Rising from the Shadow of the Sun brings the horror and losses of World War II on Java off the battlefields and military POW camps and into the world of Ronny Herman, who is barely three years old in 1942 when the Japanese conquer Java and force her family into prison camps where they would suffer until 1945.
Ronny’s father Fokko, a pilot with the Dutch Naval Air Force, escapes with his squadron hours before the Japanese submarines encircle the island. Working under British command in Sri Lanka, Fokko’s story is chronicled along the same timeline as that of his wife and children.
Ronny, her mother Netty and little sister Paula endure starvation, disease and uncertainty. In her diary, smuggled through the camps at the risk of being killed if it had been detected, Netty gives an accurate historical account of the Japanese invasion and the lives of women and children incarcerated under the brutal regime of the Japanese. She describes the years of physical and psychological suffering, but also the hope, faith, solidarity and resilience that remain alive among the imprisoned women.
After the war Ronny moves to the Netherlands to continue her education. Each step of her life prepares her for the next. She earns a degree in English from Leiden University and marries an ambitious young man. Their eighteen-month honeymoon in the United States and the birth of their two daughters and a son precede their emigration to California in 1972.
The close-knit family serves as a strong basis for the ups and downs in Ronny’s life. The risks she dares to take, the dreams she fulfills, the disappointments and rejections she endures, and the love and compassion she shares with many others contribute to a well-balanced and happy life.
Acting classes and performances in the greater Los Angeles area teach her to listen, and she becomes a patient-care hospice volunteer for six years, able to communicate on a deeply emotional level with her patients and their families.
When all the children have flown the coop, Ronny and Mike move to Hawai’i. It is there that Ronny finishes the manuscript she has been working on. In 1992 a publisher in Canada publishes her first book, based on the diary of her mother, In the Shadow of the Sun.
During her twelve years in Hawai’i, Ronny learns the art of dancing hula and enjoys performing with live musicians occasionally. She travels back to Indonesia to share with Mike the country of her birth in an emotional and exciting pilgrimage. Other adventures enrich her life and eventually, they return to the mainland where, after a few years of adjustment to the higher elevation and extremely dry climate after living amidst the lush tropical jungles of Hawai’i at sea level, she starts research for her second book, a sequel, Rising from the Shadow of the Sun. It is published in April 2011.
About the Author
Ronny Herman de Jong survives the Japanese concentration camps during World War II. She writes a historical memoir based on her mother’s journal, followed by her own journey from a childhood in captivity in Southeast Asia to peace and prosperity in the United States in the 21st century.
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