Captured – Personal accounts of the Japanese occupation

The accessible and poignant exhibition provides an impressive account of the occupation of the Dutch East Indies by combining objects and drawings with extracts from diaries, letters and memoirs.

Two million people with family ties to the former Dutch East Indies live in the Netherlands. How did that affect families during and after World War II? The exhibition ‘Captured. Personal accounts of the Japanese occupation’ brings their experiences to life by combining memories and stories with drawings and objects. The resilience of people is striking. You feel the survival instinct, you are surprised by the artistry under difficult circumstances. Not only did the drawings bear witness to brutal experiences and extreme situations, they provided a sense of meaning amidst hopelessness at the time.

Amongst others, there is a selection of over fifty drawings that are being replaced with a new selection from 3 July. In addition to beautiful works created in Japanese concentration camps by, amongst others, Charles Burki, Frida Holleman, Pim van Boxel and Johan Gabrielse, you will find unique objects, such as a railway sleeper from the Thai-Burma railway line, a violin crafted in captivity, and a hat and raincoat belonging to Kees van Houten, which he got from a Japanese soldier after he lost all his clothing when the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki.

The exhibition, which touches on themes such as the Japanese invasion, internment, the Indo-Europeans who were not imprisoned, the Thai-Burma railway line, the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Bersiap and repatriation, is accessible to a wide audience thanks to, amongst others, an introductory film, an audio guide and replicas of objects the public can touch. The audio guide enables visitors to switch between the perspectives of children, women and men. In addition, there are various tours especially for the blind and partially sighted.

Captured – Personal accounts of the Japanese occupation