Hartley Cartoon Book
The Hartley Cartoon Book provides a humorous and informative account of Tjimahi (Cimahi) camp life. This covers the three-and- half years of internment suffered by Mr Hartley along with my father and his ten thousand companions, mainly civilian men and boys.
The book was published in Amsterdam in 1947 by the Amsterdamsche boek en Courantmaatschappij N.V.. The proceeds from book sales were 100% earmarked for the Stichting 1940-1945 ( a foundation) . A further indication of Mr Hartley’s positive outlook on life is the English poem presented with the Foreword. The poem is probably written by Mr Hartley himself.
A bit of grief, a bit of cheer / Happiness , a laugh and a tear / That’s the nature of Life
But to look in the darkest days / Towards the light and laugh always / That’s the art of living
Mr M. G. Hartley bears this philosophy out in his work. The Hartley Book, titled Myn Kamp, maar niet door Hitler ( my camp but not by Hitler) contains 121 cartoons covering the period of internment from about july 1942 until September 1945. His cartoons poke fun at friends and foe alike, at the Japanese soldiers drunk with their power, the rule-bound Dutch camp managers and the Indonesians suddenly elevated to unexpected positions of dominance over the Europeans. A lot of it is gallow’s humour, but there is no bitterness.
Presented here is the last cartoon in the book. It depicts Mr Hartley (??) surreptitiously escaping from the Tjimahi prison camp, also referred to as “Grand Hotel Tjimahi. “Tabe” is the Malay ( or Behassa”) for “Good bye”.
Contribution to the writing of Tjideng Reunion
For the writing of the book, Tjideng Reunion, Mr Hartley’s cartoons provided some valuable information. This applied particularly to our internment period in Bandung (January 1943- April 1945), when from time to time there was a degree of human interaction between the internees of the women’s and children’s camp (Tjihapit) and the internees of Tjimahi men’s camp ten kilometers to the west, in the prewar garrison town of that name (Cimahi in today’s spelling).
Mr Hartley’s son, Donald, writes the following:
“Mervyn Gilbert Hartley, the author of the book Myn Kamp of which both my sisters, Hope Hartley, Gillian Hartley and myself have a copy. After the war we were lucky to move out to Southampton by boat and from there to Amsterdam in Holland. From Holland we emigrated in 1952 to Argentina to the most northern province called Jujuy, where my father being a sugar technologist worked for many years in a sugar factory named Ingenio La Esperanza.
Of course we have heard many stories about the camp life, from where all of us, after almost four years under the ruling of the Japanese, survived and were able to gather again and start a new life in Holland” …..and Argentina.