At the age of 8 Hedda (Dutch, autobiography subject) lived in Brussels with relatives for her schooling, when WWII broke out. Her father, living on Java sailed around Africa to take her home. they traveled through warring Europe and finally got out on the last mail boat to leave Europe until after war's end, out of Genoa Italy.
Once home on Java the Japanese suddenly invaded the Netherlands East Indies, and Hedda, her mother and little brother ended up in POW camps, where they were kept for 5 years, through Japanese and Indonesian terrorist occupations. The German hold on Holland had made it impossible to protect the Islands. Her Father ended up on the Thai/Burma RR in Japanese slave labor.
Hedda had to be the strongest because her mother was extremely sick most of the time. The love for her baby brother, and the beauty of the wild Morning Glories climbing all over the barbed wire kept her optimistic and focussed. The story tells of humilation, torture, hunger and disease, but is lighter than expected for it is seen through the eyes of a strong and basically happy child, thrilled by the find of shiny stones or Morning Glories.
This report prepared by Helen M. Loudon