Reach for the Stars!
Through this website, you will get to know me better. Even though I very much live in the present and am focused on the future, I often dwell on the past. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, with 100 million participating troops and over 70 million casualties. I am a survivor of the War in the Pacific and my early years were spent in brutal captivity. In my World War II Memoir I am telling my story.
On August 15, 2013 the world commemorated the 68th anniversary of the Japanese surrender and the end of the Pacific War. Veterans of that conflict will have memories of their own. Most of you who were born after that war will have heard about the war in Europe, the Holocaust, the atomic bombs and even the military battles in Asia. But what do you know about the fate of the hundreds of thousands of civilians ― men, women and children ― who were living in Southeast Asia when the war broke out?
Starting in 1937 the Japanese army invaded one country after another, then island after island, raping, incarcerating and eliminating the (white) population in their quest to get the monopoly in Asia. Little has been written about the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies and the terrible conditions in the POW camps they established there. My first book, In the Shadow of the Sun, based on the detailed journal my mother kept during our years under Japanese oppression, published in 1992, was one of the first English-language accounts in North America about Japanese death camps for women and children in Southeast Asia. I wrote it because I want people to know what happened to the innocent civilian POWs during the war.
I also want to share with you part of the Japanese War Crimes Files, the NARA Files, which became declassified in the year 2000 so you will understand what would have happened if the atomic bombs had not been dropped. In my 2011 World War II Memoir Rising from the Shadow of the Sun you will read all that as well as what happened after the war when I grew up and became who I am today.
My hope is that my story will also inspire younger generations to set goals for their lives, because no matter where they come from, be it a dysfunctional family, severe poverty or even a war, they can make their dreams come true by hard work and perseverance.
Ronny Herman de Jong