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The world ended in Mango Street

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Press release │ Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Canberra June 2017

The Dutch diplomatic mission in Australia proudly support the production of ‘The World Ended on Mango Street’, a documentary about a Dutch woman who spent several years in a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia during WWII. The contribution is made through the Shared Cultural Heritage funding program.                                      

The World Ended on Mango Street is a documentary by Australian filmmaker Thomas Watson about his grandmother, Yvonne Holman; a Dutch woman who was imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia for three years and later migrated to Australia. In Australia, Mrs. Holman raised a family of four children but never shared her story with her family, creating an atmosphere of secrecy that deeply affected them. She passed away in 2013.                                                             

It was not until he met French filmmaker Jean-Baptiste Brelière that Watson realised how necessary it was to answer the questions his grandmother left. According to Watson, many children whose parents were the victims of the Japanese concentration camps in Indonesia grew up never knowing what happened, which resulted in a lot of conjecture and suffering. This film is an opportunity to acknowledge that. The film reconnects the Australian family to their Dutch heritage.            

The filmmakers went to the Indonesian Camp Lampersari in Semerang city, where Mrs. Holman was imprisoned, to learn more about her long-kept secrets. They also visited the Netherlands where they interviewed Thomas’ great-uncle Robert, who was imprisoned in a concentration camp for boys called Bangkong. He is Mrs. Holman’s last living family member.       

The documentary shines a light on a dark but important chapter in the shared military and migrant history of Australia, Indonesia and the Netherlands that should not be forgotten. The World Ended on Mango Street will be released in 2017 and screened throughout Australia and in South Korea.                                      

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Media contact documentary: Thomas Watson">

Media contact Embassy: Femke Withag">




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