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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Part XVII, Three men against Japan.

Barbaric practices from the Kempetai--The last days in prison camp-- Eleven Dutch men in front of the fire squad---The end of the Tall guy.

Jan was standing staring in the distance, trying to control his terror and his bitter feelings.He stared to the road which you could see from the gate. Suddenly he noticed a convoy of motor-cars followed by trucks,driving in full speed towards the camp.On the trucks were standing and squatting Japanese soldiers and on the roof of each truck stood a machine gun.The gate way swung open and the motor-cars drove into the court yard of the camp, followed by two trucks, the other trucks stopped in front of the gate.
Camp Java

Jans instinct told him that this was it.A calm came over him, and slowly he walked back to the barracks, and gave Smit a stealthy look.The dreaded moment had come. He found his two friends in the same frame of mind. In the mean time the smaller gate which was the entrance into the rubber plantation behind the camp, was guarded by Japanese soldiers.All internees had to ensemble into the court yard, where the air was very hot from the midday sun. In front of the gate were a number of Kempetai and the Dutch camp leaders.Room by room the internees names were called;they were checked over, searched and had to march through the gate into the rubber gardens.

When Jans name was called one of the Kempetai jumped up and pointed at him that he had to step out of the line, at the same moment another Japanese put Jan in handcufs. A third Japanese gave him a punch in the face. Immediately Jan was forced to point out who "captain Smit" was.When Jan answered that he had no idea, they punched him in the face a couple of times.Blood came out of his mouth and he had the feeling that his nose and jaw-bones were shattered.He gave no sign of pain; with a mockery smile he looked the bullies in the face.Short after they took Jan to the main building, to a large room which was heavy guarded, where he saw The Pimpel and the Tall guy.Thank God just the other night they got rid of their guns and had buried them near the river in a deep hole.
Now they were cross examened. Again they asked, who is "captain Smit"? The Kempetai had no idea, because the name Smit was a very common name, there were six at the camp with that name.The three friends kept quiet and alternately they were serious ill-treated.At one moment Jan fell while he suddenly got an unexpected blow in the face.

Immediately the JAPS started to kick him with their heavy boots. Jan kicked as a wild man around him, to keep the torturers at a distance. Jan seized a foot with both hands, which wanted to kick him in the face; out of control and in a rage of self-preservation he bit in the bare leg.Screaming from pain the Jap jerked his foot from Jans hands and kicked him with so much force in the face,that he fell unconscious.When Jan regained consciousness, he noticed a man in the room, who's name was Smit, and he was being severely tortured.It was the former director of the Police academy in Soekaboemi.After some time the Dutch man was able to prove that he was not the Smit they were searching for, and they let him go.Now the concentration and anger of the Japanese turned again at the three-some.In the meantime Smit had heard that the Japanese were looking for him and that his three co-operators because of him were inhumanly mistreated.He reported himself immediately and was brought up in front of the Kempetai-officer, who asked him if he was the same person as Tuindersma, Dutch Captain of general staff. When Smit did not answer right away, one of the Japs hit him with a piece of wood on the head with so much force that the wood broke.Smit staggered, but managed to stay upright his face impassive. He asked if this was their way to handle imprisoned enemy officers; he would, he said proudly, only answer questions if he was treated as an officer.Upon this they handcuffed him and took him to a waiting motor-car. Jan, the Pimpel and the Tall guy were each taken to an individual motor-car.Soldiers with weapons were standing on the foot-boards of the motor-cars and beside each of the men sat a Kempetai-man with his gun pointed at them. Behind the four motor-cars was a truck with about thirty heavy armed soldiers. The convoy moved and in his mind Jan was saying goodbye to nature, the sawah's (rice-fields) the cassava-fiels, the rubber gardens and the blue clear sky, in which the tropical sun was burning.
Beautiful sawah's (rice-fields near Bandoeng. Java
Cassava fields Java

Casava plants
Cassava.Would he ever taste the cassava pudding again?.

Would he ever ride his horse over the rubber plantation again?

How he loved the blue skies and the heat of the sun

The convoy slowly drove through villages and stopped in front of the Kempetai, the former "General secretary's office" in Buitenzorg.

The four prisoners were taken to a bare hall, from which a door looked out at a very long hall-way and on both sides of this hallway were two rows of heavy prison cell doors.A tall, very sturdy Japanese, who would later get the Dutch nickname of "respectable", was the guard of the four men. Each of the men had to stand in a corner of the room.They stood there for a very long time.
Through the window Jan saw the railroad tracks, where he and the Kelter stood while they broke-in into this building not that long ago,though it seemed years ago.He was considering if it was worth to try to jump out the window to freedom, but his hands were tied together, so he was powerless.Dusk was settling, and in the tropics it would be dark soon.Halve a day they stood there, each in a corner, with no food and nothing to drink.Jan's head was swollen, the coagulated blood irritated his skin, and every spot on his body was hurting from internal and external bruises.Exhausted he dropped to the floor.And when the guard ordered him to stand up,all Jan could do was shake his head and said that he was sick and needed some water to drink.While the guard was gone to get some water, the four men made some last agreements.If each of them would keep the agreement, the Kempetai would not be able to find out about the organization.It was probably Slijkhuis, who had betrayed them, but really speaking he did not know much about the organization.Indeed it looked like as if Slijkhuis had named their names, although you could not say that he had betrayed them.He had kept his mouth for a long time while being tortured with many instruments.Not until the Kempetai-men threatened to torture his wife he broke down.
Finally late in the evening a number of non-commissioned officers of the Kempetai walked in and started the hearing.Tuindersma was taken to the room of the commandant,and each of the other three were taken with an officer to a separate room.Jan had regained his composure. In spite of his wounds he walked with an energy and his head high. When he sat opposite his interrogator, he looked him strait and calm in the eyes. The JAP, obvious surprised about this attitude, asked if the blanda (white man)knew what was in store for him! Jan answered that he had seen how they handled their victims and that he was prepared.The Kempetai with a big smirk on his face pointed at the walls, on which a few torture instruments were hanging.On the table between the two men, stood an apparatus, meant to send electric shocks through the body.The JAP looked Jan for a few minutes strait in the eyes and started in English to ask some questions. Jan did not answer, he pointed at his hands and said also in English, that he would not try to escape if they would untie his hands.After a little hesitation the JAP stood up and untied his hands. He asked where Jan was born,which nationality he was and which rank he had in the army. He was surprised to hear that Jan was not an officer but just a simple soldier.Then he asked why Jan slipped out the camp at night, and if he knew something about the weapons which Slijkhuis gave him. Where are they?
The agreement he and his friends had decided on was to answer that they did not know anything about weapons, however they had left the camp at night, just to try to find some food.The JAP became angry and stood up to grab one of the torture instruments.But with all his convincing power Jan assured him that he did not know anything about weapons.If he indeed had smuggled guns into the camp, than the Japanese should have found them; because Jan said; you Japanese are so thorough,Slijkhuis probably had mend something else.His three friends would stand behind him with the same answers.You can torture me whatever you like and how long you want, but that is the answer.So go ahead make my day.
For one moment the JAP wavered and with an inquiry look he looked Jan in the eyes.From that split moment Jan made use to change the subject and took control of the situation.With a look full of hypocrite admiration he pointed at the muscular bundle of the arms from the officer; he asked which sport gave him such muscles? He caught him off guard and this son of Nippon seemed also to be passionate about the sport fencing.The Jap sat down on his chair and started an ample story about his training in the Japanese military and about all the prizes which he had won with fencing. Jan answered that he too loved the sport,he probably was not as good as his interrogator, but he admired the sportsmanship and the qualities of the Japanese soldiers.The officer , nature wise probably was not as peaceable as he was trying to be, started to talk friendly to Jan and said that they should compete each other to see who had the best muscular strength.He pushed the torture machine aside, and both of them put their elbows on the table, grasped each others hand and tightened their muscles.At first slowly Jan let his arm down, but at one point he could not control himself and with all his muscle he pushed the JAPS hand down with ease.The JAP looked at Jan with fright in his eyes, and asked him if the blanda (White man) had been a champion."Indeed," Jan said,"I was an European champion. You can tell your comrades that you won a couple of times from a true-bred champion from Europe." That's when the enthusiasm from the Japanese reached it's highest level.He was ready to go fencing with Jan.They each took a stick and the Japanese attacked the Dutch man with a loud scream, which Jan with a smile on his face warded off, it seemed that the JAP was a moderate fencer, who had soon pulled back in one of the corners of the room.When finally they were seated again at the table, a servant with a tray with ice cold coffee appeared.The officer took a glass from the serving platter and Jan took a glass of this delicious cold drink from the serving platter as well and put it on his lips.Smiling he thanked the Japanese for this gesture and the Japanese could do nothing other then to safe his face,and offer Jan a cigarette too.He asked Jan some insignificant questions and wrote them down in Japanese characters and suddenly told Jan that the hearing was finished.If Jan could make a list from the articles of his possessions , he the officer would make sure that he would receive them.The cell in which Jan was locked up,was dark; he could barely see the faces from his fellow prisoners.When entering the cell and wanted to ask the faces in the dark some questions, a guard snarled that he had to sit down and keep his mouth shut.Later when the guard had disappeared he discovered that he was in a small cell which he shared with some of the organization members from Kelter.He heard that Kelter was still on the run.Looking through a tiny window Jan could see in the court yard of the building.Suddenly he heard the well known voice of his friend the Tall guy, who was howling from pain.It was for sure the voice of his friend and with each howl Jan cringed.

Will continue,

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