Camp children refers to the children who were incarcerated in the former Netherlands East Indies by the Imperial Japanese Army of occupation during the Pacific War of 1941-1945. For the purposes of this discussion these children were born after 1 January 1927 and before December 1942. These children fall into three categories broadly affecting their post war fate. Children born between 1927 and 1932 emerged as refugees with seriously interrupted Secondary education. Those born between 1933 and 1939 had a post war opportunity to make good the missed education. Children born after 1939 may have had no obvious educational interruption, but suffered from serious malnutrition at a critical stage of their development. All children probably suffered from some form of PTSD that affected their adult life.
It seems that male children suffered the most because of the Incarceration policies implemented by the Japanese army. Army regulations defined a male as a person who had attained the age of ten years. This implied that male children initially incarcerated with their mothers were from time to time winnowed out of the women’s and children’s camps and sent elsewhere, either to pre-existing men’s camps or to boys camps. Almost no attempt was made to ensure preservation of family ties. The boys thus separated were frequently used as slave labour while those who remained in the women’s and children’s camps became aware of the threat they face upon reaching the age of ten. This topic was sadly neglected by the PhD thesis of Dr van Velden, published in 1961
Dr Stutterheim’s diary describes in some detail conditions in a boys camp