the heroes of Malaya, Hong Kong, Bataan and Corregidor have their
stories relatively well known to the English speaking world, few know
of the horor and depredations encountered by the 100,000 civilians and
some 80,000 Dutch and Allied prisoners of war in the Netherlands East
Van Wijk presents a cross section of individual experiences and interweaves a dispassionate overview of the campaigns to create a tapestry of the southern Pacific War Theater.
The sadistic cruely of the Japanese is clearly shown as a result of racial hatred and vicious acts against the whites. Determined to eventually expel or kill every white person in Asia, the prison camps were isolated from contact with local natives and families deliberately broken apart. The death rate among these prisoners was four to five times the rate of those interned by the Germans.
Dutch civilians and military were conscripted for foced labor on the Siam (Death) Railway, the rarely mentioned Sumatra Railway and numerous slave labor camps in Japan. Women and children were separated and many young women forced into prostituion to serve the Emperor's military.
"Forced Labour" is well documented and heavily illustrated with over 100 photographs rarely seen in the English speaking world.
Van Wijk, Forced Labor, in the midst of danger, Bedfordshire, England, Providence Books, 2001. 232 pages