The database with information about the camps in the Dutch East Indies can be searched in various ways. Below we have listed the different search options. You can print this page by clicking on the printer icon (top right of this text). You can keep the explanation near at hand while you are searching.
Searching on the map
On the opening page of this website you will find a general map of the Indian archipelago. The various regions – Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes, the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Moluccas and New Guinea are clickable. Click one of the regions and a map of only this region will appear on your screen.
There are symbols on each regional map. There are symbols that indicate one camp, symbols that indicate one town/location that had more than one camp, and symbols that lead you to a city plan. If you move your mouse over a symbol, a text balloon with basic information will appear on the screen. The text balloon is linked to the symbol that lights up in green, the other symbols remain red. As soon as you move the mouse, the text balloon disappears again.
If you want to know more about a particular camp than just the basic information in the text balloon, then please click on the symbol of the camp. The text balloon is then fixed, even when you move your mouse. You can then click on the red text inside the text balloon. This will take you to a page with more information about the camp, or, if the text of the text balloon consists only of a place-name, to a city plan first.
If, on further consideration, you decide you do not want to continue with the text balloon you have fixed, simply close the text balloon by clicking on the X in the top right-hand corner of the text balloon.
Directions for using the maps
In the top left-hand corner of each regional map and each city plan you will find a number of buttons you can use to navigate the map. You can zoom in with the plus sign and zoom out with the minus sign. With the arrow buttons you can move the map in the direction of the arrow you press down. You can also move the map using your mouse: to do that you stand on the map with the mouse; as soon as the mouse pointer changes into a hand you can move the map with the mouse.
You will find a legend to symbols in the top right-hand corner of each map. If you click on the plus sign the legend box will drop down. In the legend you will find an explanation of the symbols used. Beneath that you will find three options: 'general map', 'previous map' and ‘full screen’.
By clicking on 'general map', you go (back) to the general map on the home page of the website.
By clicking on 'previous map', you return to the previous map you have consulted. If the map you have on your screen is the first map you are looking at during this visit to the website, the link 'previous map' is not in the legend.
Clicking on 'full screen' opens the map that you are looking at in a larger format, so that only the map is visible on screen. Click on 'back to website' in the legend box, if you want to return to the website.
It is possible to move the legend box. To do this you put the mouse on the purple-red bar at the top of the legend box. As soon as the mouse pointer changes into a compass rose you can drag the legend box to another part of the page with the mouse. You close the legend by clicking on the minus sign in the top right-hand corner of the legend box.
You can decide what the right-hand side of the screen looks like. You can indicate in the top right-hand corner of the screen how you want the search results to be presented. If you select 'list', the results of your search will be displayed as a list. If you select 'map' the results of your search will be indicated on a regional map or on a city plan.
You see a number of search instruments on the left side of your screen.
You can type in a search term in the box under 'Search'. Then you press Enter, or use the mouse to click on the magnifying glass next to your search term.
Under 'Sort by' you will find two options to arrange results you have already found: by camp name and by the location of the camp (town). You can only sort results like this when you are using the list format; it is not possible to sort on location or camp name in the topographical maps.
Under 'Region/map' you will find the various regions in the East Indian archipelago. Behind the name of each region, the number of camps in that region is given in brackets. By clicking on the name of a region with the mouse, you limit the number of camps you have on screen to the camps in that particular region. The other regions will disappear from the list and from the map on the right side of your screen. A red square with a white cross in it will appear in the left column behind the name of the region you have selected.
If you have selected a region on the general map on the website's home page and you arrived at the regional map like that, 'Region/map' will already show only the region you indicated on the opening page.
Under 'Type of camp' you will find the various types of camps that existed. Behind each category you will find the number of camps in the relevant category in brackets. If, for example, you are solely interested in civilian camps, you click on the 'civilian camp' link. All other camps will disappear from the list and from the map on the right side of your screen. A red square with a white cross in it will appear behind the filter you used - in this example: civilian camp.
It is possible that you select 'civilian camp' as a filter, but that another camp type, for example 'POW camp', also stays visible under 'Type of camp'. This means that these POW camps either were or became civilian camps; they were situated at the same location and had the same name as a civilian camp, and they therefore 'escape' the filter you select.
If you use the filters under 'Region/map' and/or 'Type of camp', a new item will appear in the left-hand column: 'Your filters'. Here you will find all the filters you have used. If you want to cancel a filter, just click on the X behind the filter in question. Do you want to see other camps and not (no longer) just all civilian camps? Then click on the X behind 'civilian camp'. If you do not (no longer) want to see the camps in only one particular region, then click on the X behind the region you used as a filter.
Because it is not possible on this website to show several maps simultaneously, you can only look at one region at a time. If you filter on a camp type that existed in several regions or if you type in a search term that produces search results from different regions, a general map of the East Indies archipelago will appear on your screen. This map strongly resembles the opening page of the website and it works the same as the other maps that you have already seen: symbols indicate the regions where your search results are located. You can look at these search results by region by selecting one of the marked regions.
At the top of the search page, behind the text 'Your search' you will find a so-called 'breadcrumb trail'. This trail allows you to very simply go back one or more steps in your search.
Page per (POW) camp
The end point of each search (assignment) is a page with all the information about a certain camp. On this page you will first find the name of the camp, the residency (province) and town where the camp was situated, and - if known - in which part of the town the camp was situated.
Beneath this general text you will find one or more red text lines. These indicate in which period(s) the camp existed and which function the camp had in which period: civilian camp, POW camp, reception camp, ex-Japanese camp and Republican camp. Some Kempeitai locations can also be found..
If you click on the red text line there is a drop-down text. In it you will find more details about the camp in the period concerned - if known. For example: different names by which the camp was known, the population of the camp, names of camp commander(s) and senior guard(s) and names of the camp leadership. Furthermore you will find the number of internees that where staying at the camp when the camp was at it largest, and the number of people who died in the camp - if known.
When possible, the information about the camp is illustrated with photographs and drawings of the camp location and a map of the camp. If you click on an image, this image is opened in a large format. If there is more than one image for a camp, you can leaf through the images in the large format using the arrow buttons below the image. To return to the website page you click on the X in the top right-hand corner of the image. Information on ordering images can be found on the page Ordering images.
Below the text for each camp you will find book titles and references to archives. Some books care still available in the bookshops, for others you will have to go to a library. At present the references to archival records only concern records at the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD).
Also on this page you will find a number of instruments in the left-hand column. Under 'Background' there is a link to the page with general text about the Japanese occupation and the Bersiap period in the region where the camp lies. You can also find these texts via the navigation bar at the top of your screen, under 'Occupation and Bersiap'.
Under 'Image' you will find no more than three links: camp information, regional map and city plan. Clicking on 'regional map' takes you to a regional map showing only the symbol of this camp. By clicking on 'city plan', you go to the city plan showing only the symbol of this camp. From the map format you return to the text about the camp by clicking on 'Camp information'.
If you click on the link 'Print or save page' a grey screen will appear asking you if you want to save the file joomla.pdf. If you click on 'save', you can indicate where on your own hard disk you want the page to be saved as a pdf-file and what name you want to give the file. The standard name is joomla.pdf, but you can change it. After clicking on 'save' again, the file is downloaded. As soon as the download is complete, you can print the file. To do this you click on 'open' in the screen 'Download is complete’, and then on the printer symbol in the top left-hand corner of your screen.