For sale is a Rare WW2 Sterling Silver & Enamel Netherlands Ex Prisoners Of War 1945 Engraved Siam Compact. This compact would have been given out of thanks to perhaps someone that liberated/ or helped the Dutch prisoners of war in Siam, Thailand during WW2. This compact is decorated with a Siam dancer deity on the front and engraved on the back:
“From 11,000 grateful Netherlands ex p.o.w’s Xmas, 1945”
This is an excellent piece of history that could do with further research. Inside the compact the mirror is still present however the powder pillow is missing. This weighs 73 grams and measures 7.4cm in diameter.
In 1943 Dutch prisoners were sent to Thailand where they suffered the same hardships as other Allied POWs. They were treated brutally by the Japanese, and struggled with tropical diseases and the effects of malnutrition. However, the Dutch suffered a significantly lower death rate (15 per cent) to the Australians and British (21 and 22 per cent, respectively). Possibly this was because they had previously lived in the tropics and had more experience in treating tropical illnesses. In addition, no Dutch POWs worked in F Force, which suffered the highest death rates on the railway.
The Dutch experience was also different in that their ethnicity made it possible for some POWs to escape successfully. Whereas Westerners could not to blend into the local population, some Eurasian and indigenous Dutch POWs were able to hide as monks, farmers and even a gardener at the headquarters of the Japanese secret police in Bangkok!
Around 8000 Dutch POWs, who survived working on the Burma-Thailand railway, were later sent to Japan. However, around 3600 died during the voyage. In a single instance in 1944 over 1300 Dutch POWs died when a British submarine sank the transport ship Junyo Maru.
Dutch and Australian POWs were often interned in the same camps or near each other. Their relationship seems by many accounts to have been strained. Perhaps differences in language and culture exacerbated the inevitable tensions between men in captivity. In addition, the Dutch POWs had considerably more resources than Australians, since many of them were captured near their homes. This gave them, initially at least, the capacity to buy more food and other supplies from sources outside the prison camps.
This compact is on an auction on eBay, a link can be seen below for bidding;
This Will be sent via Royal Mail 1st class signed for and dispatched within two working days. Happy to post internationally.