Handkerchief embroidered with signatures of Dutch 'Comfort Women' at the 'House of the Seven Seas', Semarang, Java
|Title||Handkerchief embroidered with signatures of Dutch 'Comfort Women' at the 'House of the Seven Seas', Semarang, Java|
|Place made||Netherlands East Indies|
|Date made||Embroidered in February 1944|
|Physical description||White cotton|
|On display||Main building: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 2|
Woman's white cotton handkerchief with a three band border. The edges have been decorated with aqua coloured button-hole stitching. Seven signatures in shades of blue, brown and violet, and the date '26-2-'44', have been executed in stem-stitch embroidery.
Associated with Jan Ruff-O'Herne (nee O'Herne) who was born in 1923 at Bandoengan, the capital of Central Java. On 8 March 1942 the Japanese Imperial Army captured Java. Jan, her mother Josephine and two sisters Fien & Celeste, were interned in a prison camp in a disused and condemned army barracks at Ambarawa in Central Java. The camp held about 3,000 Dutch women and children. On 26 February 1944, a truck arrived at the camp, and all the girls seventeen years old and above were forced to line-up in the compound. The ten most attractive girls, including Jan O'Herne, were selected by Japanese officers and told to pack a bag quickly. The first things Jan packed were her rosary beads, a crucifix, prayer book, and bible because she said 'at that moment they seemed to be the most important things, whatever would happen to me they would be my strength'. She also threw in some clothes. On the way to the gate, the women in the camp tried to give the girls little gifts, and she was given this handkerchief.