Two Slices of Bread

By Ingrid Coles
Published by Wildside Publishing

Interned in a Japanese concentration camp—then finding peace at last… at the bottom of the world.

You will be moved beyond words, even to tears—a true story of heartaches and triumphs…

As a young child in Holland, Ingrid’s uncle offered her another slice of bread. “Two slices of bread?” she asked, never having been allowed that many before! Her memory jumped to the starvation and cruelty her family had experienced at the hands of extremely cruel captors.

This memoir traces Ingrid’s background and growing-up years, revealing the secret of her successful life in her country of adoption (New Zealand); and how she overcame the hurts and hurdles of the past

INGRID COLES is a survivor. Born in Java, Indonesia, in November 1942 she and her family endured incarceration at the hands of the Japanese invaders in separate prisoner-of-war camps. They were starved and treated abominably. Her father died in prison camp aged 43 and her younger brother died from starvation and pneumonia aged 6.

After liberation from the Japanese in August 1945, she and her family faced the Indonesian War of Independence. In May 1946 it became so dangerous for European civilians they were evacuated to their motherland, the Netherlands.

Life changed drastically for Ingrid and her three siblings, who had to learn how to cope with their mother’s physical and post-traumatic-stress related illness, and their own war-time experiences. However, Ingrid, orphaned when barely 16 years of age, immigrated to New Zealand where she eventually found the peace she longed for.

Book review by Julia Martin – NZ Christian Writers

The author was only three months old in 1942 when her Dutch parents and four older siblings were rounded up by the Japanese in Dutch East Indies (Indonesia today) and incarcerated in prison-of-war camps. Ingrid gives a harrowing account of their three years of brutality, starvation, disease and appalling living conditions at the hands of their cruel captors.

Her father, aged 43, died in a prison camp and her disabled little brother died en route to Holland when the rest of the family was evacuated during the Indonesian War of Independence. Back in the Netherlands, the family sought to pick up the pieces of their lives in a different and often unwelcoming environment. They all suffered physically and psychologically from the horrors of the war, especially the mother, and this added a huge burden of care on her children.

Ingrid’s honest but gruelling autobiography gives valuable insights into the enormous disruption and suffering war causes on the lives of innocent people. It also shows their courage and fortitude to battle on and overcome the deprivation and traumas of the past.

In 1958 at age 16, Ingrid immigrated to New Zealand alone to train as a nurse. There she made a new life for herself. With a strong faith in God she testifies: “It seems hard to do, but for our own good and with God’s help, we can rid ourselves of hate and forgive those who treated us badly.”

It’s a captivating and unforgettable story and I recommend it to all readers.


MISSION: Connecting Christian writers in New Zealand.

VISION: To cultivate, encourage and inspire a vibrant community of Christian writers throughout New Zealand.

VALUES: Christian faith, God’s Word, professionalism, quality and social outreach.

NZ CHRISTIAN WRITERS is a nationwide collective of authors, bloggers, editors, lyricists, poets, publishers, songwriters, storytellers, and writers throughout New Zealand. Along with our bi-monthly magazines and competitions we offer inspiring seminars and writers retreats to encourage, inspire and upskill people in their writing. NZ Christian Writers’ vision is to cultivate a vibrant community of Christian writers by connecting them to other like-minded writers in New Zealand. We welcome both beginner and experienced writers.

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