Diary of Prisoner 17326

Diary of Prisoner 17326

A Boy's Life in a Japanese Labor Camp

In this moving memoir a young man comes of age in an age of violence, brutality, and war. Recounting his experiences during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, this account brings to life the shocking day-to-day conditions in a Japanese labor camp and provides an intimate look at the collapse of Dutch colonial rule.

As a boy growing up on the island of Java, John Stutterheim spent hours exploring his exotic surroundings, taking walks with his younger brother and dachshund along winding jungle roads. His father, a government accountant, would grumble at the pro-German newspaper and from time to time entertain the family with his singing. It was a fairly typical life for a colonial family in the Dutch East Indies, and a peaceful and happy childhood for young John. But at the age of 14 it would all be irrevocably shattered by the Japanese invasion.

With the surrender of Java in 1942, John’s father was taken prisoner. For over three years the family would not know if he was alive or dead. Soon thereafter, John, his younger brother, and his mother were imprisoned. A year later he and his brother were moved to a forced labor camp for boys, where they toiled under the fierce sun while disease and starvation slowly took their toll, all the while suspecting they would soon be killed.

Throughout all of these travails, John kept a secret diary hidden in his handmade mattress, and his memories now offer a unique perspective on an often overlooked episode of World War II. What emerges is a compelling story of a young man caught up in the machinations of a global war—struggling to survive in the face of horrible brutality, struggling to care for his disease-wracked brother, and struggling to put his family back together. It is a story that must not be forgotten.

  • Cover
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. A Teenaged Prisoner of Japan, No. 17326
  • Chapter 2. Discovering Java
  • Chapter 3. Malang
  • Chapter 4. Merbaboe Park
  • Chapter 5. War
  • Chapter 6. Uncertain Times in Malang
  • Chapter 7. Kesilir
  • Chapter 8. The Final Days of De Wijk
  • Chapter 9. The Transport
  • Chapter 10. Lampersari
  • Chapter 11. The Benteng
  • Chapter 12. Camp Bangkong
  • Chapter 13. Horseplay
  • Chapter 14. The Diary
  • Chapter 15. The Disease of Despair
  • Chapter 16. Bleak Prospects
  • Chapter 17. Death and Unexpected Freedom
  • Chapter 18. Hidden Dangers
  • Chapter 19. The British
  • Chapter 20. Escape from Hell
  • Chapter 21. A Family Again
  • Chapter 22. Time to Fly
  • Chapter 23. Surabaja Restored
  • Chapter 24. To Holland on Oranje
  • Epilogue
  • Glossary
    • A
    • B
    • C
    • D
    • F
    • G
    • H
    • I
    • K
    • L
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • P
    • R
    • S
    • T
    • V
    • W
    • Y
  • Illustrations


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