Reunie in Japan

Nederlander drukte de hand van vroegere kampbewakers

Onder bovenstaande titel publiceerde de Heerenveensche Koerier in 1955, nauwelijks tien jaar na de afloop van de Tweede Wereldoorlog, onderstaand bericht. Een getuigenis van kracht en verzoening.

Een vroegere piloot van het Nederlandse leger, die 80 van zijn medegevangenen heeft zien sterven in een Japans kamp in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, heeft een hartelijke reünie gehad met zijn vroegere bewakers. Tien jaar na zijn vrijlating uit een kamp in de Japanse bergen is Tjaarda de Cock Buning verleden week naar Japan teruggekeerd om een Japanse tolk te bedanken die de gevangenen tot grote steun is geweest.

Japanse registratiekaart Tjaarda de Cock Buning (1910-2004)

Japanse registratiekaart Tjaarda de Cock Buning (1910-2004)

 

De Cock Buning vertelde de United Press hoe hij en bijna 400 andere Nederlandse militairen naar Japan waren overgebracht om in een zinkmijn te werken nadat zij in december 1942 op Java gevangen waren genomen. “Maar Tosjijasoe Ikeda heeft ons geholpen. Hij bezorgde ons voedsel en nieuws, hetgeen strikt verboden was”, vertelde de blonde, 45-jarige advocaat. “Ik werkte als een tolk voor de grote Mitsoei-mijnmaatschappij en fungeerde als tussenpersoon tussen de mijn, de gevangenen en het Japanse leger. Vele mijnwerkers waren ook behulpzaam en begonnen ons voedsel te geven, nadat we begonnen waren in de mijn te werken”, zei Buning. “Ik ben teruggekomen om die mensen te bedanken die steeds getracht hebben het leven gemakkelijker voor ons te maken.” Buning zei dat zij naar zijn mening zelfs binnen hun beperkte gezichtskring van toen, enig begrip hadden voor wat het gevangenisleven betekende.  

Twee dagen geleden heeft Buning met Ikeda, vijf van de mijnwerkers en twee vroegere Japanse soldaten gegeten en gedronken en herinneringen opgehaald. De reünie vond plaats in het mijndorpje Gifoe, ongeveer 300 kilometer ten zuiden van Tokio in een bergdal. “De oude mijnopzichter moest toegeven dat ik gelijk had toen ik hem vertelde dat Japan de oorlog zou verliezen”, kon Buning niet nalaten op te merken. “Hij en Ikeda hebben ook de lange rit omhoog naar de mijn en het vroegere kamp gemaakt en het crematorium bezocht waar 80 van de gevangenen gecremeerd zijn onder de vreselijkste omstandigheden nadat zij van de kou gestorven waren.”

Japanse verslaggevers, fotografen en cineasten hebben elke stap die Buning deed gevolgd en hem een krans bij de deur van het crematorium zien plaatsen. “Het crematorium bracht de vreselijkste herinneringen terug…. de oven was te klein voor onze doden. Hij was gebouwd voor de kleinere Japanners.. we moesten eerst het onderlichaam verbranden. Het was de vreselijkste ondervinding van de oorlog.”

Maar de man die zijn huis in Djakarta had verloren en ook zijn zaak, en pas na de oorlog te horen kreeg dat zijn eerste dochter geboren was in een Japans kamp op Java, voegde hier aan toe: “Ondanks dit alles moet ik de Japanners dank brengen die ons in gevangenschap geholpen hebben.”

x

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38 reacties op Reunie in Japan

  1. j.w.hoegen. zegt:

    degenen die in kamioka in de mijnen moesten werken hadden helaas heel andere verhalen over hun periode aldaar .
    daar gedroeg de jap zich zoals zij zich ook en de vrouwenkampen lieten kennen.

    • Dat klopt. De Japanse regering nodigd ex POW uit. Waarom. De Mitsui’s (Baron Mitsui!) en andere bedrijven willen nod steeds niets betalen. In de Blog staat het verhaal over Baron Mitsui, afgestudeerd in Dartmouth, 1917 en zijn bevrijdings dinners voor officieren POW’s. . Lees meer verhalen in deze Blog.:
      Je zou bijna denken dat heer Bunning vertroeteld in een “Club Med” heeft gezeten, maar ja wie weet was het echt niet zo slecht…..:

      http://americanpowsofjapan.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html

      Gedeelte van de bovenstaande blog:

      Thursday, October 20, 2011
      POW Trip to Japan
      Stars and Stripes reporter Charlie Reed writes on October 20, 2011

      Note that prisoners of war are not “interned” or “internees.” They are military prisoners of war who are imprisoned. Civilians are internees.

      Former American POWs return to Japan to visit site of internment

      YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Time doesn’t heal all wounds.

      If it did, 88-year-old Harry Corre wouldn’t be in Japan right now.

      Corre and six other men held as prisoners of war by Japan during World War II arrived in Tokyo Sunday for a weeklong “reconciliation tour” sponsored by the Japanese government.

      Some 27,000 U.S. troops were captured by Japan during the war and forced into slave labor. The POWs suffered in hellacious conditions at the hands of their Japanese captors; torture, starvation, disease, exposure and the constant deaths of their brothers in arms.

      Japan organized the trip to help the men gain a sense of closure to the horrific ordeal. For while they recovered from their injuries and renourished their bodies, many say the pain from their psychological wounds has not dulled with time.

      “It doesn’t go away,” said Corre, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles. “And it never will.”

      Many of the Americans captured by Japan — including Corre and the others in his group — were sent to work directly for Japanese companies fueling the war effort at more than 100 camps throughout Japan. Several of the some 60 companies are still in business today, though only one [Japan Metals & Minerals Co. Ltd.] agreed to participate in the tour. 

      Those not sent to the companies worked directly for the Japanese military in the Philippines, China and elsewhere in the Pacific.

      Tens of thousands of other Allied troops and Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos were also captured by Japan during WWII and the preceding Sino-Japanese War and worked alongside the Americans at the corporate and military work camps.

      Corre attributes his own survival at a work camp in Omuta [coal mining for Mitsui Mining, now Nippon Coke & Engineering]  in southwestern Japan to the demise of his fellow soldiers, some of whom would trade their meager daily mush rations for his cigarettes.

      “I’m sure there’s a lot of guys I starved to death,” he said during a lecture Monday night at Temple University in Tokyo.

      “I’m not proud of it, but I survived,” Corre said. “When you are a POW, the only thing you think about is how to live, not the next guy.”

      The guilt and horror still consume his thoughts, even his dreams.

      “The best thing you can do is talk about your experience,” Corre said, echoing advice he said he doles out to other veterans at the VA hospital in Los Angeles. “But there’s no way you forget it.”

      Following their release after Japan’s surrender in August 1945, the POWs said they tried to forget. Most failed.

      “The government said go home, forget about the war and don’t tell anyone about the atrocities,” Harold Bergbower, 91, said Monday at the Temple lecture. “It was terrible.”

      Bergbower, who now lives in Peoria, Ariz., returned to Japan with his family in the mid-1950s while still in the Air Force to help train the Japanese military. The Japan Self-Defense Forces were established under the auspices of the U.S. during its occupation of Japan following WWII.

      Bergbower spent three years in Japan following the war, but until Tuesday had never gone back to the site of the chemical plant where he worked after being shipped to Japan from the Philippines after his capture.

      He was joined by 88-year-old James Collier, also held captive at the chemical plant.

      “We wanted to participate in the program in hopes that their visit to our company will help to mitigate the pains that they had to go through and the feelings they have harbored for many years,” said company spokesman Takao Hamada. “I understand that it was a hard decision for them to make to come back here.”

      But hard doesn’t come close to the emotions that played into Collier’s decision to return to Japan.

      “I was torn,” said Collier, a retired teacher and guidance counselor from Salinas, Calif., who spoke to Stars and Stripes via telephone after touring the Takaoka factory [Japan Metals & Chemicals, JMC] Tuesday. “The company officials were so gracious and well-prepared.”

      But all the pleasantries essentially distracted him, he said, and the site had totally changed after decades of development.

      “I didn’t slay any demons today,” Collier said. “It was a very nice distraction. … But those feelings are always right there lurking under the surface, like a volcano.”

      Correction
      An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the number of U.S. POWs who died or were killed after being captured by Japan during WWII. Of the approximately 27,000 POWs, roughly 40 percent perished, 1,115 of them after being sent to Japan to work as forced laborers.

      The POWs who came to Japan were dispersed among more than 100 camps run by approximately 60 companies.

      ***************************************
      Kamioka
      Robert J. Vogler, Jr., 90, lives in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, California. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in January 1940 at the age of 19. Stationed in Manila as part of the 24th Pursuit Group 17th Pursuit Squadron, he completed aircraft instrument training and attended the University of Philippines to study engineering. He serviced aircraft and then fought as an infantry soldier during the Battle of Bataan. As a POW, he survived the Bataan Death March, Camp O’Donnell, and Cabanatuan in the Philippines. He was shipped to Mukden, China (today’s Shenyang) in October 1942 on Mitsubishi’s Tottori Maru via Korea to Manchuria. Vogler was a slave laborer at MKK factory (Manshu Kosaku Kikai, which some researchers believe was owned by Mitsubishi and known as Manchuria Mitsubishi Machine Tool Company, Ltd.), working as a grinding specialist. He believes that the multiple shots and rectal probes that he received while at Mukden were human medical experiments conducted by the Imperial Army’s 731st Biological Warfare Unit. In May 1944, he and 150 American POWs were transferred to Nagoya-1B-Kamioka, Japan as punishment for bad behavior to be slave laborers for Mitsui Mining (now Kamioka Kogyo, a 100% subsidiary of Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co., Ltd.) mining lead and zinc. Mitsui now operates a recycling center at the former POW camp site. The mine was also the source of one of Japan’s four major cases of mass industrial poisoning in the 1960s. After the war, he remained in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 1960. He was then employed by General Dynamics as a manufacturing and development engineer, but was forced to retire in 1976 due to health issues caused by his POW experience. In 2000, Mr. Volger and his wife returned to Kamioka to a warm welcome from mine representatives, town officials, citizens, and school children. He said that the visit brought him to tears and helped rest the many demons that haunted him from his maltreatment in Japan’s POW camps.

    • Ælle zegt:

      Ik ben in het bezit van een klein boekje dat aanspoort om op de website van indische kamparchieven.nl onderzoek te doen naar informatie.
      Meer informatie: http://www.indischekamparchieven.nl; info@indischekamparchieven.nl.
      Er werkten mee H. Beekhuis, J. van Dalm, H.J. Legemate, H.A.M. Liesker, A. Have, Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen, Amsterdam, Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal, Land en Volkenkunde, Leiden, De Ree Archiefsystemen, Groningen, enz.
      Wat mij ergert is de volgende tekst halverwege het boekje. Er staat: ~ Het leven in de burgerkampen was in de eerste jaren over het algemeen niet al te slecht. De kampen waren nog niet overvol, de gezondheid was vrijwel overal nog goed en geïnterneerden mochten zelf veel regelen. Verveling kon verdreven worden door het bijhouden van een dagboek, hoewel dat eigenlijk verboden was. In de kampdagboeken keren drie onderwerpen steeds terug; het gebrek aan privacy, de geruchten die in het kamp de ronde deden (en waarvan verreweg de meeste niet bleken te kloppen), en het eten.~

      Worden hier ergens op de heide stichtingen ‘Zomerkampen’ besproken, vraag ik me af.
      Willen hier alstublieft overlevenden of nabestaanden op reageren? Ik word niet goed.
      Het leven in de burgerkampen was in de eerste jaren over het algemeen een FEEST! Hahaha … Dat had ik liever gelezen.

      • H.J. Legemaate zegt:

        Iedere zaterdag-avond dansen, iedere dag een andere bioscoopfilm in de recreatie-zaal.
        De Japanse bitterballen gingen er ook goed in. Inderdaad elke dag een feest.
        En toen werd ik wakker…..
        (van Dalm is van Dulm.)

      • Ælle zegt:

        Amper een week later kom ik tijdens het uitpakken van mijn verhuisdozen gevuld met ontelbare boeken de brochure tegen over het boek “Voor welk volk en wiens vaderland” (ISBN 90 804687 1 1.) geschreven door Ido Eduard Saueressig in die tijd aangeboden voor de prijs van Hfl. 29,95.
        Indisch4ever wijdde een artikel in 2006 aan de schrijver met de trieste mededeling dat deze reeds was overleden. http://indisch4ever.nu/2006/02/19/ido_eduard_saue/

        Drs. Jeffrey M. Saueressig schreef het voorwoord:
        Mijn Vader Ido Saueressig heeft naar mijn mening met dit boek een bijzonder werk neergezet. Door middel van perspectiefwisselingen laat hij de verschillende kampen, voor het grootste bestaande uit de verschillende bevolkingsgroepen, zelf hun verhaal vertellen. Hoewel het boek de gebeurtenissen in het Nederlands-Indië ten tijde van de tweede wereldoorlog beschrijft, is het hem toch gelukt om niet de oorlog , maar de mensen in het middelpunt te plaatsen. Het boek handelt over personen die zich in een tijd van onrust , gevaar en onzekerheid proberen staande te houden.
        Allemaal hebben ze hun eigen overlevingstechniek en verborgen doelstellingen. Want hoe moeilijk de tijd ook is, mensen blijven mensen. Soms goed, soms slecht, maar altijd met een reden. Wat dit boek laat zien, is dat de wereld niet zwart/wit is. Ook in tijd van oorlog en bezetting, als er een enorme polarisatie plaatsvindt, zijn er oneindig veel schakering.
        Dit voorwoord gaat nog zeven regels verder.

        Bij de tweede druk schrijft Loes Nobel (auteur “Gebroken rijst”) haar deel.
        Ze schrijft: Een verhaal dat zich afspeelt in een tijd van oorlog en bezetting kan zo dicht bij de realiteit zijn dat men het geen verhaal meer kan noemen , maar harde werkelijkheid. een werkelijkheid die wonden maakt, niet alleen letterlijk, maar evenveel in overdrachtelijke zin. waar in latere jaren niet meer over gesproken wordt, omdat de wonden inmiddels geheeld zijn en men lidtekens beter niet open moet rijten.
        En zo gaat ze nog een tijdje door.

  2. Bersiap Midden-Java.
    Met moeite wisten onze beschermers de vijand op afstand te houden en gaf een na felle tegenstand doorgebroken militaire Punjabi-eenheid enige lucht. Toch werd de toestand onhoudbaar geacht en besloot men Banjoebiroe op te geven na eerst de belegerden naar Ambarawa te hebben geëvacueerd. Aldus geschiedde en arriveerden wij op 25 november op Britse vrachtwagens in het enkele dagen eerder veroverde Fort Willem I te Ambarawa. Het stadje was inmiddels redelijk gezuiverd en werd het niet beschermde kamp 8 opgeheven na een verraderlijke overval. Op 2 december 1945 vertrokken de laatste belegerden uit het kampencomplex Banjoebiroe met achterlating van honderden inmiddels naar kamp 11 gevluchte Indische Nederlanders die eerder de Japanse bezettingstijd buiten de kampen hadden doorgebracht. De Britten hadden geen mankracht genoeg om hen te beschermen.
    In deze drie maanden ondergingen wij meer oorlogshandelingen dan in de drie voorgaande jaren. De positie van de Britten in Ambarawa bleef hachelijk en werd er op hoog niveau besloten om ons naar Semarang te evacueren. Onder militaire escorte ging de op een vlucht gelijkende tocht in open vrachtauto’s, (half) weggedoken achter meegenomen matrassen. De gehele route werd gecontroleerd door soldaten in schuttersputjes, soms naast nog rokende ruïnes. De inmiddels beruchte plaats Ambarawa werd op 14 december 1945 door de laatste Brits-Indische troepen verlaten. De Indonesiërs hebben deze terugtocht later geclaimd als een ‘eclatante overwinning’.
    De voormalige interneringskampen te Banjoebiroe en Ambarawa zouden met boobytraps voor de Indonesiërs onveilig zijn gemaakt, maar hier heb ik zo mijn twijfels over. Immers stonden de Brits-Indiërs niet onsympathiek tegenover de Indonesische verlangens naar zelfstandigheid. Bovendien kwamen later enkele voormalige Jappenkampen in Ambarawa en Banjoebiroe voor op het lijstje ‘bersiap-kampen’, doch verhalen over boobytrap-slachtoffers zijn mij tot op heden niet bekend.
    Mijn vraag: Kan iemand mij het boobytrap gegeven bevestigen?

    • Ælle zegt:

      In regel 12 worden booby traps genoemd bij onderkop ‘Wandeling’. Artikel geschreven door Robert Stiphout. http://www.isgeschiedenis.nl/archiefstukken/politionele-acties-bevrijding-werd-oorlog/
      Verborgen dodelijke apparaten in willekeurige en moedwillige omlijsting zijn in feite toch allemaal booby traps?
      Oorsprong van het woord booby:
      booby (n.) Look up booby at Dictionary.com
      1590s, from Spanish bobo “stupid person, slow bird” (used of various ungainly seabirds), probably from Latin balbus “stammering,” from an imitative root (see barbarian).
      Booby prize is by 1883: an object of little value given to the loser of a game; booby trap is 1850, originally a schoolboy prank; the more lethal sense developed during World War I.

    • Jan A. Somers zegt:

      “stonden de Brits-Indiërs niet onsympathiek tegenover de Indonesische verlangens naar zelfstandigheid”” Nou, daar hebben we in Soerabaja (gelukkig) niets van gemerkt. Daar zijn velen gesneuveld (en mogen in Nederland niet worden herdacht!).

      • Surya Atmadja zegt:

        In Surabaja gingen ongeveer 300 (?) Moslim Brits Indiers( later Pakistanen) naar de R.I kant overlopen( ?) .
        Onder leiding van ene Kapitein Zia Ul Haq , die later een president van Pakistan werd.
        De Moslim soldaten waren verrast toen de vijandige pemoeda’s hun AllahuAkbar kreet scanderen.
        Staat ook vermeld in de Engelse boek van Mc Millan( ?) .
        De andere Hindu soldaten (Indiers) waren niet zo happig om te vechten, ze waren vermoeid, en willen alleen maar naar huis.

        Is bewezen door de latere houding van Nehru die als vriend van de Indonesiers laat blijken .
        India behoorde tot de eerste vrienden/vreemde mogendheid die R.I de Jure erkennen.
        Toen Midden Java/Jogjakarta tijdens de Agresi Militer I werd veroverd , stuurde Nehru een vliegtuig om Soekarno te evacueren , onder mom van een staatsbezoek naar Indie.

        Dat was ook de reden waarom Mountbatten niet zo happig was om voor de karretje van de Dutchies gespannen te worden, dat in de context met de veranderde poltieke situatie in India

      • Jan A. Somers zegt:

        Ik ben bevrijd door Gurkha’s, en die kenden geen genade, toen ze hun vermoorde maten terugvonden. U kent ze wel, met die kukri. Vonden ze prettiger dan de sten. Dat er moslims zijn overgelopen zou misschien wel kunnen. Er zijn ook nogal wat Nederlanders in Duitse krijgsdienst geweest. Komt overal voor. De eerste groep, een brigade, bestond uit ca. 4000 man. De tweede groep, een divisie bestond (weet ik niet zeker) uit een samenraapsel van drie brigades en vijf regimenten en twee bataljons, 29000 man?? Dan vallen 300 deserteurs nog mee.

  3. Uiteraard klaagden Japanse-Amerikaanse immigranten dat ze door de Amerikaanse overheid in kampen werden gestopt. Ik denk dat velen onder ons liever in deze Amerikaanse kampen voor Japanners hadden willen zijn, met scholing, voedsel, medische verzorging, sporten, kamp winkel, enz.
    Er is onlangs een expositie van Japanse kunst gemaakt in deze kampen geweest in het Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas.

    Behind the Fence: Life in the Internment Camp

    Workers sort the baggage of Japanese Americans after arrival at the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. (Image j9CD-87A courtesy the Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley)
    Workers sort the baggage of Japanese Americans after arrival at the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. (Image j9CD-87A courtesy the Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley)

    SHIKATA GA NAI … IT CANNOT BE HELPED
    During the summer of 1942, most evacuees from the Portland Assembly Center were transferred to newly constructed relocation centers at Minidoka, Idaho, Tule Lake, California, or Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Upon arrival their evacuation from the exclusion area was complete. They were now internees. About two-thirds of them were Nisei American citizens, most under 21 years of age. The rest were Issei Japanese aliens prohibited by law from becoming citizens. These internees tended to be much older, averaging well over 50 years of age.

    Improving the surroundings
    Soon after arriving, the new residents set about improving their surroundings. The government furnished only standard Army cots, blankets, and a small heating stove for each apartment. Inside the apartment, internees improvised by making shelves and furniture from whatever scraps could be found. Curtains, pictures, and posters also were hung to add to the livability. One internee remembered how her brother salvaged wood from the camp’s scrap lumber pile to build a dresser attached to the wall studs: “Now each member of the family had one drawer for clothes.” Then her brother built two standing wood frames for their mother to cover with cloth to serve as room dividers. These improved life because “we had a semblance of privacy now for dressing and sleeping.”(1)

    Outside the barracks they planted, to the extent that the climate permitted, trees, hedges, and flower beds to soften the stark environment. One resident described his experience at Manzanar, California: “Oh, it’s really so hot, you see, and the wind blows. There is no shade at all. It’s miserable, really. But one year after, it’s quite a change. A year after they built the camp and put water there, the green grows up. And mentally everyone is better.”(2) As part of the beautification, Manzanar boasted a “lovely landscaped Japanese garden” near one of its mess halls.(3)

    Workers distribute scrap lumber at the Tule Lake Relocation Center. Much of the wood was used by internees to make apartment furniture. (Image j11DD-54A courtesy the Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley)
    Workers distribute scrap lumber at the Tule Lake Relocation Center. Much of the wood was used by internees to make apartment furniture. (Image j11DD-54A courtesy the Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley)

    Camp organization
    “Aside from the absurdity of living that way, life went on pretty much as usual,” according to one internee. The Japanese Americans worked to set up a generally stable small-town existence with fire and police departments, newspapers, and baseball teams.(4) Of course, all of this was within the limits of the WRA framework. Internees were encouraged to assume responsibility for many phases of community management, but it was always clear who was in charge. Caucasian WRA employees headed by a project director set the basic policies of each camp. From there, camps differed in their organization. Internees in some centers drew up charters and formed governments not dissimilar from ordinary cities of the same size. Other camps used more informal methods such as conferences held by a small group of key residents with the project director when important decisions needed to be made.
    Apathy in community affairs could be a problem, particularly with the younger Nisei internees. One leader at the Tule Lake Relocation Center took his fellow internees to task at a “citizens’ rally.” Shaking his finger at the disappointingly small crowd attending the rally, Walter Tsukamote railed: “Look at this! We are not here to talk about our daily bread, but to discuss the vital questions affecting the very life of the nisei world. And only this many of you are interested!” He continued: “I sometimes wonder if the nisei themselves really do care to have their rights protected.”(5)

    Camp population
    As an overview, three internees at Tule Lake wrote a letter to Governor Sprague in October 1942 outlining the general demographic and occupational numbers associated with the camp’s residents:

    Dear Governor Sprague:

    …Therefore on this day, October 18, 1942, there are remaining in this camp exactly 14,472 persons. Of this number, women and children under 18 years of age comprise 9,412. The remaining 5,060 are males over the age of 18, but of this number 1,060 are over the age of 60. …Under any circumstances, when nearly 15,000 people are brought together to live in a new community established in a period of less than three months, there will be among them many whose labor is essential to the daily operations of the new community. These include 800 project farm work; 500 construction; 400 maintenance men which includes janitor and garbage disposers; 800 warehousing and other transportation; 350 cooks and cooks’ helpers; and 410 wardens, firemen, and other Civic workers; and at least 100 hospital employees, a total of 3,360.”

    Sincerely yours,
    Ichiro Hasegawa, Richard Hikawa, Ken Sekiguchi(6)

    Employment in the centers
    As described above, thousands of internees were employed in and around a camp to keep it largely self-sufficient. Typical employees worked 44 hours a week and were paid from $12 to $19 per month. Each internee also received a small monthly allowance to purchase clothing. In October 1942 the Tule Lake Relocation Center employed about 800 workers on the 2,500 acre WRA farm project. At the time, it supplied produce for the Tule Lake camp as well as five other relocation centers totaling about 70,000 people. The 500 construction workers at Tule Lake were completing the barracks and trying to “make them more tenable for the coming winter which is more severe than the climate to which the greater majority of us have been accustomed.” They were also working on an addition to the hospital as well as construction of a 20,000 hen poultry farm and a 5,000 head hog farm. Future plans included building schools since “at present the 3,971 students are crowded into makeshift buildings without adequate desk and chair facilities.”

    The caption of this camp newspaper drawing reads: “Smiling and obliging waitresses serve 250 diners in each mess hall.” (Image: Daily Tulean Dispatch, October 1, 1942, Folder 2, Box 5, Gov. Sprague Records, OSA.)
    Enlarge image
    The caption of this camp newspaper drawing reads: “Smiling and obliging waitresses serve 250 diners in each mess hall.” (Image: Daily Tulean Dispatch, October 1, 1942, Folder 2, Box 5, Gov. Sprague Records, OSA.) View more drawings: cooks | diners.

    Other workers toiled in various services. The 400 maintenance men worked at a range of duties such as: garbage disposal for the city of 15,000; janitors for the approximately 400 public buildings including mess halls, laundries, and washrooms; and a fuel detail that supplied the 7,500 boilers and stoves with coal. Meanwhile, 800 warehouse and transportation workers staffed the more than 50 warehouses that accommodated the center and the project farm, which shipped an average of seven train cars of produce daily. The 350 cooks and helpers provided three meals a day to the camp, meaning that each cook, on average, prepared meals for 45 people. The Community Welfare and Internal Security Division employed 410 firemen, fire wardens, police wardens, and other civic leaders, while more that 100 workers served as doctors, interns, orderlies, dentists, pharmacists, and ambulance drivers to the Tule Lake camp.(7)
    Food and dining
    In addition to the produce and other food raised by the camp, the government provided meals, usually at a cost of about 45 cents per person per day. Contrary to persistent rumors, the internees were subject to the same food rationing restrictions as other Americans. The sheer size of the task of feeding 15,000 residents was daunting. By one accounting, a typical amount of food stuffs provided to residents each day included 8,160 pounds of beef, 9,600 pounds of rice, 120 cases of eggs, 3,000 loaves of bread, 2,400 gallons of milk, and 500 pounds of sugar.(8) The meals were usually served cafeteria style in mess halls designed to seat about 250 to 300 people. A random menu might contain the following:

    (Image: Daily Tulean Dispatch, October 1, 1942, Folder 2, Box 5, Gov. Sprague Records, OSA.)
    Tule Lake Relocation Center Mess Hall Menu

    MONDAY:
    delta Breakfast: stewed dried fruit, farina with hot milk, french toast with syrup, cocoa, milk.
    delta Lunch: baked macaroni and cheese, steamed rice, tsukemono (pickled vegetables), boiled fresh vegetables, lettuce salad, orange, bread, tea.
    delta Dinner: fresh fried fish, stewed corn, steamed rice, pickled fresh beets, butterscotch dessert.

    TUESDAY:
    delta Breakfast: half grapefruit, rolled oats with milk, hot cakes with syrup, cocoa, coffee, and milk.
    delta Lunch: boiled beef-spanish style, steamed rice, tsukemono, lettuce salad, apple tea.
    delta Dinner: beef sukiyaki (a sort of Japanese chop suey), steamed rice, tsukemono, potato salad, spice cake, tea.

    WEDNESDAY:
    delta Breakfast: stewed dried fruit, dry cereal with milk, french toast with syrup, coffee, tea, and milk.
    delta Lunch: Boston baked beans, boiled fresh vegetables, steamed rice, tsukemono, lettuce salad, orange, bread, tea.
    delta Dinner: fried fresh fish, steamed rice, tsukemono, cole slaw, fruit jello, tea.(9)

    The choice of food on the menu was a source of near constant complaint by the internees. The American born Nisei were accustomed to a more standard American diet while most Issei preferred native Japanese dishes. The menus were an attempt to compromise between the two positions. And, internees were permitted to buy additional food at the cooperative stores in the camps, although they could not purchase anything that required ration points.

    Schools were staffed by both Caucasian and internee teachers. (Image: Daily Tulean Dispatch, October 1, 1942, Folder 2, Box 5, Gov. Sprague Records, OSA.)
    Schools were staffed by both Caucasian and internee teachers. (Image: Daily Tulean Dispatch, October 1, 1942, Folder 2, Box 5, Gov. Sprague Records, OSA.)

    Medical care
    Free medical and dental care were provided to the internees in the camps by hospitals staffed largely by Japanese Americans. Infants and nursing mothers received special medical services. Residents requesting special medical treatments or procedures that were not available at the centers were required to pay for the services. Camp officials were concerned with preventing the outbreak of epidemics and therefore, considering the crowded living conditions, instituted special sanitary precautions.
    Education
    The WRA provided education through the high school level for all school-age residents. Most relocation centers built high schools and used converted barracks for grade school classrooms. Often entire blocks of barracks were used for classrooms. At first school supplies and equipment were in short supply. Later, internees and people from churches and relief agencies built or donated desks, bookshelves, books, maps, and related items.(10) Courses of study were planned and teachers were selected in collaboration with state departments of education following prevailing state standards.

    High school students graduate at the Tule Lake camp in 1944. (National Archives, image no. ARC 539568)
    High school students graduate at the Tule Lake camp in 1944. (National Archives, image no. ARC 539568)

    Teachers came from both Caucasian and Japanese American ranks. One internee remembered that “of my teachers, roughly half were Caucasian and the other half were ‘Buddhaheads’ as the young fellows referred to Japanese Americans. I vividly remember two of my Caucasian teachers, dedicated and effective, although many students were hostile and uncooperative in the classroom, probably taking out their resentment on them. Who were these individuals who gave up the freedom and comforts of the ‘outside’ and chose to pursue their profession in the dreary camps? They must have been compassionate and selfless persons.”(11)
    College students could apply for indefinite leaves to attend higher education institutions located outside of the exclusion zone. According to the camp newspaper, the Daily Tulean Dispatch, students were one of several classes of individuals that could leave the camp. Still, the wait for approval could be long “because this type of leave includes both citizens and aliens, [and] the applicants must be cleared by the FBI and through the Record Office of the WRA.”

    Guard towers and fences were part of camp security. (Image: Daily Tulean Dispatch, October 1, 1942, Folder 2, Box 5, Gov. Sprague Records, OSA.)
    Guard towers and fences were part of camp security. (Image: Daily Tulean Dispatch, October 1, 1942, Folder 2, Box 5, Gov. Sprague Records, OSA.)

    Indefinite leave opportunities also applied to internees who needed 30 days to attend to matters that required their presence elsewhere, and for employment.(12) Student departures became a regular camp occurrence that commonly was noted in the newspaper. This was the case in October 1942 at the Minidoka, Idaho camp where “a student release certificate was received…Monday for Kiyo Fujii, who left this week for the St. Louis College of Pharmacy at St. Louis, Mo. The total member [number] of students relocated is now 45.”(13)
    Camp security
    Police services were divided at the relocation centers. Outside of the center, military police guarded the boundaries and stood by to quell serious disturbances. Inside the center, a small civilian police force, headed by a Caucasian with prior police experience and several captains, maintained order. This force was also staffed by internee sergeants and patrol police who served as the bulk of the cops on the beat. Misdemeanor offenses were usually handled by the project director or by a judicial commission made up of residents. Major criminal cases were referred to outside courts.

    http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/exhibits/ww2/threat/internment.htm

  4. H.J. Legemaate zegt:

    Verzoek aan Wim ten Wolde.

    Jaren terug ben ik op zoek geweest naar de familie Ten Wolde, wonende te Soerabaja nabij de Jaarmarkt. De eigenaar van chocolade fabriek werkte in het kamp te Bandoeng als broodbakker.
    Geruchten dat de familie na de oorlog in Congo terecht kwam, heb ik niet bevestigd kunnen krijgen.
    Bent U mogelijk familie?
    Ik zie uw reactie met belangstelling tegemoet.

  5. Ælle zegt:

    Een vroegere piloot van het Nederlandse leger, die 80 van zijn medegevangenen heeft zien sterven in een Japans kamp in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, heeft een hartelijke reünie gehad met zijn vroegere bewakers.
    “Het crematorium bracht de vreselijkste herinneringen terug…. de oven was te klein voor onze doden. Hij was gebouwd voor de kleinere Japanners.. we moesten eerst het onderlichaam verbranden. Het was de vreselijkste ondervinding van de oorlog.”

    Tegenwoordig kennen de mensen de prijs van alles en de waarde van niets.
    ~Oscar Wilde

  6. van den Broek zegt:

    Ik vind de leedvergelijking in het verhaal van Wim ten Wolde ten hemel schrijnend. Zijn citaat “Ik denk dat velen onder ons liever in deze Amerikaanse kampen voor Japanners hadden willen zijn, met scholing, voedsel, medische verzorging, sporten, kamp winkel, enz.” Dus wij gaan lekker naar de Amerikaanse kampen!!!Vooral dat begin “ik denk dat velen onder ons , … dhr Ten Wolde dient niet plaatsvervangend te denken voor anderen maar zich in te leven in de positie van de Japan-Amerikanen, de Amerikanen twijfelden aan hun loyaliteit en daarvoor gaan zij naar de kampen, dat is toch vrijheidsberoving ????? Het is ontluisterend. het is een inbreuk op hun persoon, op hun respect maar ook een ondergraving van de Amerikaanse vrijheidsnormen en waarden. Daar komt nog bij dat hij verhalen erbij haalt om zijn “gelijk” te staven. Gaat U gang met het selectief oreren van Uw gelijk.

    4 regels mening en de rest citaten vind ik ontluisterend voor de kwaliteit. Mag het ook een onsje minder??

    • Ron Geenen zegt:

      Toch kan ik begrijpen waarom de Amerikanen de Japanse Amerikanen in kampen plaatsten. Nu nog aanbidden vele oude Japanners, die misschien nooit in Japan zijn geweest, hun keizer. Ze denken beslist dat hij hun god is. De manier waarop deze groep van Amerikanen leefden wekte argwaan op. Ik zelf heb dat gedrag nog meegemaakt in de wachtkamer van de oogarts.

      En als wij in de Japanse concentratie kampen maar de helft van hun voedsel en medische hulp kregen, waren er veel minder doden gevallen. Ik denk dat niemand dat kan en wil ontkennen.

      Het verschil was vooral dat het ene volk ons wilde uitroeien en de Amerikanen beslist niet.

      • Ælle zegt:

        “Ik zelf heb dat gedrag nog meegemaakt in de wachtkamer van de oogarts.”
        Welk gedrag? De aanbidding van hun overleden keizer Hirohito of van de huidige Akihito, óf hun (de ‘groep’ van Amerikanen) argwaanwekkend gedrag?
        Svp, verklaar U nader. Ik moet er al om lachen.
        Mijn Aziatische Oma had vroeger in Indië een Japanse vriendin, die getrouwd was met een Duitser, met wie ze op de foto staat; beiden verkleed in elkaars klederdracht. Wat een mooi voorbeeld was dat!

        Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.
        ~ J.F. Kennedy
        Het slechte aan oorlog is dat het meer slechte mensen oplevert dan afvoert.
        ~ Immanuel Kant

      • Ron Geenen zegt:

        Ik heb al eens eerder er over geschreven. Het komt in het kort op het volgende.
        Bij het onderzoek van een van mijn ogen moest ik in een tussen wachtkamer de oogdruppels eerst even laten inwerken. Ik had het boek van Lou Lanzing “KURA!” bij mij. Een boek van ruim 400 pagina’s met op de kaft o.a. de oude Japanse vlag. Vele bladen van het boek had ik voorzien van stickers. In dezelfde kamer zaten rechts van mij en tegenover mij 2 Amerikaanse oude dames en links een oud Japans koppel. De rechtse dame zag het dikke boek en merkte op dat ik heel wat te lezen heb en het gaat zeker over de oorlog. Ik antwoordde positief en wij raakten in gesprek. Zij vertelde dat haar man ook gesneuveld was tijdens de tweede oorlog in Azie. En ik vertelde haar dat wij toen gevangen hadden gezeten. De dame tegenover mij zei dat ze al heel lang een Japanse vriendin had, maar nog nooit van haar dat had gehoord. Op dat moment werd ik door een assistente binnen geroepen en toen ik opstond zei plotseling de Japanse man: “Your book and story is a lie!”

  7. Ik zou graag willen weten of van den Broek ook informatie heeft hoeveel van vrijheid beroofde Japanners in kampen in Amerika gestorven zijn van honger, onthoofding, dwangarbeid etc. etc.

  8. Ælle zegt:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Challenge_to_Democracy_(1944).ogv?uselang=en
    Democratie
    In 1831-1832 hadden Alexis de Tocqueville en zijn vriend Gustave de Beaumont een negen maanden durende studiereis naar de Verenigde Staten van Amerika gemaakt. De Tocqueville was weliswaar een groot voorstander van democratie, maar hij voorspelde gewelddadige partijstrijd, de onderschikking van het oordeel van wijzen aan de vooroordelen … van onwetenden en de tirannie … van de meerderheid.

    Democratie betekent eenvoudig het ranselen van het volk door het volk voor het volk.
    ~ Oscar Wilde

    • Jan A. Somers zegt:

      Ja natuurlijk, de jaartallen van hun democratie. Zelf vind ik democratie de minst slechte vorm van bestuur, ik kan mijn mond open doen, zelfs als er rare dingen uitkomen. En wie zijn die wijzen met hun bijzonder wijze oordelen? I4E? Een zekere Jan A. Somers? Het blijft uiteraard mensenwerk, maar ik ben er zelf bij.

    • Ælle zegt:

      Bij bovenstaande link van “http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Challenge_to_Democracy_(1944)”
      hoorde deze You Tube film, die waarschijnlijk is verwijderd. Had geluk dat ik ’t nog net op tijd gezien heb om met jullie te delen..

  9. Ælle zegt:

    Op 17 maart 2015 werd deze film gepubliceerd/openbaar gemaakt.

  10. Ælle zegt:

    The governor of the Japanese island of Okinawa, Takeshi Onaga, said on Wednesday he will travel to the United States next week to press his demand that a U.S. military base be removed from ‘his’ island to lighten the burden of a people weary of hosting U.S. troops. Hahaha
    Anger has risen since the fatal crash of a U.S. tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft in Hawaii on Sunday. The Ospreys, loathed for their noise, are set to be deployed at the Henoko base. Hehehe
    Verdienen die Japanners ’t wel dat ik voor hen pleit? Ze hebben mijn familie toch vermoord (2 ooms) en beroofd?

  11. Ælle zegt:

    http://www.gastdocenten.com/oorlog/japanse-ogen.html
    Oorlog en bezetting in Nederlands Indië
    Nederlands-Indië door Japanse ogen (Rapport van R. Tada, 1943)

    Boekbespreking
    Japan Indonesia and the War. KITLV Uitgeverij f 45,00

    Vijf Japanse professoren en drie Nederlandse onderzoekers gaan nader in op de rol van Japan in Nederlands Indië gedurende de Tweede Wereldoorlog.
    Zij stellen dat we terug moeten naar 1905 toen de eerste Japanse bedrijven zaken gingen doen met Nederlands Indië.
    Na de bankcrisis in Japan van 1927, nam het aantal (manlijke) Japanners toe van 2061 tot 4598 in 1930. In 1933 was Hatta vier maanden in Japan, waarna hij zich persoonlijk inzette voor de handel tussen Japan en Indonesische (veelal Sumatraanse) bedrijven. Deze bedrijven financierden de Indonesische nationalisten na de oorlog.
    Vervolgens worden de verschillen tussen het Japanse bestuur en het Nederlandse bestuur in de oorlog besproken op juridisch -, voedselvoorzienings- , en economisch gebied.
    De Japanners erkennen dat hun centralistische manier van besturen contraproductief werkte in Indië.
    En ze constateerden al in de oorlog dat de nationalistische leiders op Java alleen konden discussiëren, maar niet konden besturen.
    De hongersnood in 1944 op Java was niet te wijten aan de misoogst, maar aan falend bestuur van Japanners en Indonesiërs.
    Ze zijn van mening dat Nederlands Indië veel beter ontwikkeld was als de andere koloniën die ze in Zuidoost Azië bezet hadden. En ze bemerkten dat de vernielingen van de Nederlanders in 1942 zeer effectief waren, waardoor noch de Japanse overheid noch de Japanse bedrijven de vette winsten konden binnenhalen die ze van te voren verwacht hadden te kunnen oprapen.
    Daarnaast klagen ze dat de Indonesiërs hun onafhankelijkheid te danken hebben aan Japan, maar dat diezelfde Indonesiërs na de oorlog 975 Japanse soldaten bij gevechten om het leven brachten.
    Voor het laatst gewijzigd op 19-01-2015
    Om over na te denken/Things to think about
    How far would you go to gain or preserve your freedom?
    What do you know about the Japanese forces during World War II, including their attacks on Australia?

    http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/media/28953/sukarno-s-collaboration-with-japan-during-ww-ii
    Error. Video is not available in my or your area. Sorry.

    Date first broadcast: 07 September 1966
    Imagine that, in order to preserve your freedom, you had to fight alongside your enemy. During World War II, Indonesian nationalists – led by Sukarno – collaborated with Japanese invaders. Richard Oxenburgh’s commentary provides a well-argued historical explanation for Sukarno’s collaboration with the Japanese in Indonesia.
    Transcript
    RICHARD OXENBURGH:
    When the Japanese occupied Indonesia, Sukarno was in jail. The nationalists at that time, 1942, were split into three factions. Two worked underground during the occupation. The other, led by the newly released Sukarno, collaborated with the Japanese. His collaboration was not as sinister as it would seem to Westerners. Indonesia was a colony of the Dutch. Sukarno believed in independence. The Japanese believed in Asia for the Asians. Sukarno is an Asian. But Sukarno had no real love for the Japanese. He used a great deal of his time to rally the people for the struggle he knew was ahead. At the end of the war the newly created Indonesian flag was raised prematurely. The Japanese were still in the country and the Dutch had not yet returned. Sukarno, the optimist, gave the people independence, a flag and a constitution four years too soon.

    • Surya Atmadja zegt:

      Daarnaast klagen ze dat de Indonesiërs hun onafhankelijkheid te danken hebben aan Japan, maar dat diezelfde Indonesiërs na de oorlog 975 Japanse soldaten bij gevechten om het leven brachten.
      ========================================================
      Ha ha ha ha,
      de Japanners hebben wel veel gevoel voor humor.

  12. van den Broek zegt:

    Hallo dhr Robbert Macaré, ik weet dat niet want ik doe niet aan leedvergelijking, ik weet niet wat voor maatstaf ik daarvoor moet nemen. Ik doe niet mee aan die ongein: vb 6 vergaste Joden = 2 onthoofde Nederlanders.

    Wat ik wel weet is dat:
    Het laatste kamp voor japans-Amerikanen sloot pas in maart 1946. Alle Japanners kregen hun Amerikaanse burgerschap terug en in 1988 besloot het Amerikaanse Congres dat iedere overlevende van de kampen recht had op een herstelbetaling van zo’n 20.000 dollar. Iets meer dan 70.000 mensen hebben deze uiteindelijk ontvangen. Dat is pas een Gebaar.

    Ik heb het dus over de aantasting van de waardigheid van mensen in oorlogstijd, zonder onderscheid des persoons., misschien is dat de Heer Macaré ontgaan.

  13. Ælle zegt:

    Op zoek naar meer skeletten uit de oorlog kwam ik op deze interessante film (N.B. duur: 1uur, 46 minuten en 44 seconden) op you tube, die het aandeel van Australië in de tweede wereldoorlog navertelt, getiteld WW2: The Kokoda Trail Campaign.
    Tot op de dag van vandaag wordt deze route of dit voetspoor dwars door Papua New Guinea nog steeds gelopen, en is ’t een toeristische attractie geworden. Ooit was het een weg of pad door de jungle gebaand door mijnwerkers op zoek naar goud.

  14. Ælle zegt:

    Ik geniet van al die oude filmpjes. U ook?

    Van sommige zijn de reacties en het commentaar uitgeschakeld zoals van deze: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRDlPWeAA-0 = Het leven in Nederlands Indië in de periode 1938/1939.

    “Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
    ~ Mother Teresa

  15. Ælle zegt:

    Sinds kort heb ik kennis aan een beschadigde Cambodjaanse vrouw die in de 70-ger jaren de horrors in haar eigen land heeft overleefd. Zij werkt als vrijwilligster in ons buurthuis. Ik vraag me af hoe het heeft kunnen gebeuren dat Cambodja niet bespaard was gebleven vele jaren nadat ons reeds deze verschrikkingen waren overkomen. Waar waren de Amerikanen? Waar waren WIJ?
    Pol Pot’s ware naam is Saloth SAR. Synoniem van sar: plaaggeest!
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33096971
    Deze overlevenden lopen nog steeds met hun ziel onder de arm, en zij bevinden zich onder ONS.

    • Ælle zegt:

      Vóórdat mijn tekst de verkeerde voorstelling aangeeft wil ik uitleggen dat de uitdrukking “kennis hebben aan” NIET de Vlaamse betekenis heeft, maar dat ik gewoon deze dame onlangs heb leren kennen in ons buurthuis.

  16. Ælle zegt:

    CAMBODIA: GENOCIDE
    A Personal Narrative
    By Soy Gemza

    Cambodia, a country in Southeast Asia, unknown and unfamiliar to many Americans and the rest of the world before 1979, is now part of modern day history. After the Nazi German leader Adolph Hitler and his program of Jews genocide, one may think that such horrible crime against humanity can never be repeated. Could it be possible? History, horrible such as the Jews genocide, government-sponsored killings, repeated itself in Cambodia. For a period of almost four years, it seemed that The United Nations and the rest of the world ignored and turned their backs on the people of Cambodia. The year 1975 was the beginning of one of the most horrifying and disastrous war in Cambodia and the world! Between 1975 and 1979, over 1.5 Cambodians died of overwork, starvation, torture and execution. There was no transition period for the people. Overnight, the entire population in the country became farmers.

    The Communist Party of Kampuchea, Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, took full control of Cambodia on April 17, 1975. This was the beginning of the most radical social reformation in the 20th century in an effort to form an absolutely classless society. The educated, the wealthy, civil servants or anyone who did not cooperate and follow the new communist leadership was executed. The Khmer Rouge’s ultimate objective was to eradicate different class of people and create one society of peasants. Cambodian currency (Riel) was worthless and was eliminated overnight. There was no more banking and finance, no private ownership of property, and no religion. People can no longer use money to buy merchandise. Only goal was valuable for trading. Many people buried gold and diamonds to try to preserve their life because having something of value meant one was rich and therefore is a potential target for the Khmer Rouge to execute.

    I was 8 years old when the Khmer Rouge reigned. During the war, I’ve witnessed many horrible sights. Dead, swelled, naked body floating down the river where we bathe and drink. I remember body in a bag floating down the river. On one occasion, I found a human bone in the river while I was searching for clams. I saw people committing suicide by hanging. It was a choice of killing themselves or killed by the Khmer Rouge. Many people simply felt that it was better to end their lives sooner than to be suffering. The terror and dreadfulness of the Regime was only beginning. The people were to endure over 3 _ years of the nightmare.

    One day my mom came home from the market place, in Pursat, very terrified. She announced that we had to leave our house and city immediately. “The soldiers are coming”, she screamed, “and if we don’t leave, they will kill us.” We took what we could carry by hands and wagons and departed for our other home in the country. The exodus was slow and mentally painful. All I remember was people crowded in the streets and bound for small towns outside of the city. As a child, I can only imagined what were on the people’s minds when they had to leave all their belongings behind. For some that meant leaving their life behind because they’ve invested so much of their life trying to make a better life. All this was gone, literally overnight. My family had to leave a brand new house in Pursat.

    We arrived at our country home in Kracheh after walking 15 miles and settled there. It was a comfortable house. My immediately family was big, a family of 12, my parents and five brothers and sisters our house had to be big enough to accommodate all of us. We were ordered out of the house when the soldiers needed our house temporarily as a base. We were forced to move into my uncle’s house up the street and live with his family. Our house was used as a holding place for young children after the soldiers left. We were not able to move back into it because the government decided that the house should be used as a permanent housing for children, somewhat like an orphanage. All the children were forced to leave their parents and live together like orphans. I was later forced to go back to my own home and live there with a group of children my age. This time though, I was with a big group of children without my parents being there. It was no longer ‘home’ to me.

    In order to have total control over the people, the Khmer Rouge utilized segregation. They broke up family units to weaken family ties and indoctrinate the people in their own thinking. By segregating the children, the Khmer Rouge was able to brainwash them. Young children and young single adults were separated from parents and placed by age and sex category. All activities were controlled and strictly monitored by group Khmer Rouge leaders. In 1976, three of my brothers and three sisters were forced to go to labor camps. One sister, one infant brother, and I were allowed to stay nearby.

    I was forced to live with children my age in a home without my parents. When I was at the home, I would get so homesick that many nights I tried to escape when the desire to be with my parents was at its height. Although terrified because it was dark and quiet (sometimes I couldn’t even see what was in front of me), I would still sneak out and ran home to my parents. A couple of times, the leaders found out about my sneaking away; they chased and physically forced me back to the home. Although the home was ours originally, without my parents there, I did not want to be there.

    I was later transferred to another home further away from where my parents were living. It was harder for me to sneak away and make the trip home. To get home I had to walk quite a long distant and pass one section of the road where tall, big trees overshadowed the road, blocking the moonlight making it literally black and scary. I still remember vividly how scary it was. When there was a half or a full moon out, the street was lit up enough for me to see my way home. Even that was dreadful for me. It meant that people were able to see making it easier for them to entrap me. Regardless of the weather conditions, I stood a chance of getting caught and forced back to the home. As expected, I was caught and forced back numerous times. My parents were almost imprisoned for trying to protect and nurture me. One particular time, I had boils all over my head and neck and they had to shave all my hair off. I still have scars on my neck from the infection. Although I was in such terrible condition, they almost charged my mother for being possessive and wanting to nurse me back to health.

    All the children who were old enough to understand and can work were put to work. I was required to chop bushes and pick up sticks and branches every day. At night, we were forced to go out in the fields to kill field rats that would eat and destroy the vegetation. We’d kill them with sticks. Most of the time, I fell asleep in the field during rest period and was awakened by a whip or a yield. The lack of food, sleep, and nutrition had its toll on my body. Everyone was given measured amount of plain liquefy rice porridge each meal (a cupful at best). Vegetable, salt, and sugar were considered special treats if one was to receive or allowed to eat. Once in a while the Khmer Rouge would allow an all-u-can-eat meal to the people, though with cruel intentions; some people died from overeating.

    I sometimes fell asleep on dirt in the fields during the day, and at night I had to sleep in bamboo sheds infested with lice and ticks. And the mosquitoes were no strangers to my body.

    In November 1978, after several years of border conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia, the Vietnamese army with invasion force of 120,000, came through the towns in victory over the Khmer Rouge. Many people decided to leave the town with the Vietnamese soldiers fearing that the Khmer Rouge would return to town and capture them. The people were encouraged to follow the Vietnamese soldiers because the Khmer Rouge would return to town to capture and execute the people who stayed behind and if they suspected that the people were siding with the Vietnamese. If the people were kept alive, the Khmer Rouge would force them to go along with them into the jungle and would use them as human shields against the enemy.

    My family and those few of us, who were not sent to labor camps, followed the Vietnamese soldiers to a camp called Cha Carp, where we can be safe. My uncle (my father’s older brother) decided to stay behind. The Khmer Rouge returned to town, captured, and took him. He escaped and came back to his home, but they caught up with him and executed him behind his house. Some people who returned to town in search of food found him. His children sneaked into town and buried him. One of my aunts (my mother’s youngest sister) died of malaria. She was in her late 30’s. She left behind three young children for my grandmother to take care of because her husband was executed earlier in the war. He had been a general under President Lon Nol, whom the Khmer Rouge overthrown. My sister-in-law lost a young sister who was jailed for stealing a corn from the field. Her sister was imprisoned and was later executed with many other prisoners who were jailed for minor offenses. They were all buried in mass graves.

    While in the Cambodian camp where the Vietnamese soldiers brought us, we struggled everyday to find food. I went out everyday into the rice fields and searched for tiny baby crabs and frogs to catch and bring back home for my mother to cook. Disease was rampant among children from infancy to five years old because of poor diet and polluted water supply. We shared the same water supply with the cows and animals. Everyday, I heard of some families losing a child. A measles epidemic killed many children. They would develop high fever, then diarrhea and would die within 3-5 days. Little graves were everywhere. One of my cousins lost a son during the epidemic.

    One major event occurred when I was in the camp. There was a big commotion going throughout the camp. I was guarding cows in the rice fields when I heard people running and shouting in the unpaved streets: “A Khmer Rouge spy is caught, we will torture and kill him just like he did to our relatives.” I ran to the street to see. I saw a man bound and placed on a bicycle behind the rider. I saw him briefly. I later heard that the people tortured the Khmer Rouge spy by slicing his body, put salt on him, and made him suffer terribly. The people later killed him.

    After the epidemic, we thought that we were safe, but that thought was proven wrong. One day when the Vietnamese soldiers were not in the camp, the Khmer Rouge invaded the camp, captured, and executed many refugees. They also shot at the people from tall palm trees and, if they were close enough, they threw grenades. We were able to escape the first couple of shootings. For those people who stayed behind and took the underground shelter, the Khmer Rouge threw grenades through the door, killing all occupants. We ran for our lives when they were shooting, and returned to camp when the shooting stopped and the Khmer Rouge left.

    One day after the shooting, we returned to camp and I found a bullet shell on a net; I picked it up and said to myself aloud, “I wonder how it feels to be wounded by one of these bullets”. Regrettably, the Khmer Rouge showed up again the following day, shooting at the refugees from palm trees again. Bullets were coming at us like rain coming down from the sky. I was struck on the right side of my body. We later found out that the bullet entered the back of my body, penetrated the skin, and exited the front, barely missing my ribs. Needless to say, I fell unconscious. I regained consciousness when my mom picked me up and carried me into an underground shelter further away from the shooting. She could not go any further. By now, both of us were drenched with my blood. My dad joined us later. The nightmare began for both of my parents because they did not know how severe the wound was. Was the bullet still in my body? Were the organs damaged? How long would I survive? It was hellish.
    In addition to the pain, I felt thirsty from losing so much blood. They quickly put together fabric scarves to form a hammock-like carriage and carried me further into the rice fields where we camped that night. Many wounded people died that night including the one who settled next to us in the rice fields. By now, I was no longer bleeding, and I was still alert. That was a good sign.

    The Vietnamese soldiers did not return to the camp until the next day when we were able to get help. The fighting continued the next day even while I was lying there under the protection of the Vietnamese soldiers. This time, the Vietnamese soldiers fought back and were able to win the battle over the Khmer Rouge. There was no medical equipment to assist the wounded. All they could do for me was to pour alcohol into the injured area and wrap it up with gauze. I was kept with the soldiers until they were able to transport my mother, my little brother, and me to Pursat where there was a hospital. My dad couldn’t come because they didn’t have enough room on the truck, and he had to care for my sister.

    On our arrival at the hospital, there was no room for us to stay other than the hallway. There were hundreds of people who were wounded. The cries of the wounded and the mourning of relatives for lost lives were almost unbearable. The hospital did not have enough supplies to assist the wounded: no medicine, no food, and understaffed with doctors and nurses. The staff tried their best to help us. I was comforted only by my mother’s presence. One boy, who was wounded the same day as I, had to have his leg amputated died at the hospital. Screams of people in surgery without any anesthetic became common sounds.

    I was paralyzed for about 10 days. They never stitched my open wound or tended to it regularly. Infections occurred because no antibiotics or penicillin to help heal the wounds were available. One day, a nurse came by to clean the wounds; unknowingly opening the area where the bullet had entered, and found out that the infection was spreading. They literally pushed open the area and released the pus. I felt relieved after the painful procedure that I had to endure without any anesthetic. I was able to slowly get up and take small steps within a few days. My mom, somehow, was able to barter and get some penicillin for me to take to help heal the wounds. I slowly recovered after many months.

    After I recovered, my family made Pursat our home and my father and one sister were able to join us. We found an empty home in the city and made it our temporary home. Even in Pursat, the Khmer Rouge were shooting and trying to gain back control of the city from the Vietnamese army. There was not a city in Cambodia that was considered safe. It was a question of whether one city was less dangerous than another.

    In Pursat, the Khmer Rouge were shooting and trying to invade one area of the city on the opposite side of the river where we were living. The people on that side tried to escape but many drowned in the crossing in the river. Some swam too close to the flowing dam and were pulled into the dam by the currents. The dead were found in the morning when the shooting stopped. I am thankful to God that my family was on the safe side of the river.

    After the Vietnamese took control of the country, although there were still many Khmer Rouge, all the people (including my brothers and sisters), who were sent to labor camps were allowed to join their families. My sisters and brothers returned, except for my 23-years-old brother. My parents searched around the city for him but to no avail. Later my mom found out through a friend of my brother’s that he was axed to death and that my other brother would have been killed also if he had not run and hide. The reason my brother was axed to death was because he did not want to hand over his watch to one of the Khmer Rouge leaders. Therefore, they killed him for having the watch in his possession. Axing and clubbing people to death was a system that the Khmer Rouge used because they did not want to waste ammunition. My other brother, who is alive today, would have been killed also for searching for my brother’s watch and trying to find out who the killer was. A human life was worth nothing to the Khmer Rouge.

    Now that the survivors were united with their families, the problem was how to find food. There were many people and not enough food in the city. Many people took risks and crossed over into Thailand and bought merchandise to sell and trade. My parents, who had six dependent children at the time, were not able to make enough to feed all of us. On November 13, 1970, they decided to take the journey into Thailand. My father stayed back with one of my sisters. We came closer to the Thai border through the city of Battambang and stayed there until we found a guide who could take us across the border into Thailand for rice as a trade off. We gave him the rice and he guided us one night, supposedly, to Thai border. However, after walking all night, the morning came and we discovered that we were in the same area where we started out. We just went in circles in the jungle and never made it to Thai border. The following night we took a risk and followed some people who knew their way into Thailand. We crossed the border by foot, and it took us two days on foot to get into Thailand. On the trip, silence was a must. Children were not allowed to speak or cry in the night in order to hide from the Khmer Rouge. I remember falling asleep that night in the pouring rain in inch-deep water. We finally made it across into a Thailand camp called New Camp. We were not safe there either because it seemed that the Khmer Rouge were everywhere. They even bombed the camp at the Thai border.

    My father and sister joined us at the camp later. We were transferred by trucks into another camp in Thailand called Khao I Dang. This camp was further on Thai land. This was probably the best camp to be in because the Thai people provided water, food, and shelter through the support of international relief agencies. The Red Cross was there. We were safe at last!

    …..MAAR DE HERINNERING IS GEBLEVEN!

  17. Ælle zegt:

    Neak Luong, de stad die per ongeluk door Amerikanen werd gebombardeerd.
    BY THERETROCULTURATI ON APRIL 5, 2015
    Cambodia’s natural resources were scorched almost beyond help whilst the psychological damage and dangers of unexploded bombs remains to this day. Tot de dag van VANDAAG!

    http://retroculturati.com/2015/04/05/the-bombing-of-neak-luong/

  18. Ælle zegt:

    ITS PLACE IN THE UN – ITS PLACE IN THE UN – ITS PLACE IN THE UN – ITSPLACE IN THE UN

    Despite its deposal, the Khmer Rouge r e t a i n e d its UN seat, which was occupied by Thiounn Prasith, an old compatriot of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary from their student days in Paris, and one of the 21 attendees at the 1960 KPRP Second Congress. The seat was retained under the name “Democratic Kampuchea” until 1982, and then “Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea” (see below) until 1993. Western governments… repeatedly backed the Khmer Rouge in the U.N. and voted in favour of retaining Cambodia’s seat in the organization. Margaret Thatcher (!) stated that “So, you’ll find that the more reasonable ones of the Khmer Rouge will have to play some part in the future government, but only a minority part. I share your utter horror that these terrible things went on in Kampuchea.” Sweden on the contrary changed its vote in the U.N. and withdrew support for the Khmer Rouge after … a large number of Swedish citizens wrote letters to their elected representatives demanding a policy change towards Pol Pot’s regime.

    Welcome – United Nations – It’s your world!
    http://www.un.org/

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