When the Netherlands was overrun by the Germans in 1940, the Dutch East Indies was cut off from the motherland. In 1942, the Dutch colony was occupied by Japan. Over 140,000 colonists and soldiers were imprisoned in hundreds of camps, cut off from the outside world for three years. Visual records of the camps nearly always deal with events after the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945. But we are able to glimpse life inside the Japanese camps through the prisoners’ drawings.
Eva Sandor, Latrines
Grondelle Corrie van, 1943. Caption: “I’ll let him get directly in Office!”
Grondelle Corrie van, 1943
Lancée L. 1944
‘Beware of troop movement ‘b y P. van Bergen and anonymous on the Burma-Siam railway 1942-1945
By J. Boesveld
‘At the beginning of the war there was enough food, but gradually the food was worse. All the food was lacking. In most camps food was cooked in a soup kitchen in large food drums. Tasks like creating fire, water cooking, cleaning vegetables, cook and distribute food among the kitchen chores. The portions were weighed exactly.’ By Gabriëlse Johan. 1944
Burki Charles, 1942
Burki Charles,1943. “Preparing for the cabaret, Bandung 1943.”
Burki Charles, 1942
Burki Charles, 1945
By Johan Warmer, 1944
The ovens (made of water tanks) – our third roll (baked by Ten Wolde) – by Warmer Johan, 1943
By Weber Fried
Cornelis van Steenwijk, self portrait
creator: Warmer Johan
1942 – 1943
Pen drawing of a tjikar with a coffin on it, make two buffaloes and four men behind it. Bottom right text: “freely adapted with permission.” The total number of deaths in Kesilir was 82.
Cornelius van Steenwijk, Jan 1944
Appeal morning. For the open bedroom door is a very winter-dressed person, likely a guard. The room occupant bows to him. There are two beds, a shelf and a folded beach chair in the room. Text: “Hoten (Manchuria) Generals Cream Roll Call idjo Arimagen.”. H. Fremery 04/09/45
Warmer Johan’s pen drawing of a barracks at Kesilir camp. Such barracks were 20 x 6 meters and offered shelter to fifty people.