Sloping of the deck! Children at the guardhouse at the gate of the Tjideng camp, together with marines from the British cruiser HMS Cumberland. One of the first ships to reach Java after the Japanese surrender. (Collection J.van Dulm)

The notorious camp commander Sonei was sentenced to death by the temporary military court in Batavia in August 1946. A comparative overview of the East Indian military courts revealed that, unlike the British, Australian, Chinese, and Filipino military courts, they rarely acquitted the accused suspects. (Between Banzai and Bersiap)

Nel, Wies, Claartje, and I were taken to the Carolus Borromeus hospital in the then Batavia (now Jakarta) during the first transports. The four of us lay in a row.

Trees was still walking and was not allowed to come with us. But she managed to persuade a driver to smuggle her as a stowaway in his truck. She reported to the hospital as a volunteer nurse. Of course, she wanted to be with her sisters. We had to slowly get used to eating again. But Claartje ate and ate. The rice expanded in her little belly. The doctors struggled to save her.

A friend of ours was left alone at the time of liberation with an older sister. This sister had received a can of sardines from a soldier. As a result, she consumed too much protein and fat at once. And died immediately from it.

Because this friend, who was 5 years old at the time, caught the attention of a driver who was bringing children to their searching fathers, she was taken by him. However, it took a long time for her father to realize that she must be his daughter. After all, he was looking for two daughters.

Then father Pierre came to look for us, in a white father's suit (he also had no clothes left) in the hospital. He had already heard the bad news of mother's passing.

He encountered a nurse and asked her: Sister, can you tell me where my children are? That nurse was Trees! She said: I am Trees, your daughter! He had not recognized her. This incident later greatly affected her during her illness.

So we were reunited again!.

Letter from Lidy to her father from the Carolus Borromeus hospital, after the liberation.

Dear Daddy,

With the transport from Tjideng, some sisters have come along. And then Trees asked Dr. Postma if she could come with us. And she was allowed. So Trees has been with us for quite some time, nice isn't it, Daddy! Daddy, the children who didn't have a fever were allowed to watch a Mickey Mouse movie late at night. Just like that, in the open air! Daddy, I enjoyed it so much, you know! It was wonderful!

Daddy, we were allowed to confess, nice, yes! And we also went to communion once. Daddy, they are so terribly careful with us here, you know. You're not allowed to walk around the room, you're not allowed to let your legs dangle over the edge of the bed, because otherwise you'll get swollen legs, they say. And you have to stay still on your bed all day long.

We get fish instead of meat here. We had mashed potatoes with carrots. And also a slice of bread with canned beef, delicious, Daddy! In the Tjideng hospital, I had received notes from mommy and I have kept them. Do you still want them as a memento?

We have a nice nurse for our room. Her name is Sister Martha. We still eat abnormally, we never have enough, you know. The nurse says she can keep going to get food for us. I still have soft food because my stomach is not completely well yet.

There are nice children here. It actually doesn't look much like a hospital, because there is so much noise from all the children. Nel still has a fruit diet. In the morning she gets banana or papaya or tomato and usually an egg. In the afternoon some mashed potatoes with tomato and fish. In the evening again mashed potatoes. That's all she's allowed to have. Daddy, I can have solid food now, nice, isn't it!

Klaartje is once again, just like before, a healthy chubby girl, and she just can't stay in her bed

When we had recovered a bit, we went to a house across the hospital. In this house, my father had gathered orphans and half-orphans with others. We were not allowed to play in front of the house, it was too dangerous. Because of the Bersiap time. We were guarded by Sikhs. They were in the service of the British.

I found them impressive with their long beautiful hair and beards. The alarm was sounded three times a day and everyone had to go inside because of the flying bullets. I also got a severe case of mumps there, in addition to my asthma. So I was even more short of breath. It was only then that my brain realized that my mother was no longer there. I missed her very much. The English treated us to a party in their barracks. For this, we were transported in trucks (lying flat on the bottom).

Contact was made with the Netherlands to see where the orphaned children could be placed.

a group of people standing around a wooden structure
a group of people standing around a wooden structure

"The camp is over"