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Two Slices of Bread


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Table of Contents

Foreword ix Endorsements xi Acknowledgements xiii Introduction xvii A Short History of Indonesia and of my Close Family xix 1 Japanese Invasion 1 2 House Arrest 15 3 POW Camps: Women and Children 25 4 Some of John's and Father's Prison-Camp Experiences 47 5 Kamp Kramat Liberation 57 6 The Bersiap, Indonesian War of Independence 63 7 Refugees 71 8 Eerbeek 79 9 De Bilt and Bilthoven 89 10 Kindergarten and Primary Schools 95 11 A wedding 105 12 Bridging School 115 13 Greener Pastures 125 14 Stories and Letters 129 15 A New Primary School 147 16 Family Friends 157 17 Turning Point 165 18 Insight 175 19 High School Days, A New Experience 193 20 The Fright of My Life 203 21 The Silver Lining 211 22 Preparations 221 23 The Operation 233 24 My Journey 239 25 The Chosen Country 249 Postscript 263 Translation of Foreign Words 267

Promotional Information

Two Slices of Bread will enjoy massive PR promotion during September 2018 via Karen McKenzie, Lighthouse PR.

About the Author

Ingrid Coles, wife, mother, grandmother of ten, retired nurse and hobby gardener, may seem to be an ordinary person, but appearances can be deceiving. Born in Java, Indonesia, in November 1942 she and her family endured imprisonment by the Japanese invaders for almost three years. At liberation from the Japanese, in August 1945, they then faced the Indonesian War of Independence until May 1946, when it became so dangerous for civilians that they had to be evacuated to their motherland, the Netherlands. But, initially, Holland was no picnic either! Ingrid writes about, her family's war experiences, her childhood, her by now widowed mother's struggles to make ends meet on a small widow's pension and the unwelcome response because of their Asian connection. All this made difficult through having to cope as a family when they were all emotionally scarred as a result of their wartime trauma. However, Ingrid, is not daunted by adversity. Orphaned when barely 16, she has a clear idea of her future calling and emigrates New Zealand to begin nursing training four months later. Ingrid traces her background and growing up years and reveals the secret of her successful time in her country of adoption and how she overcomes the hurts and hurdles of the past.


"As an ex-prisoner-of-war during the Japanese occupation of the Netherland's East Indies, aged 16, in men's camps in Pekalongan and Tjimahi, Java, I can honestly say that this book describes and illustrates the hardship and horror of that period (early 1942 to August 1945), which we all endured. A story worth reading." - Hans van Leuven born 02/07/1926, Glen Waverley, Victoria, Australia. Retired architect "I read this book with pleasure and appreciate the way Ingrid writes about her experiences in Japanese Prison camps and her journey through life afterward. Her flowing style of writing, with sensitivity, tells an interesting story which gives a genuine account at the same time. A captivating book." -Jaap Saathof, ex-prisoner-of-war in Java, retired orchardist, Havelock North, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand "All immigrants have their own personal stories about their life's journey which brought them to the country they now call home. These stories are worth re-telling and preserving, not only as part of the common heritage of the nation they now belong to, but also as part of the heritage and culture of their immigrant community. Such retelling and preserving is one of the objectives of Oranjehof the Dutch Connection, the Dutch national museum of New Zealand. It is part of the multicultural community centre Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, which was ceremoniously opened on 18 November 2017 in the presence of several Government Ministers and a large number of members of the Dutch community of New Zealand. First-hand stories make the past come alive in the imagination of the listener and reader. Two Slices of Bread is an excellent example of this. It describes and evokes not only the life of its author, Ingrid Coles n e Brandt, but especially her relatives come to life as well, such as Ingrid's sister Juliana and her husband Rob, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1951, eight years before Ingrid herself would arrive there--to be welcomed by her sister and brother-in-law. But before Ingrid arrived in Aotearoa, she and her family had to pass through several difficult stages: the Second World War and imprisonment in Japanese camps; the post-war violence between Indonesian nationalists and Europeans; having to adapt to the strange country which was the Netherlands. Ingrid deals extensively with her time in the Netherlands in the decade and a half after the Second World War. This makes this memoir even more interesting and relevant to read for younger generations of Dutch Kiwis: they can get to know the Netherlands as it was during the era when their opa and oma decided to seek a new life in New Zealand. I read certain chapters with a particular emotion. My mother and her family went through similar experiences: the war, the camp, the turmoil and fear so vividly described in Ingrid's book. Fortunately, all survived and two of my mother's five sisters immigrated to Australia. Only twice would they see my mother and the rest of the family again, who settled back in the Netherlands. Their stories are also part of the legacy Dutch immigrants have left to their community and to their new countries. Thank you, Ingrid, for sharing your life and Two Slices of Bread with us!" - Rob Zaagman, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to New Zealand

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