Many of the memoirs and books coming out of the digital book age are historical treasures that reveal nuggets of history and fascinating slices of life. This week as I toyed with the idea of collecting and organizing an anthology of Christmas Memories from World War II books, I was reminded of the unusual story of Ronny Herman de Jong and decided to feature her author interview. I had no idea I lived for three years so close to where she attended school in Leiden.
When the Unbroken movie was about to come out, Isabel Wolff, author of Ghostwritten, noted in BBC Magazine:
Indeed, when we reflect on that part of World War Two [i.e.POW camps in the Pacific] we think, automatically, of these brave military men, of whom there were 132,000. Yet there were 130,000 Allied civilians in the region – predominantly women and children – who also endured appalling privation and cruelty, but whose story is barely known. (BBC Magazine)
Movie deals aren’t there, and books in English are sparse. For your consideration, here is one account based on the secret diary kept by the author’s mother, Rising from the Shadow of the Sun: A Story of Love, Survival and Joy.
Interview with Ronny Herman de Jong, Author of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun: A Story of Love, Survival and Joy
When you were a little girl in the Japanese concentration camps, were you aware that your Mom kept a secret diary?
Do you have memories of your life in the camps?
I have two bad memories and one happy one. Mamma protected us and kept us away from the cruel punishments the women had to watch. And because I was always hungry and we had nothing, no food, no books, no toys, few clothes, I have a tendency, even to this day, to buy two of everything: two pairs of shoes, two bags of grapes, two notepads, to give you an example. One bad memory is that a soldier stuck his bayonet through the bamboo fence and tried to kill me. The second one is that we had a bedbug plague in the camp and I had to squeeze them with a rag, in my bed in the top bunk to kill them; they bit me all night and they stank when I squeezed them. The happy memory is that one of the old men that were brought into the camp gave me a little brown truck, a Dinky Toy.
You wrote several books. When did you write your first book and why did you write it?
Why did you write your second book and how is it different from the first?
Tell me about the other books you published.
In August 2014 I published an Anthology: Survivors of WWII in the Pacific. It is a compilation of stories by Navy men and survivors who went through the camps as teenagers; all along the same parallel lines of suffering but from a different perspective, all serving as historical evidence for future generations.
In January 2017 I published an e-Book Anguished to shed light on the devastating elder abuse that happens to this day in families and nursing homes. And in January 2018 my new Audiobook of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun became available for purchase everywhere. Listen here: Audiobook!
Is there any special publicity we should know about?
Yes! The most interesting interview was by CHINA TV after the movie Unbroken was refused in Japan. A reporter and film crew came to Prescott for the interview: they wanted to compare Louis Zamperini’s story about the Japanese camps for men with my story about the Japanese camps for women and children. All the other interviews can be found on my Amazon Author Page
Where is your book available?
All my books are available on all internet sites. Signed copies are available from the author’s website: http://www.ronnyhermandejong.com/
Big thanks to Ronny.–Kristin
Category Archives: Memoirs & History
ALL CAPS IS VIRTUAL SHOUTING, so I’ve been told. That’s sort of what I’ve been doing all month-long with the A to Z Challenge theme “Historical Treasure.” I’ve shared tidbits, excerpts, photos, interviews for Irene’s memoirs in order to convince you her story is one worth sharing.
“Sharing is Caring” is often at the bottom of blog posts. That is what I am asking you to do.
In fact, I’ve marked the digital copy of her memoirs down to 99 cents (or equivalent) on Amazon outlets worldwide, because I want you to have the opportunity to get the rest of the story–and to help spread the word.
If you are a reader, you’ll get drawn in by this book.
If you know a history buff, you could be the one that recommends the best history book they’ll read this year.
If you know someone who likes strong female leads, this is for them.
If you think Irene’s story could do well given a chance, share.
Here are some ways:
- Share or reblog a post you liked from A to Z (& mention the 99 cents sale)
- Share one of Irene’s youtube videos (follow the channel to get more)
- Get the rest of the story for yourself and leave a review for her
- Give the gift of history (signed copies available)
Survive Little Buddy has what it takes in terms of a compelling story that builds the world of the past for us to see today. I know it! Do you?
I wanna YELL ABOUT IT! That’s what A to Z was for me this year. Only one more post coming at you…Z is for….
Kristin King is a mom of four boys, US Army wife, and currently struggling with a nasty head cold–the kind of thing so trivial Irene never mentions it. Kristin wishes she was as stalwart as Irene.