December 3, 1944

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December 3rd – No action – No news. The silence is depressing, but we still hope for release by Xmas The Japanese must be making very determined efforts to retake Leyte – Also we have heard of some sort of bombing truce applicable to the Manila area for the first week in December –

“Hamlet” plus Landauer’s analysis is giving me great pleasure – analysis is not quite the word – appreciation perhaps would be better –

I walked about a little bit today – But I am so weak that I can only keep on my feet for 5-10 minutes –

Good humor is more necessary than ever –


December 2, 1944

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Dec. 2nd –Fluoroscopy this A.M. No indication of spots or lesions. – My blood pressure is only 90/70 – The doctors have ordered me to bed, up only for meals – At night I play a rubber or so of bridge with my friends in the broadcasting room – And so to bed –

No news today – No action.

I have decided to read Shakespeares’s plays and along with them Gustav Landauer’s excellent analyses. Landauer’s 2 vol. “Shakespeare” should be translated into English – Some day, I intend to make this translation, if one does not exist already.

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Today I read “Hamlet” – I can understand why critics cannot agree on his character – Now I shall read Landauer, and then re-read the tragedy – Perhaps both three or four times – The conflicts go far below the surface of the play, and it seems to me that at times character development goes far beyond the play development.

For the last few days I have felt as if I were in a vacuum, around which whirled vast storms and battles – How I wish the storm would break over our heads, that the clouds would burst and the hail fall – The tension is wearing us all out –

When shall we all meet again – And when shall there be peace and relief from the horrors of this slaughter?


December 1, 1944

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Dec. 1st – No action – Have a frightful cold – No room in the Hospital – So must stay in my room.

150 internees over 50 years of age are to be transferred to Los Baños. This means that either the Japanese want more room for themselves, or that they intend to intern the 120 class “A” persons still on release at home – The blind, the paralyzed, the crippled, the advanced TB’s, the cancers. If the latter, then our work in caring for the sick will be multiplied enormously –

Still reading “As I Remember Him”. Enjoying it immensely –

No new rumors about the comfort kits – No war news – Morale low.


November 30, 1944

Nov. 30th

Air-raid alert at 8:20 AM. I feel very much better today. Probably because the depressing effect of large dosages of Sulfa-drugs has been eliminated –

Clarence Beliel, head of publicity, Bessie Hackett, his Asst., and I have founded a “Prunes for Gloomy Remarks Club.” Anyone making a gloomy remark about the war, the relief shipment, personal health, or conditions in the camp, is given a black mark. When the kits arrive, each black mark must be redeemed with a prune from the comfort kits (or 6 raisins, or 1 dried apricot). Bessie has 1 black mark; so have I. The aim is not to make us Pollyannas

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but to prevent gloomy discussions which do no good.

We hear the relief ship is in the Bay. and that the prisoners in Bilibid31 already have their kits.

All clear at 4:03 PM – No action –

Tomorrow we go into December – our 36th month of internment – what is the situation compared with Nov. 1st?

To begin with, the food is less – In calories: 950 against. 1250. Camp reserves are gone – The camp is out of money (except a small sum – in purchasing power – just rec’d from the Amer. Red Cross). There is no more coconut milk – Individual reserves are depleted -Probably not more that 10% of the internees have more than a few cans left.

The health of the camp is much worse – the aged are becoming increasingly helpless – the children are growing paler, and the group from 18-50 have lost much weight. We are now forced to turn the entire gymnasium into a hospital (250 beds) – This means 120 beds in Sta Cat., 60 beds in the Isolation Hosp., 20 beds in the Childrens Hosp. & 250 in the Gym or a total of 450 hospital beds – over 12% of the entire population hospitalized,

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and almost, 15% of the adult population in bed – This does not include at least 200 more for whom special housing arrangements have had to be made – So that we can say with truth that 20-25% of the people over 18 years in this camp must be given special care by nurses & orderlies & doctors – you can imagine what work this is!

From the military viewpoint our position has improved – We have tightened our grip on Leyte & Samar and have smashed all Jap attempts at reinforcement. The bombings of Luzon have intensified & landings may soon be effected – We have landed also on the islands of Cebu & Panay, perhaps on Mindoro –

Another fact which will help us – if it really arrives – is the relief ship – There, is a very good chance of this –

Summing up – If both the Marines and the relief supplies arrive in the next weeks, we’ll be weak but alive – If the relief supplies arrive, the Marines can wait until Feb. – If the Marines arrive, they’ll have to feed us slowly back to a decent standard – If neither Marines nor kits arrive, there will be many deaths and widespread permanent physical impairment – So Come on you Leathernecks!

[End of part one of Holland’s Journal; part two is contained in a paperbound “Bureau of Education” notebook, a child’s schoolbook most likely produced in the Philippines, as well as several loose scraps of paper. The entries beginning on December 1st, 1944 are in the notebook with every other page being numbered.]


November 29, 1944

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Nov. 29th

Well, my week is up and so far I have heard of no great developments.

I want to write in here a few remarks on “Eyeless in Gaza” and “The Late George Apley” but I do not have strength enough – I am reading fitfully “As I Remember Him” by Hans Zinsser.

My weight is 103 lbs, down 15 pounds since Nov. 1st. At this rate, I’ll hit the scales at 87 by New-Year’s Day – But there must be a decreasing rate of fall in weight.


November 28, 1944

Nov. 28th

Still in bed – The pathologist says the dysentery is worse – Still miserable – Thank God we have had the Flexner bacillus here and not the Shiga bacillus!

No action all day – Very few rumors – everyone depressed –

Tonight it was announced there will be no more coconut milk – As I mentioned before, the loss in calories is not important. But the loss in palatability is very great –

Cigarettes came into camp today – who will get them?


November 27, 1944

Nov 27th

In bed – fever – diarrhea – Sulfaguanidine – paregoric30 – utterly miserable – Slept nearly all day – Very dizzy & weak from the Sulfa drug –

Never have rumors been so great as today –

1) Jap admirals killed Nov. 25th when our planes bombed battleship & cruisers in Manila Bay

2) tokyo bombed by 7 waves of B-29’s (100 planes to the wave) – We lost 2 planes due to mechanical trouble

3) Berlin has fallen, Germany has surrendered.

4) We have taken Formosa –

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5) We have landed in Panay –

6) The invasion of Luzon is imminent.

7) the comfort kits are on the pier.

Well, we have been under “air-alert” conditions since 10:00 AM today – The Americans have warned Filipinos on Luzon to prepare a 3 weeks stock of food and to stay at home when the invasion started – So, the attack on Luzon may well come at any time – I am looking forward to release by Xmas – On Nov 21st I wrote “In the next week we shall see great things. I never felt as hopeful before.” Tomorrow ends the week. – Air-alert off at 3:30 PM


November 26, 1944

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Nov 26th

I have had a talk with some of our doctors29 – they told me that the No. of deaths will increase greatly in December – The diet is beginning to take its toll – up to now the deaths have been limited to the aged – where there is an organic defect – especially arteriosclerosis, myocarditis hypertensive heart disease, etc. This diet is murder. The young children – under ten – will hold pretty well, but the children from 10-15 will suffer later – TB, nervous disorders, eye trouble, heart trouble – the young adults – 20-35 will loose a great deal of weight, will be very tired & weak, but should pick up quickly – those between 35-50 will find it harder to recover.

The protein deficiency is very bad, and is one of the reasons we have so much diarrhea – We crave both fats & sweets – I wonder if you know how serious the situation is? or have you been told that we are in good health and well provided with food?

It is interesting to note that hunger dreams are increasing – always frustration – the meal is just about to be served, when the dreamer wakes up – or the food is taken away, or the restaurant is closed, or the food behind plate glass –

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I am very weak today – Possibly bacillary dysentery – if so, it will be the third time, the second time since the beginning of September – At times, I wonder if I will live to see the end of this –

I have bacillary all right – but there is no room in the Hospital – no possibility of getting on the soft diet line – So I am to stay in my room (30 others sleep there) and take Sulfaguanidine) – No wonder the disease spreads all over the camp!

The all clear sounded at 2:00 P.M. this afternoon – no action all day –


November 25, 1944

Nov. 25th

Air-raid siren at 7:30 – Bombing has started.

At 4:00 PM the air raid alarm is still on – The bombing has been sporadic – The bombs somewhat heavier – Grace Park, The Port Area, and the railroad

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lines & roadways leading [sic]28 of the City to the Northwest were strafed & bombed – There was some activity over Mariquina Valley to the East – The raid did not seem the type which would herald an invasion of Luzon – Still, rumors of landings are current again.

You would laugh, if you could see us picking up cigar stubs & cigarette butts, and rerolling them into cigarettes – I’ll never look down my nose again at the tramps in Central Park & the beggars in the Bowery – And I begin to understand the “sterno” drinkers along the waterfront.

The dysentery cases are getting worse in both quantity & quality – The hospital is full of them – Thank God: we have the Sulfa drugs still – I do not know what we’ll do, when we run out.

The air-raid passed signal was given at 6:30 PM, 11 hours air-raid. The second longest yet – 13 days since Sept 21st in which we have had raids – (7 since Nov.)

I have been reading “Eyeless in Gaza” by Huxley. I am enjoying it, because I believe I have hit on the right way to read it – More later about this book. Also more about “The Late George Apley.”