In October I traveled to Australia to meet Jan Ruff O’Herne, an outspoken Dutch “Comfort Woman” survivor. What a great honor to meet Jan whom I have admired so much for many years!
First, we had lunch together at a local cafe before our interview. She is very elegant and artistic. Her home is filled with beautiful paintings which she painted herself, and many are from her memories of Indonesia. She has such affection and love for Indonesia, and her childhood in Java. Before I left, she gave me her biography called, "50 Years of Silences" in which she tells of her experiences as a "comfort woman."
Jan was born into a Dutch colonial family in Java, in the Dutch East Indies (now, Indonesia) At 21, she was taken from a Japanese prison camp, and forced to be a military sex slave. She is the first European "Comfort Woman" to come forward publicly.
Australia - from Google Maps
Lunch with Jan at a local cafe
Jan at her home