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Fifty Years of Silence

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  36 reviews
"Sebuah catatan yang menyentuh hati dan emosional tentang trauma dan teror yang dialami Jan Ruff-O`Herne sebagai seorang “wanita penghibur” muda. Kisahnya menyampaikan luka hati dan penghinaan dari perbudakan seks."
- The Age

“Sebuah buku yang luar biasa.... Bacalah.”
- The Canberra Times

Kisah hidup luar biasa dari seorang korban selamat dari perkosaan pada masa perang..

Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 12th 2011 by Elex Media Komputindo (first published December 22nd 1994)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  244 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Diane in Australia
Jan was the first European 'comfort woman' to come forward with her story of being forcibly raped in a brothel set up for Japanese officers. Before the war, she had purposed in her mind to become a Catholic nun. She tells her story with a gentle touch, and yet reveals the terrible toll they all paid as POWs during WWII.

4 Stars = Outstanding. It definitely held my interest.
Talia Carner
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mass rape as a tool of war has been used throughout history to break a nation’s spirit. But the Japanese treatment of women in all the countries they’ve conquered during WWII was more self-serving as they placed thousands of captured women in “Comfort Stations” to satisfy the sexual needs of its army.

Around the Pacific Rim, the enslaved women were Asian, and over the decades that have passed, the voices of the survivors—outrage and pain—were often lost. At the 1995 International Women’s
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2, 2014, memoir
Jan Ruff-O'Herne lived an idyllic childhood in Indonesia, until the Japanese invaded during World War 2. She was imprisoned in horrific conditions with her mother and sisters in a prisoner of war camp, just for being Dutch. From there she was taken to a brothel for Japanese soldiers and was repeatedly raped. Throughout her whole ordeal, she kept her strong faith in God, and continually inspired the other women, by praying with them and reading the Bible to them. I was continually inspired by her ...more
Kimberly Westrope
This is a very moving memoir of a young woman who, along with her family, was sent to a prison camp when the Japanese army invaded Indonesia. Along with nine other young women, she was sent to live and work in a brothel, where she was abused and raped repeatedly.

I had a hard time reading parts of this book, it was so heart-breaking. This woman, and many like her suffered so much at the hands of the Japanese army. But her faith sustained her and kept her strong.

I've read many stories of WWII
Tracey Anderson
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had thought early on that this would be a four star memoir at best. As I read on I became astounded at the strength and courage of this former "comfort woman". To be able to keep such strong faith whilst going through something so traumatic and be able to still comfort others at the same time is something I'll never fully comprehend. Jan kept her terrible secret for fifty years and only to help others did she come forward. Jan Ruff O'Herne is extraordinary.
I was interested in this topic after reading A Pledge of Silence By Flora J. Solomon I had heard of this book but hadn’t seen any reviews or didn’t even know it’s name I had to go digging looking for it. As a book it wasn’t written as well as A Pledge of Silence, it had the personal narrative voice throughout and in a way it held you at arms length Jan Ruff O’Herne shared much of her life but not really her vulnerability. You passed through her experience but you do not linger and the three ...more
MaryJo Dawson
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an inspiring narrative, skillfully told, of the life of this courageous woman. Her happy childhood, and strong faith-based upbringing is what gave her the strength to survive the horrors endured during the 3 1/2 years of Japanese occupation in her homeland of Indonesia. By far the worst time was the 3 months of being forced into sexual slavery for the use of the Japanese soldiers.
Clinging to God's faithfulness in spite of her situation is what sustained not only Jan herself, but her
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lesson to my lack of knowledge.

This was a good book. Opened my eyes to the unknown secrecy of war. The abuses of not only the p.o.w men but what the women went through as well. The strengths of women and their strength in the power of prayer. A very strong generation of men and women.
Goh Jiayin
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple yet horrifying account on one person's story of being a comfort woman during the war. It is sad to read but thank you for sharing your story.
There are no words that I can string together to write a review that would adequately express the facet of emotions I went through while reading this heart wrenching account of family, love, inspiration, despair, hopeless, fear, dread, just to make my way back to love again.

I cried throughout and felt for all the woman and men who were torn away from their families and placed into war camps. I was appalled to read how cruelly humans treated other humans. How these prisoners of war were starved
Kathleen Hagen
50 Years of Silence, by
Jan Ruff-O'Herne
narrated by Beverley Dunn, produced by Bolinda Audio, downloaded from

I can’t describe this better than the publisher’s note so I’m including it here. The reader read this book very slowly and expressively. It was almost like having the author sitting in your living room telling you this painful story.

Publisher’s note:
Jan Ruff-O'Herne's powerful memoir of her time as a Japanese "comfort woman" during World War II and her journey to recovery
A moving story told simply but with wisdom, compassion and forgiveness.

The pace and tone of Jan's memoir is beautifully balanced between descriptions of her youth before the Japanese invasion and her family's internment in prison camps; her life after the war; and then her campaign for acknowledgement of the crimes against all women where were dragooned by the Japanese occupation forces as sex slaves. As Jan points out, it is offensive to use the common word "comfort women" as there was nothing
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional book on a number of different levels. In the end though, in my opinion, it is a book about someone having their faith severely tested and coming out the other side. The physical atrocities the author went through were horrendous and she could have been forgiven for giving up her faith. However, her faith remained strong and she is now considered a leader in the community and has been acknowledged by the Pope, amongst others. The book addresses a number of different issues, ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a nightmare this young woman lived through,in history books the crimes perpetrated by the Japanese against women and children have been largely overlooked and forgotten,the Japanese government refuses to acknowledge these crimes which were equal to what was happening in Europe during WWII. So glad this young survived and became the voice of other women like her.
Amazing story of survival and courage of one woman enslaved by the Japanese during war and forced into sexual slavery. Her fifty years of silence that ended with this book which is written with a great deal of clarity and emotion, O'Herne lives in Australia and has since made a documentary of her and other women's experiences as part of their campaign to receive an apology from Japan.
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Triumph over tragedy

This amazing story demonstrates how the human spirit carries on in even the harshest times. Very inspirational. I never knew what women faced during wartime. Everyone should read this.
Lauren Price
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up for $1 on the way home from a massage. I didn't expect much given the price but I was interested in reading a new book and a true story on war rape seemed like a griping read. I am glad that I came across this book and would recommend it to others. Jan is an inspiring woman.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I think it was like talking to my grandmother. It was a fascinating book, telling a story not often told. Or perhaps not often enough told.
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a powerful, sad, victorious story of some very courageous girls/women and their will to live.

May this kind of atrocities even happen again.

Gülseren Tozkoparan

The story you would not like to hear! Must read to realize how bad a war is!!
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SAlute to you maam!!!
I cried through approximately 1/3 of this book.
Claire Gillian
Simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting.
Melissa Morris
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. Terrible, though, what she went through at the hands of the Japanese.
Chippo Writes
This book teach you how to live your life whatever happen to you , an inner strength from a good.believer
Mochammad Tamami
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Bowery
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overwhelming sad.
Emma Berg
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There have been few autobiographies that cover the subject of crimes against humanity in wartime that have struck me so deeply. Her ability to humanize not only herself but others is truly a gift.

Ms. Ruff-O'Herne tells her story of being a "comfort woman"--a wartime prostitute forcibly conscripted by the Japanese army after she spent three and a half years in an internment camp. It is a part of history that is often overlooked, as the systematic rape of women has, until recently, been seen as an
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thank Jan for recording her story, it was a very brave thing to do. In speaking out after 50 years Jan and other “comfort women” of all nationalities, were able to have it recorded that women were and are sexually violated in war, and that the shame of these acts should not be theirs to carry.
I also enjoyed reading about the Dutch East Indies, Both before and during the war, and I learned something about the Indonesian revolution too. The most powerful takeaway from the book was Jan’s Ability
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to audio book while working. Extremely well narrated. I enjoyed this book. I was afraid it would be terribly depressing. She and her family were blessed to have all survived. The Japanese were horrendously BRUTAL and SAVAGE to so many during the war. Her faith and ethic of service to others was inspiring.
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Jan O’Herne was born in 1923 at Bandoeng, in central Java. After the Japanese invasion of the NEI, she, her mother, and her two sisters were interned, along with thousands of other Dutch women and children, in a disused and condemned army barracks at Ambarawa.

In February 1944 a truck arrived at the camp, and all the girls 17 years and above were made to line-up in the compound. The ten most