June 3, 2010

End The Silence

The account of one East Dutch Indies family's survival during World War II and the Indonesian Revolution is the subject of this edition of Dialogue.

Joan Cartan-Hansen interviews sisters Ilse Evelijn Veere Smit and Edith Evelijn Veere, who survived the two atrocities, as well as author Dorothy Read, who helps Ilse tell her family's story in the new book End the Silence.

The sisters lived through the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies in 1942 and the revolution in the war's aftermath and talk about their lives during those turbulent times.

After the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies in 1942, 9-year-old Ilse, her mother and siblings were sent to a concentration camp. Tortured by her captors, Ilse survived the war only to see her family become targets of Indonesian revolutionaries determined to wipe out Dutch colonialists. How Ilse survived a war and a revolution became a family secret, not to be discussed until now as Read documents the story in their book.

The story told in End the Silence is a little known yet relevant piece of World War II, an addition to the tragic sagas of Europe's concentration camps and the interment of Japanese Americans in the U.S. It is a piece of history that belongs to a world audience, as it exposes the iniquity and indignities suffered by people interned in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia.