My mother passed away in 2003. She never spoke about her time in Japanese prison camp. All she told me about, were the good memories about her time in the East Indies.I was only 5 years old when we returned from the East Indies. I cannot remember much about that time. But somewhere deep inside me there were dark spots, which I could not place. Some times I asked my mother about it. She always brushed me off. She always made me believe that what I asked her about the Dutch Indies were bad dreams.When she passed away in 2003 and my stepfather followed her 6 weeks later, we found a pouch hidden away with all these letters, photographs among other things, all memories from the Dutch Indies.I looked and read some of these and all of a sudden the memories came flooding back.I became almost hysterical and cried and cried. I could not stop. I remembered all of a sudden, that I had been sitting on the stairs every time my aunt( my mothers sister) was over on holidays and had been listening to their stories about the Dutch Indies.Everything came back to me. I had heard some terrible things. I did not understand some of it. The first time I heard them talking about their life in Japanese prison camp I was only 12 years old.As a child you cannot understand, you think that they are not talking about themselves. The second time I heard some more stories I started to put it together. I was listening to them sitting in my hiding place and I heard them talking about my birth father. I blocked it out, this is not true, I have a father who I love dearly. All this is not true, it cannot be true. Things like what I heard do not happen only in books and radio stories and in the movie theaters. In those days we did not have TV yet. All those years I kept it a secret, because I did not wanted it to be true.Sometimes in my school years things were coming up,because I called myself Thea Molenaar, my step-fathers name. When I went to a new school the teacher questioned me about it. He said to me;' why are you writing on your books that your name is Thea Molenaar your name is Thea van der Wal'. I was screaming at him that it was not true. My name was Thea Molenaar and I cried and cried. Children are always the victims.Now I am older I can understand how traumatic it can be for children, and all of a sudden I realize that I am one of those.
The Hague, 21 November 1945,
To the children who were interned,
Finally I will be able to tell you, that I thought about you a lot during that scary time, when the Japanese locked you up in these camps and where you were so badly treated.
I have been told about your spirits and your willingness to help your mother and father.
Dear children, I am so proud of you, proud about how brave you have been and how difficult it must have been. With your inner strength you have been an inspiration for all of us.
Now I wish you all a happier future.
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