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Labour Camp in Langgoer

Town: Langgoer
District: Kai Islands
Region: Moluccas
Location: The Kai Islands are in the southeast Moluccas. Langgoer is on the east coast of Little Kai.
From 1942 to [1944] this location served as a prisoner of war camp >>
Internees: prisoners of war; men
Information: During their conquest of the Kai Islands at the end of July 1942, the Japanese occupied the buildings of the Roman Catholic Mission in Langgoer (Klein Kai, Little Kai). 13 missionaries, including the Apostolic Vicar of Dutch New Guinea monseigneur J. Aerts, were executed on the beach. The nuns, a German priest, supervisor Dr. Th. Nieuwenhuyzen and KNIL luitenant F. Hieronymus were taken to Tantoei on Ambon shortly theerafter. On September 29th they were followed by those clergy remaining on Groot Kai (Great Kai). 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 Langgoer on Klein 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
Heynneman, R., Ibu Maluku. The story of Jeanne Marie van Diejen-Roemen (Hartwell 2002)

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