Boudewijn van Oort

I was born in South Africa but my earliest childhood memories are from the Dutch East indies whither we immigrated (or fled) in May 1940. We survived the war and internment by the Japanese and returned to South Africa as refugees. The lessons my parents learned from this misadventure affected their reaction to the introduction of the Apartheid policies in South Africa after 1948, and we moved again to Canada. Starting a new life in Canada was much, much harder than it had been in South Africa or the Dutch East Indies, but we are still here. In 1962 I won a Rhodes Scholarship, probably the only one who could claim having been a child prisoner and owing his prison camp survival in part on the consumption of what passed for "bread" in that camp, with a vital ingredient made from the urine of his father and other fellow male prisoners. It was the realization of the remarkable nature of this story that prompted me to write the book "Tjideng Reunion". My professional life had mainly been that of a Petroleum Engineer, utilizing my first, Science degree, but upon retirement I was able to devote my energies to pursue the book writing interest that had been awakened in me by earning my Arts degree in Oxford with the study of history. I was exceptionally fortunate to have as modern history tutor, Sir Martin Gilbert of Merton College, who at that time had just been appointed the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill. Without that personal encouragement our remarkable story would never have been told.
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