Hamers, Louisa Sophia (b.? - d.1945)

Place Asia: Netherlands East Indies, Java
Accession Number AWM2016.431.1
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 1 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Diary
Maker Hamers, Louisa Sophia
Place made Netherlands East Indies
Date made 1943-1945
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Second World War experience of Louisa Sophia Hamers, a Dutch national interned by Japanese in the Dutch East Indies, 1943-1945.

Collection consists of a black marble-effect covered diary kept by Hamers spanning the period April 1943 to January 1945. The diary begins when Mrs Hamers was imprisoned by Japanese soldiers, along with all other Europeans from the area. She is initially imprisoned alongside other Dutch women and children in Tjihapit Camp, near Bandung, the capital of West Java Province. This section of the diary describes the increasing strictness of rules applied to prisoners. It documents the initial period where prisoners were allowed many comforts such as electricity, fuel for stoves, pets, and bicycles, and as the diary continues these privileges area gradually removed. A common subject is the increasing lack of food and the effects that this has upon prisoners including the author, within this subject are frequent mentions to the black market and camp shop. Also discussed is the work that the younger women, including Mrs Hamer's daughter Emmy are made to undertake, the lack of news that the women have regarding their male relatives particularly Mrs Hamer's husband Fritz, the cruelty of their Japanese captors, having to partake in Japanese customs such as continued bowing to their captors, and small glimmers of happiness and hope through the continued practices of Dutch culture and celebrations of events such as birthdays.

On 14 November 1944, all prisoners from Tjihapit Camp were transferred to Moentilan Camp (a former monastery) also on Java. Mrs Hamers remains here until she dies some time in 1945. During these entries, the main topics discussed are her losing hope in her survival, the increasing weakness of herself and those around her due to starvation and the onset of beriberi, chronic over-crowding, and the poor conditions that they were housed in.

The diary is written in Dutch, originally in pencil with ballpoint pen traced over the top, likely post-war. The diary was in the possession of her daughter Emmy when she later emigrated to Australia after a period of rehabilitation in Adelaide following the liberation of the Dutch East Indies. For ease of access a typescript English translation of the diary has been provided.