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Japanese Internment Camp

This prewar map shows the surroundings of Bandoeng (Bandung). It is dated around 1937.

The Tjihapit district lay along the north eastern edge of town.
Included in the book, Tjideng Reunion, is this detailed map of the camp itself.

To clarify the position of the camp, comparison of the two images makes the location obvious because of the curious road layout.

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What follows is a short description of some of the statistical data I collected and refer to in my book, Tjideng Reunion.

Internment of Europeans on Java during the Pacific War (1941-1945)

Japan justified its major offensive of Dec 1941 in part on a desire to rid Asia of European influence. But an equally strong policy objective was achievement of economic hegemony, most importantly by securing control over the petroleum resources of Indonesia. In Java these two policy objectives clashed, because the economy of Indonesia had been managed by the European and Europeanized sector of the population.

The book Tjideng Reunion discusses how these policy clashes manifested itself with resultant misery for all inhabitants of Java The process of selective incarceration over time of Europeans is presented in the following graph.

This graph provides an overview of the Japanese internment history on Java. The source of the data presented is the Geillustreerde Atlas van de Japanse Kampen in Nederlands Indie 1942-1945,(J van Dulm, W.J. Krijgsveld, H.J. Legemaate, H.A.M. Liesker G Weijers, Asia Maior, 2000).

The decreasing numbers of interned military personnel over time evident from the above graph, reflected the Japanese High Command policy of using these manpower resources as slave labour elsewhere in the occupied territories and within Japan itself. The field labeled “net transport” is an aggregation of the data that has been assembled of military personnel (mainly) being shipped out of Java. The other fields attempt to aggregate the remaining interned population.

Internment was almost exclusively based on ethnic considerations, although in Bandoeng a number of civilians of mixed race were also imprisoned. The author is unaware of accurate records covering the entire war time period. What is presented in the Atlas is clearly an attempt at reconstruction from fragmentary information. For the Indonesian part of the population almost no data related to internment or slave labour is available at all.

The casualty rate associated with the internment process and the slave labour aspect is poorly defined. The Junyo Maru incident described in the book Tjideng Reunion is merely one such disaster.

 

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Sone Tribunal
Sone Tribunal

Sone, our Camp Commandant on trial for war crimes in Singapore. He was convicted and executed.

Photo from NIOD ( Netherlands Institute of War Documentation)

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Trivelli House

This is a typical house on the main street of Tjideng camp.

These images give an impression of our living conditions. Trivelli was the name of the street. Today it is called Jalan Tanah Abang 2.

This is the sort of house we occupied in Tjideng along with another 110 occupants. This was a better type of home, located along the mainstreet through the camp. The picture was taken by Mr Ripassa, a Eurasian photographer who had remained at liberty throughout the war, and after September 2, when the cease fire was signed, visited Tjideng

Trivelli House
Trivelli House 2

This house is probably number 93. Note the potties and makeshift sun shade, probably plundered after the war from the camp wall.

Photos from NIOD ( Netherlands Institute of War Documentation)

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Room of Women in Tjideng Camp

In the Tjideng camp, houses that had been designed to accommodate a normal family now held well in excess of 100 women and children. There are claims that some houses accommodated (a euphemism under the circumstances) as many as 150.  Aside from the complete collapse of hygiene with the resulting onslaught of dysentery and a host of other diseases, there was a complete lack of privacy.

Mothers and Children in Tjideng Camp

Mothers and Children in Tjideng Camp

These people were thus assaulted both physically and mentally, and many never recovered after the war when once more they were fed. We were lucky that we missed the monsoon season, when flooding of the low lying and poorly drained coastal land where Tjideng was situated, added another dimension of misery and suffering.

Photos from NIOD ( Netherlands Institute of War Documentation)

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Tjideng Camp Gate, 1945
Tjideng Camp Gate, 1945

This picture appears on the front cover of the book, Tjideng Reunion. It shows the Tjideng camp gate shortly after the war was declared over ( August 23, 1945) when the first curious visitors from Batavia came to see what lay behind the mysterious Bamboo wall from where so many dead emerged. The author and his mother may well be among the crowd of curious internees looking out onto the much changed outside world.

Photo from NIOD ( Netherlands Institute of War Documentation)

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Cartoon by Hartley (1942-1945)

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Dress Rehearsal
Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal: Prior to the first group of internees being shipped out of Tjihapit for destinations unknown to themselves, the Japanese Camp Commandant needed to satisfy himself that no forbidden items such as books of any description remained in the possession of internees, and that the weight limit of luggage was not exceeded. Hence a dry run (or dress rehearsal) was organized.

A cartoon of Tjihapit life drawn by Adri Bontekoe

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Murui and Tetsuka Dressed as Women
Murui and Tetsuka Dressed as Women

Murui and Tetsuka, two Japanese guards, tried to lay a trap for catching women conducting forbidden trade for food through the bamboo camp wall.

A cartoon of Tjihapit life drawn by Adri Bontekoe

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Appel or Tenko
Appel or Tenko

Appel or Tenko: When we came under direct Japanese military supervision twice daily headcounts were conducted. This became a source of immense frustration and always was accompanied by confusion.

A cartoon of Tjihapit life drawn by Adri Bontekoe

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