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East Indies camp archives ( Indische kamparchieven ENG )


Labour Camp in Letfoean

Town: Letfoean
District: Kai Islands
Region: Moluccas
Location: The Kai Islands are in the southeast Moluccas. Letfoean is on the west coast of Little Kai.
From 1942 to [1944] this location served as a prisoner of war camp >>
Internees: prisoners of war; men
Information: From the end of 1942, the male population of the Kai Islands between the ages of 15 and 45 years old were pressed into work on various military projects. Because the native population was too small to complete these projects, Indonesian - mainly Moluccan - prisoners of war in camps in Java were pressed into service as heihos and put onto transports. Five of the projects involved laying airfields, including near Letfoean on Klein Kai (Little Kai). The men were housed in barracks which they had to build from trees they were forced to uproot themselves. There was no furniture, no sanitation, and no cooking facilities. The barracks were surrounded with barbed wire and guarded by Japanese guards armed with ironwood clubs. When the airfield was ready, the prisoners had to dig dugouts and trenches and build stagings.
Literature: Meertens, T., "De Kei-eilanden, van God verlaten" in: B.R. Immerzeel en F. van Esch (red.), Verzet in Nederlands-Indiƫ tegen de Japanse bezetting 1942-1945 (Den Haag 1993) p. 149-166