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Object Record

Baby Bonnet
Lent by Sandra Roche Small

Baby Bonnet

Credit: Lent by Sandra Roche Small

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 6.75" H x 5.75" W x 6" D

Physical Description

Machine-sewn cotton with ties.

Specific History

This baby bonnet was made for Sandra Roche who was born in a Japanese civilian internment camp in Weihsien in northeast China. According to family legend the bonnet was made by another internee from cafe curtains on a hand-cranked sewing machine. At age seven months, Sandra and her parents, along with 1,400 other Allied civilians, were rescued on August 17, 1945 by a seven-man team put together by the United States Office of Strategic Services. Two of the rescuers, Tad Nagaki and Stanley Staiger, signed the bonnet. The other signatures belong to Roche family friends and people the family met on its return to the United States.

General History

Beginning in 1941, the Japanese forced thousands of Allied civilians living in occupied Asian countries into internment camps. Among the internees were nearly 14,000 American businessmen, missionaries, and teachers -- and their families. Held captive from Manchuria to Indo-China, they endured deplorable conditions, numbing boredom, and often cruel treatment at the hands of guards with vicious, leashed dogs. By the time they were rescued, starvation rations had reduced many of them to living skeletons who had to be carried to safety.


Country: China
War: World War II
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