Japanese Internment Camps

The Japanese goal was to remove all Western influences from the public life of the occupied East Indies. Almost immediately after the invasion, the Japanese placed all of the European and Indo-European civilians on the outer islands in internment camps. In the Naval occupational zone (Borneo, Celebes, the Moluccas, the Lesser Sunda Islands and New Guinea), these camps were run by the Naval Civil Administration. On the densely populated island of Java, the internment of Europeans progressed in stages. From 11 April 1942 all Europeans aged 17 and over were required to register with the authorities. The Japanese divided them into two groups: full-blooded Dutch (totoks) and mixed-race Dutch (Indo-Europeans). The first group was interned in 1942 and 1943. Men between the ages of 16 and 60 were interned first, followed by the women, children and elderly. The men were kept separate from the women. Most Indo-Europeans in Java were not placed in internment camps.
In August 1942 the internment camps for civilians were placed under the responsibility of the Japanese civilian officials of the Military Administration, but in November 1943 the camps were gradually transferred to the Army. Most camps were not originally very crowded, but this changed in February 1944 when the Japanese began to concentrate internees in camps in Bandung and Tjimahi in Western Java for military and strategic reasons. The women's camps also became overcrowded due to transfers and concentrations in 1944, as did the camps for civilian internees on the outer islands and Sumatra. An estimated 100,000 European civilians in the Netherlands East Indies were interned by the Japanese during the war, of whom approximately 13,000 died in the camps.


Mariska Heijmans-van Bruggen, De Japanse bezetting in dagboeken. Vrouwenkamp Ambarawa 6 (Amsterdam, 2001).
J. van Dulm e.a., Geïllustreerde Atlas van de Japanse Kampen in Nederlands-Indië 1942-1945 (Purmerend: Uitgeverij Asia Maior, 2000)
D. van Velden, De Japanse interneringskampen voor burgers gedurende de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Franeker, 1985)

Information a.o. in:

Access Number 2.10.14, inv. no. 5247, 5248, 5249 and 5251 (Part of camp administration Tjideng, 1945)
Access Number 2.10. 62,
- inv. no. 244, to 291 (Documents concerning POW and Civil Internment Camps in the Netherlands East Indies).
- inv. no. 292 to 299 (Documents concerning POW and Civil Internment Camps outside the Netherlands East Indies where Dutchmen and/or Indonesians are spotted)
- inv.no. 2065, 2265, 2267, 2271, 2273, 2277, 2285, 2288, 2289, 2290, 2292, 2293, 2294, 2295, 2298, 2300, 2303, 2304, 2306 and 2350
Access Number 2.13.72, inv.no. 1328, 1341 and 1353

Access Number 2.22.21, inv. no. 820, 821, 822 and 823 (Swedish Consulate Surabaya),
825, 826, 827, 828, 829 (Beskickningsarkiv Tokyo).

See also:

- Japanese Administration in the Netherlands East Indies