Leaving the camp

Tearing the bamboo walls down! Children at the guardhouse, situated next to the gate of the Tjideng camp, together with the marines of the British cruiser HMS Cumberland. It was one of the first ships to reach Java after the Japanese capitulation. (Collection J. van Dulm).

Foto

Foto

The temporary council of war in Batavia sentenced the notorious camp commander Sonei to death in August 1946. When they compared the Indische councils of war to the British, Australian, Chinese and Philippine councils of war it became clear that the Indische council of war rarely found the accused innocent. (Tussen Banzai en Bersiap).
Nel, Wies, Claartje and I were included in the first transports to the Carolus Borromeus hospital in former Batavia (now Jakarta). We were situated next to each other, four in a row. Trees was still walking and not allowed to join us. But she convinced a driver to smuggle her in his truck as a stowaway. She registered herself in the hospital as a nurse. She wanted to be with her sisters, of course. Carefully we had to get used to the food again. But Claartje ate and ate. The rice swelled in her belly. The doctors had to put in a lot of effort to save her.
A friend of ours stayed behind at the time of the liberation with an older sister. One of the soldiers gave her sister a can of sardines. Consequently, she ate too much protein and fat, which caused her to die immediately. This friend, who was five years old at the time, attracted attention of a driver whom brought children to their fathers and was taken with him. It was after a long time, however, that her father realized that she had to be his daughter. He was, after all, looking for two daughters instead of one.
Father Pierre came looking for us, dressed in white priest clothing, in the hospital. He already heard the bad news of mother’s passing. He came across a nurse and asked her: Nurse, could you tell me where my children are? That nurse was Trees! She told him: I am Trees, your daughter! He did not recognize her. This incident troubled her very much when she was sick later. We were reunited again!
Letter from Lidy to her father, written in the Carolus Borromeus hospital, after the liberation:

Dear Daddy,
Nurses came with the transport from Tjideng. Trees asked doctor Postma if she could join. And she could. Then Trees was with us for a very long time, it was such fun Dad! Daddy, the children who were no longer suffering from fever were allowed to watch a Mickey Mouse movie at night. In the open air! Dad, I enjoyed it so much you know! It was beautiful! Daddy we were allowed to confess! And we also received Holy Communion. Daddy, there are so careful with us here, you know. You cannot walk in the room; you cannot swing your legs from your bed, because it causes you to have fat legs, that is what they say. And you have to sit still on your bed for the entire day. We receive fish here instead of meat. We got mashed potatoes with carrots. And also a slice of bread with corned beef, so good! Daddy, I received notes from Mommy in the Tjideng hospital and I kept them. Do you want to have these to remember her? We have a nice nurse for our room. She is called nurse Martha. We still eat so much, we are never full you know. The nurse says she can keep getting food for us. I still have soft food, because my belly is not yet how it should be. There are nice children here. It does not really look like a hospital, because the children make a lot of noise. Nel is still on a fruit diet. She receives pisang, papaya, tomato and an egg in the morning. In the afternoon, she gets some mashed potatoes with tomato and fish. In the evening, she gets mashed potatoes again. That is everything she is allowed to eat.
Daddy I am allowed to eat normal food again, so fun! Klaartje is just like she was before; a healthy chubby one, and she cannot stay in her bed.
When we felt better again, we went to a house across the street from the hospital. My father collected orphans and half orphans in this house with some others. We were not allowed to play in front of the house, because this was too dangerous due to the Bersiap period. Sikhs guarded us. They served the British. I found them impressive, because of their long, beautiful hair ornament and their horses. The alarm went off three times a day and everyone had to get inside to stay away from bullets flying around. Next to my asthma, I started suffering from goiter as well. I was thus very short of breath. At that time, my brain was ready to realize that my mother was no longer here. I missed her very much. The British organized a party in their station. We were transported in trucks (laying on the ground) in order to join the party. They contacted the Netherlands to arrange a new home for the orphans.