Banjoe Biroe

Life in a Prison Camp

“Banjoe Biroe was a real prison.”

“We spent our first few weeks in Banjoe Biroe in Block C. Banjo Biroe was a real prison. My mother and I slept on a little Persian carpet which kept us free from “bugs,” except when the bugs dropped from the ceiling. We had smugglers in our camp-I know, I was one of them. I remember smuggling for others for a share of goods but it didn’t last long. We were caught and punished by being hung by our wrists on our back. Your big toes were the only ‘support’ while you hung. We were an example and warning for the others.”

Editor’s Note: During World War 2, from 1942 to 1945 there were approximately 100,000 Dutch civilians and 42,000 Dutch military interned in Japanese prisoner of war camps in Indonesia.