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.
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.