Song of Survival: Women Interned

Japanese divided their prison camps between camps for the males and camps for the women and children. In virtually all cases the camps were excessively primitive, food was in short supply, medicines were rare, the camp soldiers were nasty and their commandant was excessively nasty and the prisoners died in great numbers from abuse, malnutrition and diseases, among other things.

This book is about a woman named Helen Colijn who was in Sumatra when the war began. The area was quickly overrun by Japanese and few people had a chance to get away. She, with many others, tried to escape via boat but Japanese pilots bombed the boat and strafed the passengers. The Japanese had never signed the Geneva Convention so they pretty much did what they wanted to as far as people fleeing, as far as killing women and children and as far as using torture against both men and women.

She was in a lifeboat with others for a week and not even all of them lived until they landed. It was not long before they were captured by the Japanese and ended up, eventually, in a camp. I won't go into detail there since all the camp books are about the same in just how bad the Japanese treated these women and children who had never really suffered anything that bad in their lives. It's a good book but also as upsetting as the rest to see how these totally innocent women and children were treated.

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