My name is Robert Rouveroy. I was born in 1927 in Bandung, West-Java in the former Netherlands East Indies. From 1942 until 1945 my family and I were interned in Japanese concentration camps in North-East Sumatra. My mother died in one of the women's camps.

After the War I was inducted in the Royal Netherlands Indies Army, the K.N.I .L. where I was trained as combat cinematographer and I served during the "Police Actions". After the transferral of power I worked as cameraman for an Indonesian Film company.

In 1956 I emigrated to Canada. For the next 35 years I was a free-lance News and Documentary cameraman for the CBC, CTV, CBS, ABC, NBC, NFB and PBS and served for a while as President of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers
I settled in the Netherlands in 1990.

A chance encounter with Fokke van Dijk at a Pacific War Remembrance Day resulted in a co-operation with his project called: "North-Sumatra Documentation Foundation", consisting of a series of personal diaries kept by the Dutch men and women during their incarceration in those Japanese camps. Fokke had been in the same camps and was uniquely qualified to undertake this enormous job. Upon completion he was decorated for his achievement.

My contribution was the photographing, scanning and cleaning up of paintings and drawings, saved on scraps of paper, newspaper edges etc, carefully hidden from the Japanese guards.. Also, photographs were supplied, made during and after the liberation, later on supplemented with private photographs of our evacuation and subsequent pictures taken by me during the two "Police Actions".`These pictures and photographs, illustrating the collected diaries have already been published in the above mentioned 14 part book project of Fokke van Dijk. and a selection is now shown in 8 parts on this site.

At the end of the War, we inmates of the Japanese concentration camps often wondered why we had to dig wide trenches, 6 feet deep and 100 yards long, just outside the barbed wire. The Japanese commander told us they were for our protection, if enemy (that is, American or English planes) would bomb or strafe the camps. In that case, we pointed out, zig-zag trenches would be much better. The commander just smiled and said nothing.

Twenty or so years later, captured documents where released by the American Government, indicating that "Standing Orders for the Elimination of Allied POW's and civilians" were issued by the Japanese High Command in case the Japanese homeland was invaded by the Allied forces.

The Atomic bombs caused incredible sufferings to the Japanese people.
They also were instrumental in our survival.

The most telling document is shown with the following English translation:

The following translation was found in File 2015, designated as Document No. 2710, certified as Exhibit "O" in Doc. No.2687. The date indicated, "1 August xxxx" appears to have the year lined out with a pen. The year appears to be 1944 in the original typing. The number "2015" is penciled in the upper right corner. No other marks were noted on the sheet.

Document No. 2701
Page 1
(Certified as Exhibit "O" in Do. No. 2687)

From the Journal of the Taiwan POW Camp H.Q. in Taihoku, entry 1 August 19xx

1. (Entries about money, promotions of Formosans at Branch camps, including promotion of Yo Yu-teku to 1st C1 Keibiin - 5 entries)

2. The following answer about the extreme measures for POW's was sent to the Chief of Staff of the 11th Unit (Formosa POW Security No. 10)

3. "Under the present situation if there were a mere explosion or fire a shelter for the time being could be had in nearby buildings such as the school, a warehouse, or the like. However, at such time as the situation became urgent and it be extremely important, the POW's will be concentrated and confined in their present location and under heavy guard the preparation for the final disposition will be made.

The time and method of the disposition are as follows:

(1) The Time.

Although the basic aim is to act under superior orders, Individual disposition may be made in the following circumstances:

  • (a) When an uprising of large numbers cannot be suppressed without the use of firearms.
  • (b) When escapees from the camp may turn into a hostile Fighting force.

(2) The Methods.

  • (a) Whether they are destroyed individually or in groups, or however it is done, with mass bombing, poisonous smoke, poisons, drowning, decapitation, or what, dispose of them as the situation dictates.
  • (b) In any case it is the aim not to allow the escape of a single one, to amilhilate [sic] them all, and not to leave any traces.

(3) To: The Commanding General
From: The Commanding General of Military Police

If you wish to have more information, please contact us.