW in Sumatra. Many other women received
also postcards, all from military camps. By accident we discouvered that Mrs.
Tonsbeek was acquainted with the Smalbraak family and also that they had
stayed in Poerwakarta and in Wanajasa too. Very funny!
On April the 24th we had to move again and now to the monastery. Also a part
of the Bengawalaan, the Orchideelaan and the Tjibeuning-park had to be
vacated. In there the nuns and the rest-patients had to be relocated.
Everything had to be done in one day, of course. Many people have given a
hand moving. I got excused from French lessons and joined in too. Everything
with wheels was used. It couldn’t possibly be finished all in one day, but
people were allowed to continue the next. The catholic nuns have been
working like horses.
Every eleventh of the month we must have our garden neat and in order. At
that day Han 2 will be inspected, which means that part of the camp that gets
food from camp kitchen number 2, and that is called the Orange kitchen. It
happened already twice. The first time some gardens here in Rijpwijk had
failed the inspection, but the second time it was: “Semoea bagoes”
(everything OK). Our trim shears are now coming in handy.
55
We were allowed to change money again. Now we were not allowed to 20
Guilders per family, but 10 Guilders per person. Therefore, all of a sudden, we
possess 60 Guilders, in Japanese currency, of course. Whatever we had left
of our Dutch money we had to exchange for Japanese currency, which we
did.
Now I must tell something about Heleen. Her heart is not totally OK. Therefore
she has to stay in bed and rest for an entire month. To me it sounds very
boring not being able to participate in any activity for an entire month. And
since Friso has just left this Framboesia history behind, they both now are on
a salt free diet, not so much because of the salt, but because there are so
many vegetables in it. It tastes very dull, but fortunately it always comes with a
good helping of a tasty side dish, which we all share and enjoy. It does
Heleen really good. She has even gained some weight already, something
she doesn’t like at all.
My latest wish for the future is now: to become a nurse. Lately a lot of girls
were hired again at the hospital at the Houtmanplein. Their shifts are from 8
till 2 or from 2 till 8, or a night shift from 8 till 8. After 10 days, they are paid
one Guilder and fifty cents.
But… it is difficult for me to leave home and they are not receiving any training
yet, which is actually the reason why I want to join. It would be great that,
once Daddy would return home, I already would have finished part of the
training. I am not going to work my butt off over there without getting any
training in return, especially now that I am needed so much at home. There
was also a chance that I would be able to work at the monastery hospital.
Uncle Walter has inquired for me, but in the mean time it has turned itself into
a separate little camp. If I would join them, I would not been able to return
home and I would have to live there on my own, or: we would all have to move
there, but that’s not an option. I would be able to be trained to look after
operation patients, but besides that there is no further training available.Thus
that’s impossible, it will have to wait until later. Roeli was very envious when
she heard I would possibly join the Houtmanplein. She would love it too, but
she’s still too young.
Roeli, Heleen and I have made a nice plan for later: we all are going to work in
a hospital. Roeli will become a doctor, I will become a nurse and Heleen will
work in both the Laboratory and the Pharmacy. So, the three of us are going
to help Daddy in the Hospital. A beautiful plan, but what will become of it?
Every day men from the Bloemenkamp come over to work here. They have to
repair the Bilik, clean the gutters, unclog the sewers, etc. They have gotten a
nickname nobody can guess: the “kneusjes” (the bums).
Twice now we have gotten bacon from the Toko: 40 grams per person. What
does that ever taste good!
The bible class now convenes regularly. I taught them a new verse. Saying
the prayer before and after the story doesn’t bother me anymore. The kids
56
attend relatively regularly, especially the two buddies Mieke Tonsbeek and
Mieke Bakker. They are there all the time.
23-5-1944
Mom’s birthday! Both Roeli and I came out of bed early to make some last
minute arrangements. Last night we displayed all presents on top of the little
round table and covered them under a white bed sheet. A big pointy shape
pushing the sheet upwards was the Hungarian doll. We put the cake with the
candy under Roeli’s fly-cap. Only after we were all dressed, the play-pen setup
outside and Wouter dressed in his festivities suit, I brought Mom inside,
while we sang: “Happy birthday to you”. The sheet was removed and… there
was the colourful collection of presents!
First the cake was being uncovered, which was “supposed” to come from
Tjimahi. Mom loved it and seemed not to have noticed its preparation. Than it
was the turn of the teapot warmer, almost not recognizable, so beautiful it
turned out to have become. Then followed the coat hangers, the “L” spoon,
the wooden shoes, the “L” pin, and the pot mitten. Mom was very surprised
that we had still been able to make so many things. Mrs. De Weeger had tried
to picture Wouter in a drawing, but that did’n work out, unfortunately.
Aunt Amy gave Mom a lovely place mat and uncle Ies gave her a spoon and
fork, artfully crafted out of bamboo. From Wieneke she received a heart
shaped pin-pillow, embroidered with little flowers, from Rob a ticket for a
performance of Corry Vonk and Quirientje came in carrying a little bag filled
with coffee. So nice! Many more visitors dropped in, it was pleasantly busy.
Bep van Wijk also dropped in and brought a pair of self made shoulder straps
and a nice table cloth, which she had stiffened in her porridge. (This shows
what kind of food we have to eat these days). From Aunt Nine and Richt she
got a pair of “aanpakkers”, (= Kitchen mittens) which we could make good use
of. From Mrs. Schut (One of our neighbour ladies), she got four pretty buttons
(made out of plywood) in the form of the Dutch Lion. They were marked with:
“Freedom equals Happiness”.
From both Mrs. Tonsbeek and Mike she received a very appropriate Camp A,
B, C. From Ms. De Quaasteniet she received a blue apron and from Mrs. De
Ridder a nicely scented soap bar.
Everyone praised the Oebi-cake and Mom liked it too. It turned out to be a
really nice day, in which only Daddy’s absence prevented us from being
perfectly happy. Many people therefore said: “Next year better”. We all hope
that with all our hearts.
Last Friday “Tolen and van Lier” dropped in here at the pharmacy next door.
Those were actually Mrs. Schneider and Ms. Richter, who, dressed in
tuxedo’s, performed all kinds of cynical gigs about this Camp. We were invited
too, but I could not go, because I had to tend to my bible class at that time.
The class was finished pretty quickly and when I glimpsed through the
bushes, other attendees noticed me and invited me in. Nice! So I still have
been able to attend the major part of the performance. It was really
entertaining!
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There were gigs about the trash can, about the shoe store on the Emma hofje,
the “Paradise” (= the flower camp), the tap dances, an English song, the
menu, chicken soup, the food stamps and a few others. Also a few serious
songs: Memories and Comfort. From that one I only remember the last line:
“Than you think by yourself: What a beautiful life!” The humorous opening
song I missed, unfortunately, but at the end there was a funny closing song. In
any way it was a very enjoyable afternoon and I hope to be able to get a hold
on the lyrics of those songs sometimes.
Our lessons in both French and English are now more steady, 2 hours per
week each. Sometimes the homework is a bit much, but most of the time it
gets finished OK.
24-5-1944
Today at the church we had a Whitsuntide service for both of our youth
groups, the CJC and the ACJC, very beautiful. Mrs. Mostert has spoken and
also Janneke Boersma has sung a song. Last year we sang that same song
with the choir. Tomorrow there will be a Whitsuntide service for the grownups.
25-5-1944
The whole camp is upside down from exitement, because packages from the
American Red Cross have arrived, both big ones and small ones. At the
ladies office one had been opened and the contents were put on display.
Mmmm, that looked really delicious.
26-5-1944
The distribution! This afternoon at 4 o’clock, during the roll-call, Mrs. Van Dam
told me that I was allowed to pick one of those packages up at her home. I ran
over there and proudly carried it into our house.
One package was meant for 9 people. On the top was written: “American Red
Cross, Prisoner of war. Invalid food package Number 1 for distribution through
international Red Cross Committee”. Inside there were: 9 packages of
cigarettes (Chesterfield), 3 cans with butter, 2 cans with ham and eggs, 3
cans with Corned Pork loaf, 1 can with pink Pate, 1 package of Kraft cheese,
4 packages of soup powder, 8 packages of soup broth, 1 package of dried
plums, 1 can with orange juice, 1 package with biscuits, 1 package with sugar
cubes, 1 can of Kup Kafay, 1 can of Bakers cacao, 1 can of Milko, and 2 soap
bars.
The distribution was not difficult, because Wouter got all the biscuits and the
rest was divided in 8 parts. One can with butter and the package with the
cheese we have already opened. When we will be opening the other cans
over time, both Mrs. De Weeger and Mrs Vink will receive their share from it
too. Sunday we will drink an American cup of coffee. Mmmm! I already look
forwards to it. Both the cheese and the butter taste delicious.
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28-5-1944
Whitsunday and Daddy’s birthday! That’s two nice things at once. But
unfortunately also some annoying news: the church has been closed again.
From Eastern till Whitsuntide it has been open. Today it was my turn to
introduce the speaker and thus also to do the first prayer. I always feel a little
nervous when I have to do that, so I have to admit that I am kind of relieved
that I don’t have to do it today. But I am getting off topic, because I was
dealing with annoying news. The worst thing is that Daddy himself is not with
us today. But we think about him and I am sure he thinks about us. This
morning I gave Mom her birthday kiss from him and put his picture amid some
flowers. Also Wouter liked it a lot. He said: “Boe, boem, papa, boe!” (Bloem =
flower) And to add to the festivities, we went for breakfast at Aunt Amy’s. Very
cosy! We all sat on benches in front of their garage-room. Both Quirientje and
Wouter sat together in Quirien’s big play-pen, which went splendidly. Wouter
found a lot of new toys there; he was especially attracted to a little box filled
with big buttons. Quirientje looked so proud. Too bad both their fathers can’t
watch this. We can’t make any pictures either. I agreed with Mom that we will
keep some kind of diary for Daddy from our time here in the camp. We have
got already a suitable note pad for it.
1-6-1944
Some rumours circulated that the Rama camp, (the old folks camp) would be
merged with ours. And see, today that’s what happened. There were, of
course people required to accommodate some of the new ones, but luckily we
were not asked to do so. That is probably because we’ve taken Mrs. Vink in
just in time. Both Mrs. Koch and Mrs. Groenewegen have moved away. In
their place two ladies from Amsterdam with their little sons moved in.
Mrs. Tonsbeek unfortunately had to leave her nice little room too. We were
planning to ask her to join us, but she already had made arrangements with
her lady friend, Mrs. Hooghoudt. Her little daughter Heleen is a nice girl friend
from Mieke. Both girls are in my bible class. A while ago Mieke had small-pox
and shortly after that foot and mouth disease. Very sad, but fortunately she is
better now. She would also like to have a little brother. Both Roeli and I have
also helped Mrs. Tonsbeek moving.
Some 900 more people have joined us in the camp lately, which made it very
busy for the kitchens. Starting today the Orange kitchen has been closed and
now we have to go and get our food from the Mangga kitchen and that is a
long way from here. Mrs. Tonsbeek accompanies me now. She takes care of
the special diets and for the baby milk, while I pick up the usual soup. That is
very easy for her, because she’s got the doctor’s prescriptions and is allowed
in right away. The bread and the rice we get at the Saninten kitchen in the
afternoon. Lately we got some fish again, delicious! Both Heleen and Friso
still are on their salt-less diet. On the spot where once the bread for
Ellenbroek was baked, a bakery for this camp has been set up. A lot of
women have been ordered to work there. A few days ago, they were asking
for baking forms, and we have given them two for the good purpose. Further
we had to hand in a white bordered piece of cloth from 2 by 6 cm per person.
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Today we received them back with both a Japanese tjap (=stamp) and a
number on it. I am now number 2 -16892. (Tjihapit is camp number 2). Now
we have become real prisoners, nothing but numbers. The ladies office has
moved to the corner of Ochideelaan and Bengawanlaan.
7-6-1944
It’s Roeli’s birthday! She turns 16. When I became 16 years old, I felt already
so old. That’s what she finds from herself now too. From Mom she got a lovely
dress made from a sarong (= a cloth sewed closed on the short side, worn as
a skirt), made by Mrs. Van Papen. From Mrs. Vink she got a funny apron,
embroiled with a balance and other Toko stuff. Aunt Amy gave a nice corsage
made from orange felt flowers. Further still many other presents. Mom baked
an oebicake again decorated with 5 Marasquin cherries out of a bottle we still
had. Very festive!
The Maiers dropped in for a minute as well. Robbie told us that he had seen a
plane with bullet holes in the wings. It seems to be true, because some other
people seem to have seen it too.
Almost no wood or charcoal comes in anymore; it does still come in for the
kitchen, but not for us. Now people have started to gather wood by
themselves, which means they have started to cut the trees. The Orange
Square is very bare already and also other streets have been robbed bare. In
front of our house a skinny tree has been felled as well. We also have our
share “getjoept” (the newest verb for “organized”). It is very annoying to cook
on wood.
For a few days Paul had a bad tooth ache, and Dr. Fraenkel has taken his
moulder out. He did that without anaesthesia, because Paul didn’t want any
injection. That was very painful of course. Pale and carried by Mom he
returned home. But the pain ebbed away quickly, fortunately.
14-6-1944
It’s Wednesday. Again I had an enjoyable CJC afternoon, with a reading
about Martin Niemoller. How he fought for the German church. He was a
remarkable man. If I can ever get my hands on another book about him, I will
surely read it.
27-6-1944
We thought that the cans, which were collected a while ago here in the camp,
had been picked up by now. But they were kept in the Toko and this morning
there was a big lottery in the Ladies office. We didn’t have any luck, but both
our neighbours won something. But, we hadn’t contributed anything either.
Ms. De Quaasteniet was given a can with carrots and passed that on to
Heleen, already for her birthday. That was very nice of her!
Further we obtained some dengdeng again from the Toko, not the ordinairy,
but dengdeng-tjeleng. (= wild bore). It looks delicious.
The poor Mieke Tonsbeek is sick again: the measles. A few days she had a
high fever, so bad that her Mother was afraid for the worst. But fortunately she
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recovered. Heleen Hooghoudt is sick as well, so now they can keep each
others company.
Al our children’s books have been thouroughly read now.
We have now opened our last can with Blue Band margarine. Mrs. Tonsbeek
also got a small container from it. Wouter also has been sick for 5 days,
probably contaminated by Quirientje. He had a cold; he had a fever for 2 days,
didn’t eat much and was both annoying and crying, often to our despair. But
he looked also very sad. Now he is better and he is sweet and happy again. A
“boem” (= bloem = flower), or a twig with leaves make beautiful toys for him. If
there is a moon, he looks up and says smartly: “Maam”, “Maam”. (Maan =
Moon). And if you ask him then: “Where is the moon?” than he answers
triomphantly: “Daa!” (Daar = there) and points upwards. Sometimes also:
“Weggg!” (weg = gone) and than he holds his little right hand up. If he plays
with a little box and closes it, he sometimes says: “Ticht” (Dicht = shut). That
all sounds so funny. Walking goes better and better too, but not yet by him
self. He also knows each of us from the others. If you ask: “Where is Friso?”,
than he looks at Friso, and so on.
10-7-1944
On Saturday July 1st, I didn’t feel very well and I stayed in bed. At that time the
fever was still low, but later in the day the temperature rose higher and higher.
I had pain in my tummy over and over again followed by an urge to go the
bathroom. Fortunately not a bad pain, but I felt quite ill. For food I got nothing
but tea and toast.
Just on that day, the times for the roll-call were changed. Instead of at 9
o’clock and 4 o’clock, it is now: 8 o’clock and 7 o’clock. Sometimes that fits
rather well and sometimes it doesn’t.
On July the 2nd Roeli got ill as well: influenza! What was Mom busy with us.
But a lot of people came to help with picking up food and with the laundry. A
few days later, by coincidence, Dr. van de Broek dropped by. When she saw
us so sick, she was surprised that we hadn’t called her. My diet was not so
good either, because the bread was very bad. First I had to live on rice water
for a few days and than on nassi-tim and butter milk, which Dr. van de Broek
prescribed me for a period of 2 weeks. She thought I had bacterial dysentery.
My tummy held up wonderfully, fortunately. But I had to rest a lot, because I
felt very weak.
Today I was for the first time allowed to go to the kitchen again. Now that still
is the Mangga kitchen but tomorrow fortunately Saninten kitchen, which is
much closer by.
Underway I witnessed something horrible. Four Dutch men came running
down the Bengawanlaan holding a stretcher in their midst with a man on it.
His body was covered by a white sheet. Behind those men rode a fat Jap on a
bike, who was angrily constantly shouting something at them. Obviously an
emergency, someone who had to be transported as quick as possible, but the
way it was done…
The next day we heard more about it. It was a man from the Bloemen camp,
who was beaten so badly by a Jap, that he got a stroke from it. Then he had
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to go, of course, “Lekas, lekas!” (=quick, fast, in a hurry) to the hospital, but he
died on his way there. Is that not terrible!
13-7-1944
We got a Mantoux injection from Dr. Flaumenhaft to see if our lungs were OK.
Now both Roeli and I were punctured with a very small needle. Saturday its
both Friso and Paul’s turn. Paul started to cry already in anticipation, the hero!
14-7-1944
Today we could exchange Dutch money again. Quite a lot of people did it (the
morons). So the Japanese got the best proof for the fact that there is still
some Dutch money in the Camp. We didn’t do it.
In the camp a lot of gas is being used everywhere, while it is actually only
allowed for use by the hospital. Secretly we do it too. We clamp a piece of
bicycle inner tube around the supply pipe; connect it to a curtain rod which
ends at a burner with a spreader plate. It works like a charm.
The latest consumption was 7000 cubic feet per month, which has formerly
always been around only 200 cubic feet. “It’s impossible we use that much”,
the nurses from the hospital said. “Then gas is being used elsewhere in the
camp”, said the Jap. Very much prohibited!
16-7-1944
Because Heleen has her birthday tomorrow on the busy Monday, we already
celebrated a bit at Aunt Amy’s. We had breakfast there and ate a delicious
crumbs cake with American plums. Hmmm!
The tomato plants from Aunt Amy grow very well. Especially one plant is a
giant and has huge fruits. The secret was that he was watered with the urine
from Quirien. Now we are going to exploit Wouter too!
The apron we wanted to give Heleen for her birthday, we already handed her
today, although it’s not totally finished yet. All kinds of camp things are
embroidered on it, such as an anglo (= small charcoal oven), a laundry rack,
the gong, a cockroach, and so on.
Our Mantoux injections turned out to be OK.
17-7-1944
Heleen is 14 years old! Although we have already been in the camp for a
year, there still was a table filled with presents and an oebi cake with
“cherries”. From Mrs. De Weeger the three of us got each a wide rimmed sun
hat. I am especially happy with it, because such a thing is a god-sent while
standing in line in front of the kitchen. Paul gave a self made bamboo hanging
vase with the letters H.B. on it. Very pretty! From Friso she’s got a
handkerchief, from Mom the cake and from “Tjimahi” an invitation to attend
the Corrie Vonk show, this coming Saturday. And Wieneke is going too!
Lovely!
I planned to give Heleen a pair of duck shoes, but they were not finished yet.
Therefore I gave them unfinished. She liked them very much. It has been a
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very busy day, because I had a big laundry to do and I had French lessons
too this afternoon. I am very tired.
19-7-1944
All boys from 13 years and older had to report to the front gate today, with a
tikar and one or two suit cases. Joan den Boestert is among them too.
Yesterday afternoon Mom still went to the family to ask if he could take
something with him for Daddy. And great, he could! We regret that the
drawing from Wouter didn’t work out, because if not, we would have sent it
now. A while ago, we have through Uncle Walter, who had to go to Tjimahi to
accompany a sick patient, sent a towel and a book (“Stay the course”). To our
delight, it was successful. Now Mom has given some other useful things to
pass on, for instance a thick dark blue woollen sweater (which was part of the
Boer outfit). (Boer = Farmer). For Joan himself she was able to do something
too: namely to cut his hair.
The boys had to report at 8:30 AM. Than we heard that they first had to put al
their barang outside the gate and after that they were allowed to return home
until a quarter to twelve. Also Hans Streef was among them. Both Guus and
his friend Beer had already been picked up a while ago and since been
interned in the Bloemen kamp, together with many other boys, but they were
still allowed to work here in the kitchen. So we heard that they were doing
quite well and had lots of food. A few days ago both Roeli and I met Guus and
Beer at the Mangga kitchen. They also quickly visited their home. Great that
that was possible! To Guus we have been able to give a small pot with Savora
mustard and a little bottle with real Maggi both to pass on to Daddy. It is to be
hoped that it reaches him.
22-7-1944
Today we went to see the Corry Vonk show. We all thought it would start at 6
o’clock, but than, all of a sudden, Mrs. Leefers said that it started at 4:30 PM
instead. At that time is was already 20 after 4. We had to run! Of course we
were too late, but we could still get in and we missed only very little. Mom
immediately went to tell Wieneke, but she was too late too and didn’t go in
anymore.
That’s a shame, because it was a very funny show. Oh, those faces that Corry
Vonk could pull, we laughed our heads off. Further performers were: Puck
Meier, Pam de Hartog, Greet Hanneman and some more ladies. The cabaret
was called: “Les deux anes”. Although I found the ABC Cabaret that I had
seen while on the Lyceum, still a lot more entertaining. At that time Wim Kan
was still part of the show and Mr. de Hartog too. Still this one was funny too
and sometimes also very serious.
Greet Penneman performed in a scene in which she played the role of a girl
whose parents had just divorced. It was called: “I’ve got big news for school”.
But it was very sad.
Both Roeli and Heleen most liked the scene in which Corry Vonk played a
school boy from Amsterdam. It was terrific!
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23-7-1944
This morning I went to a “silent” church service, thus without a sermon and
without singing. I found it delightful, so quiet and so peaceful. One could
devote all one’s thoughts to God, without being disturbed by anything or
anyone. Once in a while the organ played and one could follow the gospel
noted on a blackboard. Next week I’ll go again.
25-7-1944
A day filled with emotions. At around 12:30 all of a sudden the gong or the bell
was sounded in all streets. An extra roll-call and a house search. Both Roeli
and I were just attending our English lessons and immediately ran home.
Quickly hiding or putting away some stuff. A little while later some native
soldiers arrived to occupy the streets and to stop people from returning into
their homes. Until about 4 Pm we had to stand and wait at the side of the
road. Then a group of Japs showed up, and they took turns to go from house
to house to do a search. They came closer and closer. Finally one went into
our house. A lady from the office accompanied him. After a long time they
came out with…. Our tool box. What a pity. But that lady did as if she couldn’t
carry the box all by herself and we jumped in to help her. And underway we
kept throwing things out left and right. The axe, the hammer, a pair of pliers
and a lot more! Also the tool box from Mrs. Vink had to go. We managed to
take a few things out from that one too. But unfortunately, in the end there
was still enough left to feel sorry about. From other people they took maps,
shade lamps, bicycle parts -and tires, medicines, photo albums, etc. For what
concerns the house search, that was a joke. The Jap looked only superficially
into our closets. We never imagined that our tools were at risk. Still we were
happy that they didn’t take any other stuff.
26-7-1944
Today I saw Geeke den Boesterd at the kitchen and she told me that Joan is
probably in the same place as his Dad. From there he will be able to find
Daddy in the hospital.
This afternoon at the CJC Liselot van de Veen held a reading about the life of
Francisco of Assisi, but it was a pity that she mixed the sentences up. But I
already look forwards to the next time, because than we will have to get
together in the chicken coop from Corry Vonk, to hear a declamation with
music from Mrs Hofman. Would they be the same poems of the last time?
30-7-1944
Sunday. Nowadays, with that early a roll-call, we can never sleep in anymore.
I didn’t go to the silent service either, because Mom has started a sermon
group here at home. She gets the sermon from Mrs. Mostert. More ladies
have formed such groups, which consist of about 10 people on average. Both
Roeli and I were allowed to listen in. The text was appropriate for these times,
from Job: “Would I take only the good things out of Gods hand and refuse the
bad ones?”
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9-8-1944
Last week on Wednesday we went to visit Mrs. Homan. She has declamed
“Lucifer” beautifully and thereafter three more brief poems, among them: “the
jobless”, which I heard already the last time. The others were: “Return” and
“The triumph of the present century”. It was very nice.
Yesterday Mom went with Heleen to see Dr. Deenstra to have her throat
examined. She probably has to be treated for her tonsils in the hospital. Mom
has asked Ms. Engel if Paul could as well be helped, because his tonsils are
often acting up too. Now we have to wait for the reply from Dr. van de Broek.
Poor Heleen and poor Paul!
We are getting to the end of our rice supply and we are often hungry. It’s no
wonder, we are getting very little. From the kitchen we get per person per day:
¼ litre thin soup, 90 grams rice, 200 grams bread, and once every three days:
60 grams sugar and 60 grams of salt. Once in a while we get a small piece of
tahoe or Tempe and a little plant of parsley. At the Toko, the morning opening
has been cancelled. Paul had some red spots on his feet lately and that
turned out to be caused by a lack of vitamins. Luckily Mom found a Cenovis
can with vitamin powder. Now each night we all get some of that.
14-8-1944
Today is Grandma Willie’s birthday. How would she be doing? Would she still
be alive? Man wonders and God decides. Daddy will surely be thinking about
her too, today.
Yesterday Dr. van de Broek told us that Heleen could be taken to the hospital
this Wednesday. But Paul still has to wait. It is a relief for her because her
tonsils are acting up quite a bit. It’s also fortunate, that she will be in the care
of Dr. Dake.
We are getting another new Japanese camp commander, because Muruwi is
leaving, but I don’t know yet if it’s going to be an improvement.
Now something nice: Wouter walks and he’s got already one moulder. On
August 4, he did his first three steps. And now he walks already so well, with
funny little steps. Today he is 15 months old. He can be so sweet, especially
in the morning early, when he comes out of bed with: “Daddy, Daddy!”
15-8-1944
A few days ago it was a beautiful day. It was afternoon, and I was sitting next
to the well, reading in the book “Duikelaartje” (tumbler) from Nes-Uilkens. That
story about the life of a Doctors wife, spoke to me. Despite all the problems
she encountered, she always found the courage to continue. I thought:
“Where does my courage to continue actually come from?” Suddenly I
thought about all those Biblical stories Daddy and Mommy both told and read
to us. It was God, who always saved us from our problems and it was Jesus
who took care of us as a good Shepard. Thinking of those things made me all
warm and happy inside. Such a feeling of happiness I have never felt before.
That filled me with new courage, even here in this camp with all its hunger,
depression and sad occurrences.
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20-8-1944
“Many things are good and funny and happy and have sunshine in their core,
and if you only do them, really do them, do them according to Gods will, than
everything has to end well”.
This I read lately somewhere and it hit me, because it had been said so well.
At least that’s how I feel it.
It’s Sunday today. This morning again we had “church” here in our place,
which means that a sermon and a few verses are being read. Several ladies
were sick and therefore we were only with 6 people. Mom read the sermon
about the text: “He knocks at our door”. Afterwards I also went to a silent
service in the church, because afterwards I had to lock up.
On my way home I was very hungry, and luckily the food was already on the
table. Rice and bami, delicious, but it did hurt so much on my tongue. It has
been red and inflamed since last Thursday, a very uncomfortable feeling. It
started with pain in my throat, which I still have today. Many people in the
camp seem to have it, including Aunt Amy. Now I am kind of feeling what
Daddy must have felt earlier when he was sick. Bah, nothing tastes well and it
is very painful.
Yesterday afternoon Mrs. De Weeger returned from the hospital. She was
very well rested, but had also lost 3 ½ kilograms. Heleen would have gone to
the hospital on Wednesday, but on Tuesday we got word that the “Niponese
authorities wouldn’t allow it”. Just imagine! Little Paul has been examined too
by Dr. Deenstra and has to be hospitalized too, but they are both still home
now.
Luckily, Heleen has gotten rid of her angina.
On Wednesday afternoon both Mom and I went to buy shoes. I’ve gotten a
pair of cute ones, made entirely from yellow rubber. They cost 5 guilders and
fifty cents, rather cheap, compared to other prices. Afterwards Mom and I
went “shopping”, which means having a look at the booths of the market on
the Oranje Square. Almost everything, as far as clothing is concerned, one
can buy there, including books and toys, but very expensive!
That day we finally got some djagoeng flower at the kitchen again, 120 grams
per person. It’s enough for about three times breakfast.
Thursday the Toko was open again and we got: jam, goela-batoe (sugar
cubes) and half an ounce of deng-deng (per person), coffee and a fish
croquette, but without the fish. Especially with the deng-deng we are very
happy.
In the afternoon we received some postcards from the street master, which
we were allowed to send to our family or acquaintances. Only one postcard is
allowed per family. But because I was already 17 years old last December, I
was now eligible to write one too. We decided to send one to Daddy and one
to Grandma Schrieke in Holland. From a number of pre-made sentences, you
could pick three and we were further allowed to add another 20 words of our
own choice. In the pre-made sentences we wrote to Daddy in Malaysian:”Our
health is excellent. We think about you all the time. It will be wonderful when
we will meet again. Would you say hello from us to: Boudewijn, Chris, Ot,
Piet, Rhijn and Ad Vink (Mrs. Vink’s husband)”. And the 20 words were:
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“Wouter 15 boelan, djalan, 9 kilo. Manis. Anak2 sakola. Saja koewat. Friso 66
Kilo. Kita diberkati. Banjak tjinta, Landa, anak2”. (Wouter 15 months and he
walks already. He weighs 9 kilo and he is sweet. Two children go to school. I
am strong. Friso is 66 kilo? Many many kisses. Landa and children).
On the card to Holland we wrote in English: “We are now in a Japanese
internment camp on Java. Our health is excellent. The Japanese treat us well.
So don’t worry about us. The 20 words: “Wouter prosperously born on 14-5-
1943. Friso, Boudewijn allright. Japina no news, children studying, clever
housekeeping. God bless you all. Landa, Amy”. As source my name had to be
placed on it and also my number. It would be fun if those cards would really
arrive. What a surprise it will be!
21-8-1944
Brrr! What a day! This morning early we heard that a Japanese had done a
house search in a few houses at the Houtman plein. During the search he had
noticed that the occupants were using gas and he had placed all those
women along the side of the road. After dinner Rob dropped by and told us
that it didn’t happen on the Houtman plein, but at the Houtman Street, just
were they were living. Thus Aunt Amy was among them. That shocked us to
the bone. Both Mom and Heleen left immediately to see them, because the
rumour went that those being busted would have to move to another camp.
Mom saw a Jap arriving who ordered all those busted women to gather in
front of a house. They were tied together with ropes like animals, and hit with
a bamboo stick on their cheeks and on their legs. I am glad that I didn’t see it.
Afterwards they were led outside of the compound and locked all together into
a very small room. We went to help Wieneke packing, just in case they had to
move. The whole rest of the day we have been waiting in agony whether or
not they would be allowed to return. Fortunately they were finally released at 8
PM. During the whole day they didn’t receive anything to eat or to drink, but
they received a hell of a reprimand.
Aunt Amy first came to our house, but Mom had just left for Wieneke. I quickly
give her a few jam sandwiches. Together with Roeli we accompanied her
home. We were happy that it ended this way and not worse.
22-8-1944
As a result of what happened yesterday the laundry wasn’t even finished half
and thus I had to work twice as hard today to catch up.
This morning Heleen received her call to report at the hospital. Unfortunately it
didn’t arrive together with the one for Paul. Tomorrow morning she will be
picked up by a velo car.
During roll-call this morning we heard the rumour: “France had been liberated
and De Gaulle has been welcomed in Paris by a jubilant crowd”. Would that
be really true? The second rumour was about: “A new prince, William
Frederick”. But I don’t believe that yet, although it would be nice.
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23-8-1944
Heleen has been picked up this morning. Mom left together with her and also
with… Wouter! He was allowed to sit in the back of the velo car and he had the
ride of his life. Both Roeli and I quickly went through the fire lane and picked
him up again at the hospital. He really enjoyed his ride. Heleen ended up in a
room with some other nice girls of her age. Luckily she doesn’t really worry
about the operation.
This morning Els Kleist returned from the pharmacy with the ordered
medicines together with….six little hamsters. They were destined for Dr.
Ouwerkerk, probably to be used for tests. They were so hungry. As soon as I
gave them some grass, they started nibbling with a passion. A very sweet
sight!
25-8-1944
During the night something very unusual happened. At 2 AM the gong went
off and the order came: “Lights on and make sure they shine outside and all
come out”. As in a sleep walk I went outside. It was a very unreal sight al that
light and all those people outside in the middle of the night. What happened?
There were some women fighting next to the gedek (camp’s fence) with rocks
and sticks. In this way the Japanese were trying to find out who had
participated in the fight.
Heleen has had surgery today and everything went well. From the nun at the
front desk Mom got a note from Heleen which she had still written before the
operation. It said that she had been stuffed with food last night, because for
the next two days she’s not allowed to eat anything. A room mate had added
a little more to the note after the surgery. That everything had gone well and
that Heleen had been very brave. And also that everybody in the room would
be quiet out of compassion for her. That was so nice of them.
Less good news is that Wouter is sick. He has vomited and he has tummy
ache. He can cry so sadly. Mom is going to try feeding him rice water for a few
days. If that doesn’t help, we’ll call Dr. van de Broek.
Today I had to tell my bible class the story about a trip from Paul, but
personally, I find those stories a little difficult for small children and I left half of
it out.
31-8-1944
Queens’s birthday! Formerly an important day, but here in the camp we hardly
noticed anything. How and where will our queen Wilhelmina have celebrated
her birthday? Many people had thought that she would have celebrated that
day in her own country again, but unfortunately that is not yet the case. The
rumours are encouraging, but I don’t believe everything I hear.
This afternoon a fat Jap was riding around to see whether or not we were
wearing any orange and if indeed we were wearing our numbers. There was a
girl walking down the street with a small vase of flowers in her hand. Among
them were also a few orange ones and therefore she received a reprimand.
Another lady was wearing an orange corsage on her dress and she got a slap
in her face. That is sad, isn’t it?
68
2-9-1944
Today’s Saturday. Wouter seems to do a little better, fortunately. This morning
he smiled again happily to aunt Mies. But yesterday my tummy started to act
up again. I have no appetite and when I eat something, I feel stuffed really fast
and stop eating. My tongue still looks very ugly and stings a bit. Therefore I
was unable to participate in the basketball game this afternoon, but I went
watching the game instead. It ended in a tie.
After the game, it was almost dark already, we saw a lot of people running off
towards the Toko. A little later we heard that bacon, smoked meat and eggs
had been stolen by Mrs. Van der Kam, the operator of the Toko. A lot of
women had become so enraged that they started a brawl and threw rocks and
bricks at her windows and her roof. Soon a Japanese showed up, who sent
the women home, but they kept coming back. Mrs. Van der Kam insisted that
both the bacon and the smoked meat were spoiled and therefore unfit to be
distributed. But a lot of women claimed to have seen and felt the merchandise
and they insist that it was still in good shape. It’s such a lousy thing that
woman did, in my opinion!
3-9-1944
Last night at 11 PM the gong went off suddenly. Roll-call! The women
assembled at the Toko had made too much of a racket and refused to leave.
We had to stand outside waiting for a long time, but I sneaked back inside
rather quickly because my tummy started aching. The street master asked us
to please quit the uproar, because the Japanese were outraged. After that we
sweetly went to bed.
This morning we got another note from Heleen. She wrote that she felt really
good and that she could drink everything and could eat almost everything
again now. We are often very hungry here. It’s only me who has lost my
appetite and I can hardly eat anything.
Also with our water supply we have had a lot of annoying problems lately. As
a temporary solution we have made a hole in our bathroom wall towards the
bathroom from the neighbours and stuck a rubber hose through. Their tap is
namely still running. Against the evening they connect the hose to their tap
and that quickly fills our basin. It works well. There are a lot of other people
having the same problem.
This afternoon al of a sudden we received Mangga (= Mango’s) from the
kitchen. They tasted delicious!
The rumours circulating now are quite optimistic: Radio Moscow said that the
entire territory of France was already free and that the allied army was now
underway through Belgium and had reached a point only about 8 Km away
from the Dutch border. Further also that Princess Juliana had left for England.
Many people don’t believe in this radio Moscow and wait first for what the
BBC says. That transmission is usual a little later. I admire the women, who
here in the camp, despite everything, still have the guts to listen to the radio.
69
4-9-1944
This morning we received word that Heleen will return home Wednesday. It’s
great that she has recovered completely. Her room mates have already left
earlier and now she has gotten new ones. In another room is a girlfriend from
her, Mia Blaas. Anneke Corts, who shared the room with Helen, turned out to
be a relative from uncle Bertram and aunt Hendrika Corts. That’s a new niece
thus.
Again we heard exciting news: The allied army had now passed through
Belgium. One part, now entered Limburg under the leadership of Prince
Bernhard, and another part, under Eisenhower, was on its way to Germany.
Amsterdam had been liberated by both patriots and paratroopers. The Queen
and the Prince were holding a speech. Do I ever hope that all of this is true.
What will they be jubilant in Holland!
Would Daddy hear those messages too? Mom thinks so. We miss him dearly.
Wouter walks and has teeth already.
5-9-1944
My tummy is still long from being ok yet. And, oh scare, today both Roeli and
Paul had diarrhoea too. Now all three of us are put on a diet by Dr. van de
Broek. Two weeks on children’s soup and buttermilk porridge, but absolutely
no bread. Further we had to drink three times a day a tea made of a really bad
tasting herb: Sariawan. Also she wrote us a prescription for a jar of honey and
that is excellent, because we’re almost out of sugar. She suspected me of
having yellow fever.
Here’s something nice for a change. This morning all of a sudden a lady
dropped in, telling us that Heleen will be brought home this afternoon in a velo
car. Mom was planning to pick her up and try to visit Aunt Wine Huitema at
the same time, who has been operated on an abdominal tumour and still has
to recover for a while.
Still new rumours arrive: The whole Prarindra (the Indonesian Nationals)
seem to have been arrested. Further all Japanese had to return to their home
land, only the occupation had to stay behind for a little while longer. Many
people were enthusiastic and optimistic this morning, because they had heard
that the Wilhelmus (= Dutch national anthem) had been broadcast from
Holland already and that the entire territory of Holland had been liberated.
I don’t believe much of it yet.
This afternoon there will be a meeting in every “Han” (quarter) of the camp, for
the improvement of the camp administration and measures against
unruliness, and for the election of new Toko operators. Every Han sends one
representative to the ladies office, where the big meeting about this all will be
held. I am curious as to what they are doing out there.
12-9-1944
Heleen returned home last week. She looked well and healthy enough, but
upon closer examination Dr. van de Broek noticed that her heart was still not
ok. Now she has to rest again regularly. She herself thinks that it is only
because of the aftermath of the surgery.
70
On September 7, last week Thursday, I got sick. In the evening I had a high
fever and I felt really miserable. The next day I felt still miserable, but I had
less fever. In the evening I felt a little better again. Until now I laid low and
kept obediently to my diet. This morning for the first time I was allowed to eat
some bread porridge again. I am regularly lieying outside again, because I am
Oh so weak.
But what is worse: Roeli got sick on Sunday too. Luckily Aunt Mies van
Noppen came over to help us out for three days. That was so great! Mom
picks up the food from the kitchen now. During the night from Sunday to
Monday we had the first rain storm from the rain season.
Aunt Amy lies now in bed too. She stumbled over something with Quirientje in
her arms and has some bad wounds on her legs, but luckily Quirientje has
nothing. But although in bed, she still managed to send us 6 bean croquettes.
So sweet!
Now a story about de Cocks of Mrs. Schut. Formerly, when she was still living
next to us, she promised us one cock, because I had taken care of her
animals for such a long time. Just before August 31st we received a note in
which she said she would come and pick up Zr. Stoel, because she planned
to celebrate the Queen’s birthday preparing a chicken meal for the people of
the rest home. The next day a tray was delivered sporting two thick chicken
legs. Although one was meant for the nun, she gave us both anyway. Very
nice, but Mrs Schut had broken her promise. I still wrote a polite “thank-you”
note and than… forget about it.
Yesterday Mrs. Koch, Mrs. Groenewegen’s mother, a neighbour lady, passed
away after a long sickbed. It is terrible that she had not been able to say
farewell to her husband.
Latest news: The Dutch government has already moved from England to
Holland. And Eisenhower is already in Aken (West Germany).
Wouter can laugh and crow so well. He is very careful with the items he
touches. Mom, while putting down a kettle with hot water lately, said to
Wouter: “Attention Wouter, hot”. When he saw another kettle, he went close to
it and said: “Wam, wam”. (Warm = hot, hot) We laughed our heads off and
than he had to laugh too.
14-9-1944
Today is Wouter’s 16th month day. He woke up this morning, stood up and
said so sweet again: “Papa, Papa!” Poor Daddy, he will surely miss him. For
us and especially for Mom, he is a small big comfort. He can already step so
proudly around. He starts to look already like a todler, not a baby anymore.
Luckily he is now healthy and strong. Today is also Aunt Quibs’ birthday. I
never got to know her. This morning we got an unexpected visit from Uncle
Giel Meesters, who had to be in the camp for business. He still lives in the
Bloemen camp. Bert must have grown tall by now. Nice to hear what they are
doing and thinking over there.
For what concernes the food, we had a good day again. At the Toko, for 50
cents per person, you could buy 7 little bags with sugar (of 120 grams each).
Further everyone got also one package of Hoenkwee.
71
Mom passed this afternoon the blackboard from the street master and read
that soon all boys and men between 11 and 80 years old will be called. Many
ladies immediately wanted to issue a protest, but on the roll-call it was said
that they shouldn’t do that yet, as the order had not yet been issued. It would
be very sad if that would happen. All those pitiful old men and those little
boys! If true, both Uncle Ies and Rob Krijger would have to go from Aunt Amy.
Terrible!
15-9-1944
Today we got 330 grams of sugar and some rice from the kitchen. Delicious! I
still have a cold and I cough a bit too, but I still went to both my English and
French lessons. For English we had a test and luckily I didn’t have one single
mistake. Ms. Wessel, during our French lessons, reads with us the “Barber of
Sevilla”, a very funny theatre play. Once in a while we read a few poems. This
afternoon I tended to my bible class again. Unfortunately there were only a
few children, most were sick.
17-9-1944
For the first time, yesterday morning, a few market booths were allowed to
open again, now not located on the Orange Square, but in the Tjibeuning
Park. From now on every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon they will be
open between 4 and 6 o’clock. At the ladies office one could reserve a spot.
They get 5% from the money earned which goes to the fund for the needy.
Yesterday, Mrs. Leefers has opened a booth there as well. We also had some
items to sell and we passed those on to her. She will get 10% of the proceeds.
We were lucky, because we sold a marbles game for 5 guilders, a package of
Goalpara tea for 6 guilders, a box with fudge forms for a guilder fifty and some
more small stuff. Good, because we could use some extra money this month.
This month we probably have to deposit some money for the Toko again.
Both Paul and Friso will quit their school next month because it’s too
expensive. Paul is now sick and he has the same symptoms as both Roeli
and I had earlier: fever, pain in the throat, and a cold. Both of us are
fortunately ok now again, and tomorrow I will start doing the laundry again.
The last couple of days Bep van Wijk has done it for us and that was great,
because Mom had almost no time for it and I was still too weak.
Heleen now has what we all had when she was in the hospital: a red, infected
tongue, very nasty. Dr van de Broek has issued a prescription for milk, for
both Paul (because he is so thin) and for Heleen (to help her recover). For
one month we will get a half litre milk. It is best to make yogurt from it. Mom
already has been able to get some yogurt plants.
Yesterday she saw again a message on the blackboard in the Barend Street
that soon men and boys would be called. A group of women immediately
started an uproar at the ladies office, but it was soon ended. This afternoon
we heard it had been postponed until next month.
The former news turned out all to be false; it was broadcast by a Japanese
station. The latest news is that Maastricht was liberated and that many
72
paratroopers have landed in Holland, who are now moving to Germany. Poor
Holland what will there be a lot of destruction and murder going on.
Our vegetable garden is doing very well. Today we all got a bite of bajem,
including Wouter in his nassi-tim. He eats so well and looks good too. And the
walking he does! Dribble is a better word for it. He also starts saying some
funny words. If in the morning the roll-call gong goes off, often you can hear
shouting: “Appeeel!” The smarty knows that very well and while he shouts
something similar he insists he then gets outside with us. Apart from papa,
mamma and tata, he says now “Pijke” too, after the spike (Spijker = spike) of
the wall decoration at which he always niggles while he lies on the baby table.
When dressing and undressing he is almost too difficult to hold on to, such a
wiggler!
A few days ago Mom could smuggle a secret note to Daddy. We were able to
hand it to Mrs. De Boesterd, who had to go to Tjimahi for an X ray
examination. Over there she was examined by her own husband. That sounds
fun to me! She had been able to deliver everything, including the 10 guilder
bill, Mom had folded into the note. It had been quite a task under the noses of
4 Japanese who were constantly present in the room. But every time the light
was turned off, then….
From someone else who had to go to Tjimahi, we got word that Daddy sent us
his greetings and that he was ok. And that’s great.
20-9-1944
Tonight three CJC clubs came together to hear the declamation performed by
Mrs. Homan. I heard a few poems that I already heard before, among others:
“Landjuweel”, “Kindersproke”, “De Primus”, “Het Berkensprookje”, Het ruisen
van het ranke riet” and again for the third time, “De Werkloze”. I loved it. She
just does such a great job. I really start to love poems.
Now I stop because we only have half light and that is terrible.
22-9-1944
Wednesday I have been able to sell a lot of stamps on the pasar (= Market).
Neatly pasted to cards and prized by myself. They were doubles anyway.
This afternoon a “cow” arrived in the kitchen, which means big portions of
meat. Lately we are getting some more meat again, I love it.
Now Friso has a tummy ache, fortunately not so bad, but he has to diet
anyway.
This afternoon something horrible happened. Mrs. Rientsma, one of our
acquaintances, who lives a little further down the street, was called to the
men’s office. Since she is blanda-indo, (half-blood), she expected to get
permission to leave the camp. Happily she went over there accompanied by
her two daughters. Once there, she got the terrible message that her husband
had passed away, already a month ago. Poor woman!
We are happy that Daddy is ok.
This afternoon I tended my little bible-class again and I told the children about
Adam and Eve. Unfortunately a lot of children were sick.
73
24-9-1944
Last night we have had quite a rain storm. All the plants look fresh and healthy
again, but the path along the house is very muddy now. Therefore both Friso
and Paul have gone out after dinner with a basket to pick rocks. Now the
weather is beautiful again.
This morning at 9 o’clock suddenly the siren went off, a little while later the
tong-tong (= hollowed-out log, used as an alarm bell) sounded too and about
15 minutes later the gong. Air raid alarm! We just ignored it. Although we
noticed a few planes in the air, we didn’t see anything in particular. At about
12:30 the all-clear sign sounded.
29-9-1944
Hurrah! The Y.S. Bank pays out, although all Japanese currency, and virtually
worthless, but now we have good use for it. From Mrs. De Weeger I got 10
guilders for the trouble of picking up her food at the kitchen. I was allowed to
buy something for myself on the market, she said. That was sweet of her. I
think about buying that nice little painting from a guilder seventy five and also
the dress made from sarong cloth. Perhaps I’ll find also for Mrs. De Weeger
something nice and something for Mom. I am looking forwards to tomorrow.
This morning Aunt Wine could drop by. That was especially very nice for
Mom. She told us a lot about camp Karees and the work over there.
I just heard the evening curfew sound at the military base and thus now I am
going to bed too.
30-9-1944
I’ve got the painting! It is made so nicely on a piece of klapperdop (=part of
the skin of the coconut / klapa). For Mrs. De Weeger I found a lovely little
vase, which could double as a drinking glass. Before I gave it to her, I’ve put
some flowers into it. I think she was happy with it. Mrs. Leefers got some more
stamps handed to her to sell, but no luck this time.
This afternoon we could buy goela-djawa from the kitchen, 1 Kg per person
for 65 cents. I went and bought for 11 people, quite a load. Luckily Friso
helped me carrying, because besides the goela-djawa, I got also bread, asem
(= tamarind) and mango’s with me. It took quite a long time before it was our
turn, but we are very happy with all this food.
This morning there was a demonstration by women who protested against
sending their sons off. All were dressed in white, the Japanese colour of
mourning. Mom joined them as well. A woman, who spoke very well
Japanese, talked to Moeroewi and he responded rather benevolent. He told
them he couldn’t change the situation, because the order came from a
superior. But he promised to do his best.
About the older gentlemen it is not yet known whether or not they will be
allowed to stay. I find it so sad that all those elderly people are going to be
teared away from the only things they have left. This includes uncle Les and
so many others.
74
Now there are rumours that they are fighting in Holland near Arnhem. I don’t
understand how those Germans still manage to resist that long. It is terrible
that this has to happen in Holland. Those poor people over there!
This afternoon I borrowed a booklet from Dieneke with poems from De
Genestet. There are beautiful poems among them, for instance “A child in
May”, so referring to Woutertje, that we copied it into his baby book right
away. De Genestet wrote that poem about his only little son, Peter Adriaan,
who died a while later. The second part is therefore very sad. I copy a lot of
those poems into a little book, to safeguard for later.
1-10-1944
Today I went for the first time to a little dance club, at Hettie Bergman’s in the
room. For starters I had to learn the three steps, on basis of the waltz. But
what many mistakes I made and how often I stepped on somebody toes. But
it’s an all girls thing and I like that.
6-10-1944
Hurrah, the departure of both the young boys and the old men has been
postponed. I wonder if the protest demonstration had anything to do with it. Or
is it a postponement only?
7-10-1944
Today a lot of postcards arrived from the citizen camps. Many people
received one, but we didn’t receive one yet. We heard though that there are
still a lot of cards lieying around in the office. Aunt Amy received one from
Chris and one from Uncle Bou. On Chris’s card one could read between the
lines that he manages to see his father once in a while. It’s nice for Aunt Amy
that she knows that now. Further they wrote that they were both healthy and
“gemoek” (= fat). Mrs. Woortman also received a card from Louk, in which he
said hello to us too. Mrs. Vink also received one from her husband.
We made a great victory upon ourselves, namely we have started to eat
snails. You know, those big, repulsive, slimy (agaat) snails. At first we were
disgusted by them, but we still tried them. From Mrs. Van Waning, (she knew
Daddy while he was still a student), I learned how to clean, boil and finally
mince them in the meat grinder. It was actually less bad then I thought. From
all the ways of preparing I tried, we liked the croquettes and the “sambal
kering” the most.
Many other people have started trying to eat them as well, which has resulted
in a near snail extermination. This afternoon Friso has still been able to find
some and we will eat them tomorrow on Paul’s birthday, accompanied by
some yellow rice. He preferred to have sateh (= grilled pieces of meat, put on
a small wooden stick) made from them. Also he wanted to go out for a picnic
and eat from pisang (=banana) leaves. Because going outside the camp will
be a bit difficult under the circumstances, we choose to free up some room in
the dining room so that we can sit on the floor with tikars. To bad that I’ve got
tummy ache again.
75
There is quite some dying going on in our camp. Many older, but also younger
people die. Lately a mother of nine children died (Mrs. Liesker) from which
there are six interned here in the camp. Among the current delivery of
postcards, there were a few from her husband and from her 3 sons. Terrible,
they don’t know it yet.
I wish that we also would receive a card from Daddy.
19-10-1944
Today uncle Ies had to leave the camp, together with another 13 still strong
and healthy older men. What will Aunt Amy will miss him! And what will he
miss the children and especially Quirientje! Will we ever see him back again?
At first we still hoped he would be sent to the “old and sick people’s camp”,
which had been considered for a while. In that case Aunt Amy and the kids
would have been allowed to stay with him there, but unfortunately that didn’t
happen.
Both Mrs. De Weeger and Mrs. Vink are also earmarked for that camp. If that
would happen and the front room would vacate than perhaps Aunty could
move in with us. That would be awesome. But perhaps everything will happen
differently, so let’s not worry about it. Everyone who has to move into a camp
for the sick is allowed to take a healthy person as a care taker with him. In that
way Aunt Amy would have been able to join uncle Ies.
Both Roeli and I get already for some time “service bread porridge” from the
kitchen. Roeli gets it because she works for Mrs. Vink and I get it because I
am exempted and work at home. It is usually a fairly big portion, but of course
we share it with all of us. Friso also gets porridge from the babat-service (=
lawn mow service), but he usually eats it right there.
There is a lot of bacillary dysentery in the camp now. Both Solly Rientsma and
her mother are now in the hospital too. Woutertje has now also something
going on in his tummy. Poor little man! I have to wash a whole pile of dirty
diapers, but fortunately the going is rather easy.
A few days ago some more people were busted for the illegal use of gas.
Everyone received 20 floggings and after that they had to stand in a row
outside the gate. Because they were standing close to the bilik, some
sandwiches and peppermint could be thrown to them, because those poor
people didn’t eat anything yet. Anneke van Zeyle de Jong was among them
too. For her I was able to deliver a message at home. Later she came over to
thank me for it, which was very sweet of her.
Today a lot of Red-Cross postcards arrived in the ladies office, they were sent
in 1942 already. But none among them was for us, nor for Aunt Amy.
22-10-1944
It is Sunday, the last day of my 17th year. It was a good day and a good year,
despite all the worries and problems. God has taken care of us, time and
again. The sermon this morning was about “the storm at sea”. It was about the
storms at the seas of our lives, which can be both hard and rough at times.
But I know One who wants to steer our little boat safely through the worst of
storms!
76
It was a nice and quiet day. Woutertje, fortunately, seems to be alright again.
He runs around like crazy and starts to call us by our names: Anke, Joei, Jien,
Ies and Pau. That sounds sooo funny! This afternoon, when both Heleen and I
walked with him down the street, he all of a sudden noticed the half circle of
the moon. Immediately he stopped and shouted: “Maam, Maam!” Further he
has a great interest in rocks, sticks, grass and… raspberries! This morning he
picked all the red ones from our bush, the bandit. While going up and down
curbs and steps, he is very carefull. He is such a sweet little guy.
Our light is out already for a few evenings and that is very annoying. Now we
arrange ourselves with some oil lamps and that works for now.
23-10-1944
Now I am 18 years old! What will happen to me next?
When I came home from French lessons this afternoon, a room full of people
was waiting for me. We were still able to offer them something, because our
crumbs cake turned out well and tasted good. There came a pile of presents,
unbelievable! And that here in the camp! That was very nice of everyone.
Daddy will surely be thinking of us too now. Will he be with us the next time?
We all hope it with all our hearts.
24-10-1944
This morning an “anti hunger demonstration” had been organized on the
Orchid Square, but unfortunately it was a disaster. Part of the reason was that
a lot of women didn’t know about it. Mom went there as well. Around 10 AM a
lot of women started to gather there. But than Moeroewi himself showed up on
his little motorbike and said harshly: “Tida boleh. Pigi, pigi!” (That is not
allowed – go away!) But Mrs. Van Gulik, who would do the talking,
courageously didn’t budge and demanded a meeting. A little while later she
was allowed outside the gate, accompanied by a few other ladies. Later it
turned out that as a punishment she had been shaved half bold, and had been
locked up, together with the others. When she left the compound, all the other
women actually kept waiting on the Square for their return. A while later a few
Japanese came charging through the gate and started beating the waiting
women left, right and centre. At first they fled away down the road, but then
turned around and came back screaming and scolding. One Jap already
pulled his gun. But at that moment one of the heads of the ladies office
climbed on a chair and asked for silence. She said: “Let’s all go home now
quietly. Our goal has been reached anyway, because Mrs van Gulik is outside
the gate now and Moeroewi knows what this is all about. If not, we may face
dire consequences”. The Japs had already left by that time. The women did
return home, but felt unsatisfied. Everywhere you go, you hear people talking
about it. Would it really have had an impact?
25-10-1944
Wednesday. This morning, all of a sudden, a nun from the convent came to
pick up Friso Bosman to have his tonsils removed, but he wasn’t home. He
77
was on babat duty next to the convent. Then Mom decided to send Paul with
the nun, because he was on the waiting list too. Pale he went away with the
nun, on the back of the bike. Mom immediately packed a small suitcase for
him and brought that to the hospital office. And what did she see once she got
there? A very familiar rantan holder (food tin) and the babat (lawn-cutting
instrument) from Friso. Than she understood what could have happened.
Friso had surgery as well. That turned out to be true. The third child that
should have had surgery that day, had a fever and couldn’t show up. So Friso
could fill the open spot. A nun had picked him up from the babat field and took
him right into the operation room. Those poor guys! Luckily they didn’t have
much time to be afraid. The surgery on both boys went well. Paul had been
anesthetised completely, but Friso only had a local anesthesy. How will they
be doing right now? Will they be able to sleep tonight? It’s fortunate that they
are together now.
Mrs. Van Gulik has not returned yet.
26-10-1944
There you’ve got it! 3700 People, who, before the camp was here, lived in
Bandoeng, have to move. That is about 100 people per Han. Whereto?
When? Why? People say: as a punishment. Already many people from Han 1
till and including half of Han 14 have received their notice (Among others, also
Dieneke Merkelbach and the Woortman family). We suspect that we will be in
the next group, because Ms. Van Dam said that there are more than 100
people in her Han who qualify for it, and we are among those. Further she
doesn’t know anything either. The lists of names are already prepared, but are
not allowed to be released yet. Brrr! I would find that so bad.
Aunt Amy wasn’t in Bandoeng at that time and thus she is not part of it. Every
adult (starting at 17 years) is allowed two suitcases and a backpack and each
child one suitcase and a backpack. Then on top of that one is allowed 2
blankets per person and per two families, one bucket. Surely not too much! All
people that are called have, as an exercise, to show up Tuesday with all their
barang at the Orange Square, and there they will be inspected. Just to make
sure it is not too much, to heavy or unnecessary. I am so curious what will
happen next. Baby strollers are allowed fortunately, but only with a child in it.
Just in case we have already started sorting things out and packing. We still
have an aweful lot of stuff.
27-10-1944
Friday. At about 2 o’clock both Friso and Paul came home, still pale and
quiet. Only Friso told, with a small little mouth (because he was not able to
open it wide yet), of all things that happened in the hospital. Luckily the doctor
has given them a prescription for milk, a ¼ litre each for 5 days. They really
need it. What are we happy that we can leave this behind us. More details
about the move we don’t have yet. Only that we are allowed to take each 10
Guilders cash with us, the rest we are “allowed” to deposit on the Y.S. Bank.
78
28-10-1944
This morning Mrs. Van Dam dropped in and asked to talk to Mom in private.
When she left we heard that all boys from 1933 were not allowed to come with
us, but were going to be put into a separate boy’s camp. Friso is among them
too. Thus as soon as we’ll have to move, we have got to leave Friso behind.
Poor Mom, poor Friso! He is not even 11 years old. I find it a scandal that they
take those young boys away. They are still children! The move wouldn’t be as
bad, if we could just take Friso with us. The move from the first group has
been postponed again.
30-10-1944
Monday. We, ourselves, are also still busy with sorting and packing. Friso, of
course, will get his own suitcase. Aunt Mies helps nicely sowing pairs of pants
for him. He, himself, is busy painting his name on his little bucket, plate, mug,
gajoeng (small container used as a shower) and his wooden shoes.
We have cancelled our lessons until further notice.
Thursday al people have to report with their luggage on the Orange Square.
That is going to be something!
31-10-1944
Among those of the first group were so many sick people, that they had to add
people from the next Han. Among those is also Ms. Wessels, which is a real
pity. But who knows, perhaps we will see each other again in the next camp.
She had so hoped and expected to be able to stay out of it, but unfortunately it
didn’t happen.
1-11-1944
This afternoon Roeli, Heleen and I were allowed to listen to “Tolen en van der
Lier” at Mieke Meurs’ place. Later, both Friso and Paul could take a peek
inside too. It was lovely.
Of course there was a song about the “Spekrel” (= a row about bacon) and
about “Jatten” (= slang for stealing).
The CJC meeting was cancelled this afternoon. After the roll-call I dropped
quickly in at Ms. Wessels to bring her some soap and some other stuff. She
was very happy with it. We both hope very much that we will meet each other
again.
2-11-1944
Today all people who were called were ordered to gather at the Orange
Square. Both Moeroewi and Sesuka were barking orders that were quite
controversial at times. At the end of it all people had to return home again, but
first they had to put all their luggage, suit cases, back packs, tubs, buckets
and blankets, outside of the front gate. Those items would be sent in advance.
Unfortunately, nothing was allowed to be put into the tubs. In the buckets only
a few pots were allowed to be stored.
Only the head of a family was allowed to carry a backpack. That is very
unfortunate, because each of us has got one.
79
The departure of the first 650 people has been planned for Sunday and the
second group will be leaving on Monday. Also both Mrs. Woortman and
Hannie have to leave with the second group, but Wim has to stay behind.
5-11-1944
Sunday. This morning Mrs. Hakkenberg still has read a sermon here. Will this
be the last one? Afterwards we went to the Orange Square. Ms. Wessels was
very nervous, but Dieneke Merkelbach took everything with stride. Everybody
was heavily packed with raincoats, backpacks, bags, baskets and so on. One
lady even carried her white kakatoe (= parrot) on her shoulder. A small little
baby was carried in a slendang (= sling). Many women were crying. After
quite a while the whole procession finally started moving out through the main
gate. Over and over again, you could hear Moeroewi barking and shouting,
every time he found another piece of illegal luggage. On both sides of the
road a chain of women prevented onlookers from mingling with the moving
group. Outside the gate they still had to stand waiting for a very long time
alongside the road in the blazing sun. Through all kinds of holes in the gedek
(= fencing), we could see them and slip them some water to drink. It was
already such a sad sight. What is it cruel to take those people away from the
little comfort they still had and then to drag them away like that. Those
Japanese jerks!
6-11-1944
Today the second group left, including the Woortmans. But this time everyone
had to leave everything they were carrying at the side of the road. Later, all
those backpacks, raincoats, food bags and blankets, were going to be picked
up by trucks. Moeroewi, who oversaw everything, looked like a fat little
dictator. What would I enjoy to puch this jerk’s lights out! He forbode people to
take rantangs (= set of pots in a holder to carry food) with them. Those had to
stay behind. There are rumours that those people have been taken to
Mangarai or Tjitjoereng and been interned in the Bata shoe factory. That is all
located in the vicinity of Batavia.
There are also rumours that the boys will be picked up first, then the sick
transport will leave and after that the rest of the people. Nobody really knows
the bottom of it.
8-11-1944
We are all nervous, because this afternoon Han 20 suddenly had to hand in
12 tubs. We had two of them, so we were able to hand only one of them in.
When I was picking up the bread this afternoon, the gong went. We all ran
quickly to the street master and read that shortly this whole camp had to be
eliminated. So now we know for sure.
9-11-1944
Thursday. Just now all the names have been announced at Ms. Van Dam’s.
We are among them too and so are Mrs. Groenewegen, Leefers, van Nie and
Bouhuizen. But those people in houses with numbers higher than 86 aren’t
80
going yet. On Sunday November 12, we’ll be leaving. Per person we are
allowed to take one suitcase weighing 20 Kg and per family only one
backpack and that’s very little (of course we are allowed to bring mattresses,
klamboes (= mosquito screen over a bed) and blankets. We have to leave all
kind of stuff behind here, because we still got so many things. That is all not
that bad, were it not that the list showed only 6 people by our name, which
means that Friso is not allowed to come with us. That makes Mom so very
sad and me and the rest of us too! One comfort is that, for the time being, he
is allowed to stay with Aunt Amy. There are still a lot of things to do, but both
Aunt Amy and Aunt Mies are helping us tremendously.
On the days following today, I was not able to write, but I remember
everything so well that I can still describe every day’s events.
10-11-1944
Fortunately we have gotten a one day extension from our moving date.
Tomorrow afternoon all suitcases, blankets and backpacks have to be brought
outside the main gate. On Sunday we’ve got to do a rehearsal for the
composition of our travel group. The departure has been put on Monday
morning 8 o’clock. That is thus very early. Friso can first stay with Aunt Amy
and when she has to leave too, he can stay with Mrs. Brunt, who stays with
Ms. Van Dam. Rob has to stay behind too, a small consolation for Friso.
Per family we are allowed to bring one backpack weighing 10 Kg and I am
allowed a small bag. It is now such a mess in the rooms. The cat we leave
behind with Mrs de Weeger. Both Akka and Maantje would first go to Robbie
van der Poel, but there was a cat stalking them all the time. Now, Aunt Amy
will take care of them, for as long as possible. It is a pity that we are not
allowed to take any books at all with us. I have packed them all in one of the
tea crates. Whatever we can’t take with us, from clothes to goods, we can
bring to number 24. I already sorted all the pictures out we want to take with
us, but there are still so many left. Bah, what a mess is this all.
11-11-1944
The Japs have concocted something funny again. Some higher ups visited
again and therefore they left us standing in the sun for an hour. Roelie didn’t
feel well and crawled into bed. Heleen couldn’t stand the blazing sun and
went inside. Woutertje was very hot too and thus I stepped into the shade with
him. But in one word: terrible. This afternoon both Heleen and Friso didn’t feel
well either. But thanks to the most appreciated help from Aunt Amy the
suitcases got packed and got outside the gate.
12-11-1944
Sunday, but what a Sunday! Roelie is seriously sick: Bacillary Dysentery. Both
Heleen and Friso feel already a bit better. At 2 PM we had the exercise at the
gate, which went rather smoothly. Tomorrow we have to bring food for 5
meals. We are allowed to share another half a backpack with one of the girls
from Pieterse. The women who had to weigh the suitcases outside the gate,
lifted them a bit up by prying their toes under them, so that they appeared to.
 
 

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