WILL THEY EVER LEARN? – Comfort Women / Sex Slaves
Around January 1944, a number of young women were forcibly removed from our concentration camp in central Java, Camp Moentilan (Muntilan), to serve as comfort women / sex slaves. This was all hush-hush as far as we children were concerned and nobody used the word “sex”, but we had a good inkling of what was happening.
Jan Ruff – O’Herne was in another concentration camp in central Java, Ambarawa, very near our last camp, and she also was forcibly seized. She was barely 21 at that time.
Her photo must have been taken just before the Japanese Army invaded Java. She would have been 19.
This is a summary of the testimony of Jan Ruff – O’Herne before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U. S. House of Representatives in February 2007:
“Many stories have been told about the horrors, brutalities, suffering and starvation of Dutch women in Japanese prison camps. But one story was never told, the most shameful story of the worst human rights abuse committed by the Japanese during World War II: The story of the “Comfort Women,” the jugun ianfu, and how these women were forcibly seized against their will, to provide sexual services for the Japanese Imperial Army. In the so-called “Comfort Station” I was systematically beaten and raped day and night. Even the Japanese doctor raped me each time he visited the brothel to examine us for venereal disease.”
My mother and I, her sister and her two children were in Camp Moentilan, where my mother and her sister were abused in the church on the property by the Japanese military. We were transferred to Banjoebiroe 10 at the beginning of August, were we were supposed to be liquidated, rumors had said. We were in Banjoebiroe 10 camp until November 26,1945 when we were finally taken on trucks to Semarang where my mother spend three months in hospital and I was put in an orphanage. I wrote a book “I Thought You Should Know” which was published in November 2010 under my maiden name Tetske T. van der Wal. My father died on the Birma Rail Road on September 18,1943, which my mother found out in March 1946, from a friend who survived. He brought some belongings from my father, including his wallet with a few Japanese notes in it. I am glad to see your articles. Thank you so much. I had never seen the photo’s you published.
Every second Tuesday of the month in The Hague a demonstration takes place in front of the Japanese Embassy. I live in Canada but once a year my husband and I are in The Netherlands and join this group. I write the petitions on my blog every month and I wonder if I could use the picture’s you published one day on my blog. Looking forward to see more of your articles.
Very interesting, Thea, and thank you for your comments. It seems that you and I were in the same camps on Java at the same time and that we have one more thing in common. My father also was a POW who worked on the Burma Rail Road but we never talked about it. He survived the completion of it and was transported to Japan in (literally in – down in the hold) of one of the “Hell Ships” to slave in a coal mine in Japan on Kyushu, some 90 miles north of Nagasaki. I just learned from a Dutch Government database that the name of that camp was Nakama Fukuoka #21. I am sorry to hear that your father died in Thailand and that you never had a chance to know him.
I am impressed that you wrote your memoir and had it published. I will not be able to read it immediately as I decided before I started to write my book that I would not read any books, including history books, on the same subject. Memory is such a fragile thing and I did not want to risk that what I “remembered” from my childhood during WW2 would turn out to be a shred of someone else’s memory. I will read your book as soon as I finish my manuscript and will recommend it to others in the meantime.
I purchased the rights to the photos on my web site but I would love to make it possible for you to use them on your Blog. I will contact you about that by email. Your Blog is very appealing and has striking visuals.
Tremendous issues here. I’m very pleased to see your articles.
Thank you so much.
Hey there, just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
The text in your article seems to be running off the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I
figured I’d post to let you know.
The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed
Thank you Alexandra. We will have to look into this and fix it.