Life in Indonesia had its positive and negative points.  Grace was born into a very pampered life--she had a nanny, a chauffer, cook, and other household help as she grew up in Surabaya.  Her family had homes in the city, mountains, and beach.  Her younger brother, Frank, wrote a book about their life in Indonesia1 in which he described their comfortable yet isolated lifestyle.  They spoke Dutch at home and in school and were driven across the street to their school.  They learned English, French, and German, but Indonesian was only for the servants and "natives".


All this changed with World War II.  Grace endured the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, during which her older brother, Hans, was captured and forced on the Bataan Death March (he survived and retired as a librarian from San Diego State University in 1983).  After the Japanese surrender, a bloody civil war erupted which lasted from 1945 until 1949, when Indonesia gained its independence from the Netherlands.  These times haunted Grace in nightmares her entire life since she and her family were imprisoned and their property was confiscated during this period known as the Bersiap.

Life wasn't all bad, however, since Grace was  married to her high school sweetheart, Eduard  Färber, in February of 1949.  It was a very elaborate wedding with lots of bridesmaids, beautiful gowns, and flowers. (Sorry, I couldn't find a photo to scan--hopefully, later.)

Between 1950 and 1951, the family fled Indonesia and traveled to the "fatherland" of The Netherlands, trading the warm tropical climate they had grown accustomed to for safety and peace in the colder climes of northern Europe.

1. Neijndorff, Frank.  Achterom Gekeken: Mijn Jeugd in        Nederlands-Indië 1929-1949. Den Haag.  F. Neijndorff. 1995.

Grace | Indonesia | The Netherlands | Redondo Beach & Torrance | Ventura & Ojai