Eldest daughter of eight children, the author grew up in Surakarta, Java, in what is now Indonesia. In the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, however, Dutch nationals were rounded up by Japanese soldiers and put in internment camps. Her father and brother were sent to separate men’s camps, leaving the author, her mother, and the five younger children in the women’s camp. In this and later seven other prison camps in central Java, their lives gradually deteriorated from early days of fear and crowding to near starvation, forced labor, beatings, and seeing others disappear or die. On the family’s return to Holland after the war, they found a nation recovering from German occupation and largely ignorant of the horror of the Far East experience.