Allies in adversity, Australia and the Dutch in the Pacific War


Prisoners of the Japanese

Thousands of Dutch servicemen experienced the same harsh conditions, inadequate food and forced labour endured by members of the second AIF in Japanese captivity. They toiled on the Burma–Thailand Railway, and worked in factories in Japan. In contrast to the Australian experience, however, large numbers of Dutch civilians, particularly women and children, were also interned by the Japanese, in exceptionally cruel conditions, for the remainder of the war. More than 13,000 died. After their release, many former internees settled in Australia.

4 emaciated prisoners of war

A group of emaciated Allied prisoners of war, including, at left, Jan Hakkaart, a radio operator of the RNN, who was captured in Java. P00761.011



Internee Max van Gelder expresses the feelings of many of his fellow prisoners and internees.


Internee Max van Gelder explains how he and his brother Hans discovered that the war had ended.