Tjideng Reunion: A Memoir of World War II on Java

About the Book

How did we end up in a Japanese Prison Camp?

When World War II breaks out in Europe and the Nazis occupy their homeland, two Dutch families living in South Africa move to the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia) to contribute to the defense of the colony.

But two years later, they are caught up in the Pacific War which was unleashed to provide Japan with a secure supply of raw materials.

The Japanese occupy Java and commence a policy of ethnic cleansing. The two men are interned leaving the women to fend for themselves. Several months later the women are also forced out of their homes and the story follows them as well as a child and a grandmother through almost four years of increasingly hellish internment in Bandoeng and Batavia. The young women have no idea of the fate of their husbands.

Both families survive and return to South Africa as refugees. The Japanese Prison Camp experience on Java gives them forebodings about developments in that country. They leave in 1951.


Tjideng Reunion: A Memoir of WWII on Java is told against the backdrop of the dramatic political and military events that unfolded around the two families and changed the course of their lives. Maps and illustrations are included.


Prologue: April 1990

  1. May 10, 1940
  2. To Java
  3. We Settle In
  4. War
  5. Tjihapit
  6. Harada Clamps Down
  7. Prisoner of War
  8. Transportation
  9. Tjideng
  10. My Father Returns
  11. Farewell Tjideng
  12. Refugees
  13. Tourists
  14. In the Old Transvaal

Epilogue, Glossary, Bibliography

About the Author

Boudewyn van Oort was born in South Africa, and after the war was educated in South Africa and Canada (Carleton University, Geology). A Rhodes Scholar, he studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford, subsequently pursuing an engineering career in the oil and gas industry. Now retired, he lives in Victoria with his wife and daughter. Without extensive research to describe the social and political environment in which this family tale unfolded, the tale would have made no sense. The author was assisted in this task, not only by friends who shared these experiences, but also by historians and archivists in South Africa, Australia, the Netherlands and England. Japanese war diaries were consulted and translated.

TJIDENG REUNION: A Memoir of WWII on Java (revised edition)
 ISBN: 978-0-9920623-0-9
 Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
 Pages: 484  Size: 6 x 9 inches
 Includes Maps, illustrations, Bibliography
Publisher: Boudewyn van Oort, Victoria (2013)

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