Carla Gerardu-Low

Passing on a little family history to the next generation

My Opa’s Experience as a POW – Part 1 — May 3, 2019

My Opa’s Experience as a POW – Part 1

It was after I read the book Unbroken, by Laura Hillebrand, that I started to wonder about my grandfather’s experience in a “concentration camp” during World War II. I knew that he was in a camp, but it was something he never talked about with anyone.

Then shortly after I published my last post, A Pivotal Moment for a Young Soldier, Comité ereschuld Onderscheidingen contacted me to inquire if my grandfather, Johannes H.T. Gerardu (aka Hubert), was a POW. This simple inquiry pushed my genealogical research forward twenty years and made me curious as to what had really happened to him during his time away from his family.

This is the story of my grandfather’s time as a POW based on information I was able to glean from his Stamboek (military record), internment card (see below), some extensive research done by Henk Beekhuis about the POW camps in Indonesia, and other sources. It is most definitely a watered-down version of the reality of his experience.

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A Pivotal Moment for a Young Soldier — July 3, 2018

A Pivotal Moment for a Young Soldier

My Opa – Johannes Hubertus Theodorus Gerardu

Continuing the story from my previous post – A Very Long Trip – Rotterdam to Tanjung Priok

When someone decides to make a momentous change in location, one must ponder the pros and cons of such a decision. In this case, the pros were the adventure, advancement opportunities, and financial gain, whereas the con was moving away from everything he knew. It is hard to prove what Hubert considered an adventure, but I do have his military record documenting his compensation history, which may give us a peek into this aspect of his life.

J.H. Gerardu ~1921
Johannes Hubertus Theodorus Gerardu in 1921 prior to his departure from the Netherlands to the Dutch Indies

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