A Gate in the Wall

A Pacific War POW’s Secret Diary and a Family’s Path Toward Reconciliation

Not Yet Published


New 2024 Pre-Order

Available for pre-order / backorder

SKU: 9781476696973 Categories: ,

About the Book

The story of the Lindeijers, a Dutch colonial family in Indonesia, first during World War II as captives of the Japanese and then during the postwar decades when they struggled to come to terms with their wartime trauma, is unique in the pathway it traces from wartime hatred to postwar reconciliation—across generations and continents. Their story is one of four children shell-shocked by the Japanese invasion of Java, further traumatized by their father’s overseas transport as a Japanese prisoner and their mother’s internment camp death.
The protagonists speak, as much as possible, for themselves through their documents. The father, in his prohibited POW diary written as unmailed letters to his family, records harsh, brutal treatment but simultaneously reveals a level of complexity among his captors that is unusual in war memoirs. The mother’s farewell letter dictated before her death eschews hatred, focusing on a way for her family to move forward. From their records, the father’s fellow American, Australian, British, Canadian and Dutch POWs add perspective—as does a Japanese camp liaison, through his camp notebook. And finally, in recorded testimony, the eldest son grapples with the trauma of his family’s imprisonments, but also Dutch oppression of Indonesia, stimulating a remarkable response in Japan and Indonesia today.

About the Author(s)

Melinda Barnhardt is an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands and Japan and in colloquia for history and East Asian Studies at Wittenberg University in the U.S.

Bibliographic Details

Melinda Barnhardt
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 20 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9697-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5503-1
Imprint: McFarland