Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lost Childhood: My Life in a Japanese Prison Camp During World War II - a memoir by Annelex Hofstra Layson with Herman J. Viola

Let me start by saying that I learned a lot from reading this autobiography. I had no idea that Japan also had concentration camps for the Dutch residing in the Dutch East Indies during World War II. Lost Childhood is the autobiography of Annelex Hofstra who at the age of 4 was placed in one of these camps with her mother and grandmother. She spent more than 4 years under the strict Japanese guards. Her family had no idea where her brother had been taken. Annelex's father had been a pilot for the Dutch military and been missing for some time. Annelex shares her memories of those years in the camps. She tells of the lack of food and entertainment as well as the constant fear she lived with. Annelex's life improves when the war is over, though it is not without tragedy. She seems an amazing person despite what she suffered early in life. I think that is due to the strength of her mother and grandmother through the difficulties of life in the camps and the instability that followed in their native country.
There are a few disturbing scenes that Annelex witnessed that while not described graphically are still a little more appropriate for upper elementary students.

2 comments:

curlyq said...
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curlyq said...

This is a wonderful book. It's the type of book that although the situation described is horrific and awful, the book manages to step aside from that and show the great heart and character of the people involved. This book is definitely a lighter story than most discussing prison camps during WWII. An excellent read.