The Japanese Capitulate
From the collection of Museon (Museum of Science and Culture), The Hague
h 2 cm x w 19 cm
This is the only known film footage of the Japanese capitulation being celebrated. Prisoner Noor Prins, who was locked up in the Aek Paminke III Internment Camp on Sumatra Island in the Dutch East Indies, managed to hide her film camera from the Japanese for years.
On 23 August 1945, when the news of the capitulation reached the women's camp, fortunately her camera still worked. The shaky, out-of-focus black & white images she shot are silent: a stark contrast to the countless, cheerful and elated scenes people associate with the Liberation by the Allies. With the red, white, and blue of the Dutch flag gracing their arms, Noor Prins and Ria Erkelens told their fellow prisoners the good news: peace had finally come. But they also had to tell them that it was better to stay where they were, because the revolution for Independence had broken loose outside the camp. One woman who was present, C. Hoogendoorn-Swart, described what she saw: ‘There was a ceremony near Japstra, the name we always called the Japanese guardhouse. Two ladies climbed on top of a box and spoke to us, the onlookers, saying we had been liberated. So we hoisted a Dutch flag, but we didn’t have a stick or a pole – it was all very improvised.’