After our time as p.o.w.'s in Japanese concentrationcamps, we were liberated by the British. Two months after the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we could escape a new danger. The Indonesian freedom fighters wanted to put us back in the camps, and kill us if possible. Fortunately we could sail to Singapore on British ships. There we waited for a ship to take us homeward, to the Netherlands.
On the fifth of December 1945 we went on board of the S.S.Nieuw Amsterdam , which was one of the five biggest ships of the world at that time. Four thousand Dutch men, women and children came on board. We also had a lot of British soldiers of the 14th regiment, who were longing to be reunited with their loved ones after their captivity in concentrationcamps. On 8th December we left the harbour of Singapore.
The ship was overcrowded, but we were used to that. There was, however an unexpected epidemic, of the measles, of which many children died, something my mum, sisters and I nor any of our fellow cabin passengers knew until now. It was so tragic because our mothers had done everything they could to keep their children alive in the camps, and here almost back home, some of them died.
I was twelve in December 1945, my sisters were 8 and 6.
I enjoyed this voyage immensely. I could walk wherever I wanted. I watched the sea. Sometines I saw dolphins or "Flying" fish. Once I saw beautifully coloured jellyfish, also known as the Portuguese man-of-war.
During this voyage we had a stop in Adabaya, where we got on a train that took us to Ataka, where we got our winter outfit. We were treated to coffee, tea, limonade and all kind of cakes. For the children there was a play ground and each child got a present. It was for us a great happening.
When we returned it was dark. We saw in the distance the enormous, illuminated Nieuw Amsterdam, lying in all her majesty, our ship!
|The train that took us in the desert, where we got our winter clothes.|
|Bon voyage, pleasant journey!|
Slowly we steamed through the Suez Canal. I watched a camel rider on the shore, who kept pace with us!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia