Series 1, Part 8 by Jill Hyem

First broadcast: Thursday 10 December 1981

August 1942. One of the boys turns thirteen and is transferred to the men’s camp. His mother is grief-stricken and disobeys Sato’s orders to move away from the main gate, but her fellow prisoners come to her support and surround Sato threateningly. Marion meets with Yamauchi and instead of receiving a punishment for their behaviour, as she fears, he offers them a chance to write postcards home. Beatrice prepares Debbie for her mother’s death and seeks Blanche’s help in obtaining morphia for a Dutch patient, but she refuses. The women are indignant when they learn that their postcards home must include a compulsory propaganda sentence, however, the ridiculous options provided provoke much hilarity. Blanche loses patience and suggests the formation of an escape committee, but Marion will have none of it, not least because of the possible repercussions for those left behind. Judith asks Marion to take care of Debbie just before she dies. Blanche is determined to escape and asks Rose to come with her. Rose refuses now that she knows there is a men’s camp but promises not to tell anyone about Blanche’s plans. At Judith’s funeral, Sister Ulrica observes Nellie crossing herself and questions her about her faith. Blanche begins to gather various items for her escape bid, some of which belong to Mrs Van Meyer, who complains to Marion about the various thefts she has suffered. Debbie observes Blanche hiding more materials for the escape and threatens to tell the others unless she takes her too, but she refuses. Blanche says goodbye to Rose. That night, Debbie follows Blanche out of the hut. Dorothy comes across them at the perimeter of the compound and promises Blanche that she will tell no-one. Rose learns from Dorothy that Debbie is with Blanche. Rose wakes Marion. Marion decides that for Debbie’s sake they must alert Yamauchi to the escape bid. The next morning, Debbie and Blanche are marched back into camp and placed in the punishment hut, while Marion and Rose are left to contemplate their actions.

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About Andy Priestner

Trainer and consultant on social media, marketing and comms, user experience and ethnography, leadership, strategic thinking, change and LEGO Serious Play
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