Tag Archives: troostmeisjes

“Comfort Woman” Ellen van der Ploeg passed away

Ellen van der Ploeg

While in Kampala, Uganda, I received the news that Ellen van der Ploeg (b. January 14, 1923, in The Hague, NL) has passed away on February 6, 2013 (in Oss, NL). She was one of the very few of the 200-400 Dutch Comfort Women who broke the taboo and publicly discussed her experiences during WWII: in 1944, she was forced to serve as a prostitute in a Japanese military brothel for three months.

During its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through World War II, the Japanese military officially commissioned the acquisition of an estimated 200,000 young girls (sometimes only 10 or 11 years old) for sexual slavery. Amnesty International described it as “one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century.”

The Japanese Government has always refused to disclose the full extent of this sexual slavery system, and several prime ministers have officially denied government involvement.

Ellen, you were a brave and fascinating woman! Hormat!

For more on the comfort women, see here or here, or read, in Dutch, here. For a fragment from Frank van Osch’s documentary movie about comfort women, click here.

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Documentary “BECAUSE WE WERE BEAUTIFUL” at film festival in USA

The film documentary “Because we were beautiful”, about Indonesian Comfort Women (and our search for them) will be shown at the Big Muddy Film Festival, February 18-27, 2011 at the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL (USA). It was made by by Frank van Osch and broadcast on Dutch national television, August 15, 2010.

Van Osch and his team accompanied Hilde Janssen and me during part of the search for these women. Apart from the film, this project resulted in the (Dutch language) text book “Schaamte en onschuld” (ISBN: 9789046807132) and the bilingual photo book “Comfort Women/Troostmeisjes“.

Comfort Woman – “Because we were Beautiful” (Vimeo)
Troostmeisjes – “Omdat wij mooi waren” (Vimeo)

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