Monday, 28 July 2008


On Saturday I met up with four people who were in the Japanese internment camp with my grandparents and mother, near Kuching, 1942-1946. Two of these were brothers in their late sixties whom I've not met before, only seen as small blond boys in photos and film footage from the liberation of the camp. It was an amazing experience to meet and talk with them. On 17 August it will be exactly 62 years since the Australian forces liberated the camp, saving hundreds of men, women and children who would otherwise have been executed under orders from the Japanese. Hundreds more had already died by that time, and some of the survivors would face premature deaths from illnesses, physical and mental, resulting from their incarceration.

My mother is the girl held in the soldier's arms on the left of the photo, with her hand on her head.


Tania Hershman said...

Wow. That's amazing. And the picture, had you seen that before? My god, what was it like meeting them???

Sarah Hilary said...

I found the picture - and some others like it - on the Australian War Memorial website a few years back when I started researching the camp. Meeting the two "boys was amazing. They're such nice, normal chaps, but with this amazing history, this stolen childhood which they're only just now starting to really talk about.