Si Rengorengo

Si Rengorengo  

Si Rengorengo  (also called Si Ringo Ringo) was a Japanese prison camp for men and boys , in existence between  1 October 1944 and 31 October 1945.  It was located in uncleared land on the banks of the Bila river  (Soengei Bila) in the Rantauprabat region on the east coast of Sumatra.  The marshy land had been intended for future commercial plantations. The internees were housed in an exceptionally primitive barracks of bamboo and atap (Palm leaf). The boys, some as young as eight years old were moved here In December 1944 from women’s and children’s camps .

The attached sketchmap  is oriented towards the west ( up) and indicates the Bila river on the right. The city of Medan  lies northwest of Si Rengorengo.

The areal photo of the camp was made  on August 31 by an RAF plane based in Ceylon


At the end of the war the camp housed   1710 men and boys, while 120 had died. A feature of the camp was the survival of a hidden camera with about twenty remarkable photographs taken in the camp by J.P.J. Kosak, a press photographer from Java caught in Sumatra by the invasion.  Shortly after this photo was taken a storm demolished one of the flimsy barracks used by the boys.

No lists of names have survived but an newspaper published an account of the plane trip that took this photo.  The internees were evacuated on 2 September to Medan


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