The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Family's War Time Courage
By Clara Olink Kelly
When the Japanese invaded the beautiful Indonesian island of Java during the Second World War Clara Kelly was four years old. Her family was separated, and she together with her mother and her two brothers, were sent to a ’women’s camp’. This book includes Clara’s descriptions of the appalling deprivations and impersonal brutality of the camp.Tweet
The Dutch who lived in Java at the start of World War ll were in for a very difficult time from the Japanese occupiers. Men were taken off to be interned or to face forced labour. For the remaining women and children, life would become a miserable existence. Clara was an extraordinary woman. Used to ex-pat life, servants fulfilling every need, she was completely unprepared for what was to face her and her three very young children. But Clara was a strong and determined woman and delved deep down into herself as her survival mode developed. Her youngest child was a baby of just six weeks when the lorry came to fetch them. The next period of their lives was a nightmare. A nightmare that has rightly been set down in this book so that future generations will gain a glimpse of the suffering of women and children that so many would not survive. This is a moving and remarkable tribute to a mother who overcame extraordinary odds to keep her young family alive and returned with them to her homeland.