Dieuwke Wendelaar Bonga

Dieuwke Wendelaar Bonga, who immigrated to Canada in 1952, is a member of the August 15, 1945 Foundation, an organization of survivors of the Japanese prisoner of war camps. Now retired from public service in Ontario, she has written this candid personal account of her experience in the internment camps of Japanese–occupied Java.

Listed in: Asian Studies · Southeast Asian Studies · Biography · Gender Studies · History · International History · Asian History · Women’s Studies · Literary Studies

Eight Prison Camps · A Dutch Family in Japanese Java
By Dieuwke Wendelaar Bonga

Eldest daughter of eight children, the author grew up in Surakarta, Java, in what is now Indonesia. In the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, however, Dutch nationals were rounded up by Japanese soldiers and put in internment camps. Her father and brother were sent to separate men’s camps, leaving the author, her mother, and the five younger children in the women’s camp.

“Bonga’s writing style is simple and direct and her living tesitmony is uncomplicated by academic jargon, which vastly increases its power. Although brief, her account succeeds marvelously in communicating the emotional and physical trauma that she as a teenage woman and her family went through. … This is not just a good book about Indonesia or Southeast Asia or World War II, it is just a good book.”

Paul A. Rodell, Georgia Southern University, Journal of Third World Studies