Tokyo Tribunal evidence on Tjideng
At the International Military tribunal for the Far East Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas J.D. Read-Collins provided evidence about the deplorable prison camp conditions on Java. The book, Tjideng Reunion, records his arrival in Batavia heading the RAPWI task force on September 12 1945. ( Page 344).
Prison camp conditions
Noteworthy are the comments made by Read Collins about the contrasting psychological conditions in the men’s as opposed to the women’s camps. The whole internment process was far harsher on women than on men. Aside from Read Collins’s views once can probably add a number of other factors, such as the attitude of the Japanese military personnel, forced into a gender situation that was heavily charged with moral and ethical conflicts. For a soldier to be placed in charge of women and children is not a career enhancing responsibility.
Another interesting point is the contrast between the description of the camp conditions as recorded by various authors ( myself included) and the more graphic account of Read-Collins, who visited the camps after minor improvements had been made. Camp dwellers focus more on the atrocious actions that occurred leading to the deplorable conditions, but were incapable of describing the stages of a steadily deteriorating environment . It was the Japanese actions they focus on , not the results, to which they had grown accustomed. Read -Collins did not witnessed the actions, but just was shocked by the results.
Tjideng probably was not the worst camp on Java. Conditions in Lampersari, a camp in Mid Java seem to have been far worse, a condition probably assisted by the relative inaccessibility to the limited Allied personnel.