Memories of the Japanese Internment Camps on Sumatra, in the Former Dutch East Indies 1942 – 45

Today, a guest from British Columbia, Canada, Ilse Erwig, is sharing her story. Three years older than I, she lived on the Island of Sumatra, and was incarcerated in even more camps than I. She wrote her story for her children at their urgent request, but decided to share it now on my Blog. Too long to print it all below – it is almost a book – I am providing the link for you to click on.

Japanese Internment Camps 1942 – 45

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70 Years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki: August 15, 1945 – 2015

An Eye-witness Account of Life and Death in Japanese Concentration Camps for Women and Children: Ronny Herman de Jong, Survivor of  the Pacific Holocaust Tells her Story 

Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, A Story of Love, Survival and Joy
 tells the story of Ronny Herman, a little girl who survives almost four years in Japanese concentration camps on the Island of Java. In February 1942 the Japanese invade the island from the north. Ronny’s father, a Pilot with the Dutch Naval Air Force, gets the order to burn down the Naval Base and take his squadron to the south of the island. They escape only hours before Japanese submarines encircle it.

The Japanese confiscate possessions, separate families and force Ronny with her mother and little sister into a prison camp for women and children. In her diary, smuggled through the camps at the risk of being killed had it been detected, Ronny’s mother gives an accurate account of the Japanese invasion and the lives of women and children incarcerated under the barbaric regime of the Japanese. She describes the years of physical and psychological suffering, the lack of food and medications, but also the hope, faith, solidarity and resilience that remain alive among the imprisoned women, who are desperately trying to survive and protect the lives of their children.

In Part Two, Ronny Herman de Jong’s autobiographical account, we see a woman who savors every day of her freedom in contrast to her early years in brutal captivity.

The final chapters of the book include part of the NARA Files, the in 2000 declassified Japanese War Crimes Files Exhibit “O”: the Order to the Japanese Army to kill all prisoners on every island of the archipelago without verifiable evidence, commencing in September 1945. The bombs dropped in August were timely. Many lives were lost, even more were saved.

In an interview on December 27, 2014 CTTV (China TV in America) adds Ronny Herman de Jong’s experiences in Rising from the Shadow of the Sun to the experiences of Louis Zamperini in Unbroken for a total picture of the brutal treatment of innocent civilians by the Japanese during the Pacific Holocaust, 1941 – 1945.

Comments are welcome!