There are no family photographs, only memories. Memories of a five-year old imprisoned by Japanese soldiers. Memories of love, courage and most of all hope. Hope that there was a God who would walk through the valley of death, known as WWII, with her. And He did.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
War Comes Home
These are the first stories my mom can remember as we try to put the pieces of her life all in order. Information of dates, times and places are still sketchy but I can feel it come together. She does want to make it clear that she harbors no anger against the Japanese or the Indonesian people. These are her earliest memories . . .
Japanese soldiers came today. They took my Pappie and Opa away. Mom won’t tell us where they’ve been taken, only that we will see them again. She’s a good Christian woman but today she told a lie—maybe even two. I don’t think we’ll see Pappie and Opa again, for one, and she also said that my older brother was only ten years old. He’s really twelve. Though I do think that God will forgive her because that lie allowed us to keep our brother home, it was still a lie. I don’t like what this war has done to all of us.
The Japanese soldier in charge said that we were not to leave our house. If we did they had the right to shoot us. I’m not quite sure who gave them that right but I believe they really will shoot us and without one feeling of guilt. So we are under house arrest, I think that’s what adults call it.
Most of the Dutch soldiers left before the Japanese soldiers came to Soerabaja. We could have used their help. Some of them stayed. Unfortunately most of them were captured and killed. I don’t understand all this killing. What is it we have done to make them so mad?
I learned in Sunday school that we are to love our enemies. This is hard to do for me, but I know I must try. Furthermore, it seems that if we are to get back to Sunday school we will have to break the new law—all Indonesian people must stay inside their homes. Like most kids, I thought it would be exciting to be known as a criminal, but it really isn’t fun at all. Let me explain.
A few days locked up in our house was enough to drive a normal person a little crazy, especially when you have to share everything with your sister and brothers. Mammie announced that this was the night we were going to leave the house for a few hours. “We’re going to church,” she said.
We were very happy, indeed, but we were ill prepared for what was coming.