The Flamboya Tree

This is a book dealing with a woman's imprisonment in a Japanese internment camp. It starts out explaining what the Japanese victories were and how they decided to start locking up civilians in internment camps. The men went to a men's camp and the women and young children went to a woman's camp.

The book is about Clara who was a girl and ended up in a camp with her mother. Around 85,000 non-Javanese ended up in the various internment/concentration camps. Clara and her mother ended up in a camp run by a sadistic Japanese soldier whose apparent approach was to let the prisoners starve to death.

The story covers from her time in Holland to her mother's move to Java and the growing Japanese menace and how she and her mother ended up in a Japanese camp. She notes that the Japanese demanded that every order they gave be obeyed immediately and that the Japanese be shown respect. She then describes what they did in the camp and how like, in other books on the same subject, obtaining food became a major concern of almost all the prisoners.

The women in the camp were also expected to do work which was quite difficult considering how their physical conditions kept getting worse. They are given less and less food and the situation got even worse. Even when the war ended and they were released from the camps they faced threats from the guerrilla fighters who hated the Dutch and the English for their colonial ways.

It's similar to other books (also good) in that it shows just how sadistic the Japanese soldiers could be, how they considered everyone else below them and how they had no concern at all for anyone who has surrendered or has been taken prisoner.

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