Please help me get this story told

In today’s topsy-turvy book publishing industry it does not matter that you have written the most compelling, forceful, soaring, and moving novel or memoir with sharply etched characters, displaying deep wisdom of the nature of human beings. No publisher will look at you unless you have a successful social media presence, what they call a “platform”, with a soaring number of followers.

I can do that but only with your support. Here is how:

  • It is all about comments that readers (you!) make in response to my blogs and in response to other people’s comments about the blogs …….
  • So, if you like the subject of with nothing but our lives and what my web site represents, please help the cause by making a comment about the web site and/or the book by scrolling to the bottom past the previous Comments and using the Leave a comment feature – I have created it for this very purpose.
  • Please leave comments about other blogs as well. Do you like the subject? Do you agree with it? Do you disagree with it? Would you like me the cover it more in depth? Do you agree with an earlier comment? Please use the Leave a comment feature below the Blog.

Let me put your mind at ease if you are concerned that the information you provide
will become public:

Only the name you enter will be shown on the web site – the rest of your information
will remain safe with me.

Thank you for your help in getting this story told.

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29 Responses to “Please help me get this story told”

  1. Sharon Boyer, San Diego August 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Leo, I am pleased to be the first one to write a comment about your book and your web site.

    I started reading about you and couldn’t stop. I read all the descriptions on the photos and viewed the photos. It made me cry! Now I am convinced more than ever that your book is going to be a very precious gift to all that read it. I am glad you are finally making it happen.

    I just read “The Only Well” again. It really touches your heart. I can visualize you sitting there working on that ulcer and being fearful of getting caught. You are telling an amazing story and the words and visuals on your web site are making your story beautifully told. I can’t wait to read the entire book!

    I am amazed at what you have accomplished in your lifetime and admire you so much!

    • Leo Keukens August 20, 2013 at 12:07 am #

      Thank you for your lovely comments, Sharon.

      I am pleased that you are indeed the first one to respond to my “Help me get this story told” Blog.


  2. Juliette Robin August 21, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    This is an amazing story. I’ve been trying to do additional research myself to learn more about it but there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there. I do hope you get this story out. It needs to be told.

    • Leo Keukens August 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Thank you Juliette. It is indeed hard to believe that a story such as this is covered by cobwebs in a far corner of the attic that holds the memories of WWII in South East Asia.


  3. chatroulette August 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Very good blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any tips? Many thanks!

    • Leo Keukens August 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      Yes, there are indeed so many ways to go that it is easy to get confused. I would start with paid WordPress as that gives you the option to start with a blog with all the tools and later expand to a full web site as I have.


  4. Jim Wilmer August 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    This is a most amazing story, told by a most amazing man. Linda and I have had the pleasure and honor of knowing Leo and Billye for the past three years in Santa Fe. If you are at all interested in the untold stories of human struggle and the determination of the strong-willed, then you should follow Leo and his journey to tell his story, “with nothing but our lives

    • Leo Keukens August 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Thank you, Jim.

      I appreciate your heartfelt comments and putting your finger on the essence of the story, the power of hope and determination.


  5. Marlys White, Santa Fe, NM August 24, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    A friend sent me information about your book and your web site. I found it extremely interesting and admire your courage and dedication to getting your life story out. Keep up the great job you are doing. Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t wait to read your book.

    • Leo Keukens August 25, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

      Thank you for your encouragement, Marlys.


  6. Melaine Castellanos August 27, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    I’m extremely impressed along with your writing abilities and also with the format in your blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a great blog like this one these days..

    • Leo Keukens August 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Thank you for your comments regarding the quality of my blog posts. To answer your flattering question, yes I write all of them myself except in the few instances when I indicate I am quoting another source.


  7. Peter Visser, South Africa September 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Hi Leo,
    Your book will be of particular interest to me as I was also interned as a young boy. I was in Tjideng, Kramat and by war’s end Kampong Makassar. I was 2 years old when first interned and 5 liberated. I, too, am writing a story about those awful years but only for my younger siblings and their families and my grand- and great-grandchildren. My parents never talked much about their experiences while they were alive and I came across your site during my research. I’d like to know more about you – perhaps we may even have known each other back then!

    • Leo Keukens September 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      I am glad you found my web site, Peter. Like most families, my family did not talk much about their camp experiences either. Few people did. Why would they? As all adults and boys older than 10 – 11 were in different camps, most members of a family had their own traumatic story.

      I understand that Tjideng indeed was an awful camp, even for someone only 3 – 4 years old like you were then. My camps were on the opposite end of Java: Soerabaja (Surabaya), Moentilan (Muntilan) and Banjoebiru (Banyubiru).


  8. David Richards September 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Leo, I’m anxiously awaiting the book. This is a fascinating topic and your first-hand experience is invaluable. I’m curious as to your thoughts or plans on the delivery of the book itself, with so many different avenues available these days. Best wishes, David

    • Leo Keukens September 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      Thanks, David.

      Good question. My present plan is to have the book published the old fashioned way, by a publishing house using an agent. Considering the amount of professional interest that I have received so far I have high hopes of being able to accomplish that. If this does not come about quickly enough, however, I intend to use one of the other avenues that provide the highest quality. One way or the other, I hope you won’t have to wait too long.


  9. Arnoldo Gladney October 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Hi there! This article could not be written much better!
    Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always talked about this. I will send this information to him.
    Fairly certain he’ll have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Tetske January 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    First I like to thank you for writing your story. Not many books and films are made about this subject. There are so many things missing about this part of WW2 history. It always seems like that there was only one Second World War in Europe and little about the war in the Pacific, and nothing about the war in East and Southeast Asia. Not many people know it was a global tragedy which started in Asia in 1931 with Japan’s invasion of Manchuria. As Werner Gruhl tells in his book that this was very likely the beginning of World War Two. When you say Holocaust, people immediately connect it with the Jews and Nazi Germany. Little is known about the other holocaust committed by Japan.
    My mother and I, her sister and two children were in camp Moentilan and later in Banjoebiroe 10. It seems like we have been in the same camps on Java. My memoirs were published in 2010, “I Thought You Should Know” is the title. I wrote my memoir for my children, who told me that I should publish it. I live in Canada but was born in the former Dutch Indies in Bandoeng. Every year we visit The Netherlands for a month and participate in a demonstration which takes place every second Tuesday of the month in front of the Japanese Embassy in The Hague. I meet so many interested people. Japan is very arrogant and the new PM Shinzo Abe likes to take back the few excuses they made about the atrocities they inflicted during WW2 . He likes to take back the unofficial excuses from Japan’s past. He is well known as the most supra-nationalist ever. The more books about this subject the merrier. There has been silence long enough.

    • Leo Keukens January 25, 2014 at 6:29 am #

      Thank you for your further comments, Thea. You are right, the part of history that we lived, WWII in Southeast Asia, is something of which very few people have any inkling. I believe the reason is that we were liberated in one fell swoop by the atomic bombs with no Allied troops within two thousand miles, leaving a total void. No gradual liberation of the concentration camps by American Armies closely followed by reporters, photographers and film reporters recording the appalling scenes, as happened in Europe. No photo ops with American Generals. No photo coverage in American newspapers and magazines. The first Allied (English) troops did not land on Java till more than 2 months after the War was over. The War was no longer news by then.
      Please don’t get me started on the subject of the attitude of the Japanese towards the atrocities that they committed during WW2 and even before WW2 started. I have many stories to tell, including conversations with Japanese exchange students in California in the 1960’s and 1970’s. There will be a time to deal with that after my book is finished.

      • Tetske February 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

        Hi Leo,
        Memories are there to be transmitted, they have to be shared, it would be a shame if we would not share them because they will be forever lost. Today the demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy is taking place again in The Hague. A dear friend of mine is participating every second Tuesday of the month. She travels from Tilburg to The Hague and is 87 years old. She was like me in Banjoebiroe 10, her name you might know is Elizabeth van Kampen.

        My mother passed away in 2003 and I would have liked to ask her so many questions. Although I always did and she always denied my questions which were in my head. She and her sister were abused by the Japanese in camp Moentilan and in all places in the church on this property. I sat outside waiting for her to come out. I always remember her crying, and as a 4 year old I would ask her if she had been a bad girl and had received a spanking. Now I understand what happened in that church and to my mother and her sister. We were transferred to Banjoebiroe at the end of July beginning of August. Rumors said that we would be killed. We did not leave Banjoebiroe until the end of November and were in the same transport as Elizabeth van Kampen and her mother and two sisters. Our mothers were very sick and barely survived. I spend three months in a convent because my mother was in hospital. Later we were taken to Bandoeng to the Java Center were my mother met a friend of my father who survived the ordeal on the Birma railroad. My father did not make it. It’s very hard not get emotional, when I think about how my mother and her sister have suffered during that time and tried to keep us children alive. My mother’s sister’s husband died on the 016 submarine two weeks after The Netherlands had declared war to Japan, his name Tobias van Driel. One person survived his name was Cornelis Wolf he swam for 38 hours and visited my aunt in Surabaja. Her husband and Cornelis Wolf were friends.My mother’s sister was pregnant and gave birth 5 months later to a little girl. In October 1942 we were taken to Moentilan concentration camp.

        Today I will receive petition 231 and will put it on my blog again,
        All the best with your book and greeting from Thea

  11. Remco April 6, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Hi Leo,

    I hope your book will be published, stories like yours are an important part of our history, history we should never forget.


    • Leo Keukens April 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

      Hartelijk bedankt, Remco. Thanks for your support. I agree and I will do my best to have the book finished by July. Please spread the word – every little bit helps.


  12. Tanah April 12, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    Hi Leo,

    My Mother Emmarie Goudriaan was in a Japanese concentration camp on Java in 1942 with her Mother and 2 younger sisters….My mother was 5 yrs old. Her Father Hank Goudriaan was in different concentration camp on Java. We have photos of life in Java before and after concentration camp. My Grandmother was full Dutch and My Grandfather was Dutch Indonesian and ran a coffee plantation on Java before the concentration camp.
    These are the first pictures I have seen of the concentration camps…they are truly amazing.

    I am excited to hear your story…


    • Leo Keukens April 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

      I am glad you found your way to my web site, Tanah.

      Yes, we are lucky to have these rare pictures that were taken 5 weeks after the end of the War. There are no pictures whatsoever of our first concentration camp, Moentilan (Muntilan).


  13. Dorothy July 7, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Dear Leo,
    I just stumbled onto this site by chance. Tanah, the woman who commented above, is my niece. I was startled to find the pictures of the camp, Banjoebiroe. I was in that camp with my sisters Emmarie and Nita and our mother Maria. Wow, pretty awesome. Will check them out more tomorrow. Thank you.

    • Leo Keukens July 12, 2014 at 1:56 am #

      This is a rare coincidence, Dorothy. I hope that you will be able to spend more time on my site and share with us any memories that you may have. I also hope that you use this opportunity to get together with your niece.


  14. E. de Knoop February 15, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Hello Leo,
    I came across this website looking for information on Banjoebiroe 10 where my grandmother and her 3 young children (my father and his 2 sisters) were held prison. It is good but also very hard for me to see under what conditions they were living. I found out they were in a room nr. 23 together with many others.

    I will definitely try to find your book to add to my collection because this can never be forgotten.

    Greetings from Holland.

    • Leo Keukens February 15, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

      Hello to Rotterdam, Holland. Good to hear from you. Thank you.

      I hear frequently from people who are second and third generation, telling me or wanting to know about the experience of their parents or grandparents in the concentration camps under the Japanese on Java during WWII. Are your father and your aunts still alive? Any of the 3? I hope so.

      I indeed was in Camp Banjoebiroe 10 during the last month of the war, in a new section added to the Camp to house the 2,000 additional people transferred from Moentilan. I remember very well the original section where your grandmother and your father and aunts were housed. Number 26 was a large room (one of three like it) located next to an open area near the water well that you see in the photograph on the right bottom of the Home Page. The water of that well saved my live. CLICK HERE

      Please stay in touch and check my website so you will learn firsthand when my book is finished.

      • E. de Knoop March 1, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

        Dear Mr. Keukens,
        Thank you for your response. My father and his older sister are alive (Thank God) and I recently spoke to my aunt about her memories of Banjoebiroe. However she says they were never in a larger room with more people, not before nor after the japanese left.They were in a cell with the 4 of them and also looking at the drawn map that is online, she says they had to turn right to enter their ‘room’ while on the map it seems like turning left. Also she said there were no trees and bushes as drawn there. But she will think and look at it again she said. I wrote/write down all she told/tells me as this should never become a forgotten part of Dutch history.

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