Boudewijn van Oort

Boudewijn van Oort was born in South Africa but his earliest childhood memories are from the Dutch East indies whither they immigrated (or fled) in May 1940. They survived the war and internment by the Japanese and returned to South Africa as refugees. The lessons his parents learned from this misadventure affected their reaction to the introduction of the Apartheid policies in South Africa after 1948, and they moved again to Canada. Starting a new life in Canada was much, much harder than it had been in South Africa or the Dutch East Indies, but they are still here.

In 1962 he won a Rhodes Scholarship, probably the only one who could claim having been a child prisoner and owing his prison camp survival in part on the consumption of what passed for "bread" in that camp, with a vital ingredient made from the urine of his father and other fellow male prisoners. It was the realization of the remarkable nature of this story that prompted him to write the book "Tjideng Reunion".

His professional life had mainly been that of a Petroleum Engineer, utilizing his first, Science degree, but upon retirement he was able to devote his energies to pursue the book writing interest that had been awakened in him by earning his Arts degree in Oxford with the study of history. He was exceptionally fortunate to have as modern history tutor, Sir Martin Gilbert of Merton College, who at that time had just been appointed the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill. Without that personal encouragement this remarkable story would never have been told.