Tjihapit Boek

tjihapit-boekThe Tjihapit Boek constituted the very first attempt  made by camp survivors to capture an account of the traumatic events they had endured between November 1942 and May 1945. In 1994, almost fifty years after the ending of the Pacific War, a reunion of camp survivors was organized in Zwolle, the Netherlands city, where, curiously enough my mother had grown up. This was an attempt to pull together an overview of what had happened during those fateful war time years. Gradually individuals had begun to write and publish their own stories but these strictly personal accounts  were fragmentary, and were based almost entirely on memories.

Before the advent of the internet contacting members of the Tjihapit diaspora was largely a matter of coincidence and then confined to some of those former camp inmates who had found a permanent postwar home in the Netherlands. Those who had sought a postwar life elsewhere, mostly in the USA and the British Commonwealth countries had disappeared. So thoroughly had the world changed that the history of Tjihapit camp was in danger of evaporating like a bad nightmare. This book sought to bring together three aspects of Camp history: Reconstructions, Source material and memories.

For my own work in writing Tjideng Reunion this book provided an invaluable launch pad. Of the three and a half years we were interned, three years were spent in Tjihapit, and yet for this period the least amount of documentation had survived. Without the Tjihapit Boek, my task in providing a reasonably coherent chronology linked to the key military and political events that shaped our existence as prisoners of the Imperial Japanese army would have been immeasurably more difficult.

The book was never properly published and lack an ISBN number. Copies are available for inspection at the NIOD archives in Amsterdam.


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