You are cordially invited

to premiere screening of the documentary


presented by B.C. ALPHA

(Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia)


supported by the Peace and Justice Committee of the City of Vancouver


Date:  October 29, 2005 (Saturday)

Time:  2 – 4 pm

Venue: Committee Room One

3/F, Vancouver City Hall

12th Avenue & Cambie


Admission is free

Only limited seats are available, please RVSP before Oct 26, 2005

by email to



WITNESS TO HISTORY - EXCERPTS (17 mins) on video are available to preview below.  

To save a copy, right-click on the link and select "Save Target As" from the pop-up menu.


Video File

Format (103 MB)

Apple QuickTime v6.5 or later (13 MB)  

Apple QuickTime v6.5 or later


To purchase of the full version DVD, please select the usage of the DVD:

All purchase will help the peace and justice education works of ALPHA.


For institutional use: CAD$50 For home use: CAD$20


CAD$5 shipping and handling fee

For more information, please contact





Since the publication of the resource guides Human Rights in the Asia Pacific 1931-1945 – Social Responsibility and Global Citizenship by the BC Ministry of Education, BC ALPHA has been striving to offer support to teachers in the effective use of this resource, especially in grade 11 Social Studies, grade 12 History and Law.  Besides organizing workshops for teachers to get acquainted with this resource guide,  BC ALPHA has also organized annual Study Tour for Canadian teachers to visit survivors, scholars and historical sites of the Asian Holocaust in China starting from 2004.  In line with this spirit, an oral history documentary titled WITNESS TO HISTORY: CANADIAN SURVIVORS OF WWII IN ASIA has just been produced as a companion DVD to the learning resource.


The documentary features the story of four Asian Holocaust survivors, namely Miriam, Tang Yongjiang, Tony Cowling and Marius van Dijk van Nooten.  Three of them were in their childhood at wartime and Tony was only 17 years old when he became a POW.  They witnessed and experienced the sufferings and horrors of war, particularly the impact of atrocities on women and children.  Length of each survivor’s testimony ranges from 21 to 31 minutes and each story was appropriately “chapterized” to allow teachers the versatility in classroom use.  There is also a 17 minute excerpt of testimony highlights available for teachers if they want to introduce briefly more than just one survivors’ experience to the class. 


This companion DVD to the learning resource will soon be available for purchase by schools and the general public.  Price for institutional user is $50 and home user, $20. All purchase will help the peace and justice education works of ALPHA.


Interview of the survivors and editing was done by Celine Rumalean. Celine is an independent documentary filmmaker, whose feature documentary Yesterday is Now examines how today's Japan views its wartime past.


In addition to the testimonies, the DVD also contains additional materials, including an introduction of the resource guide and the Peace and Reconciliation Study Tour for Canadian Teachers organized by BC ALPHA.





Tony Cowling was born in Singapore in 1924. He was working for his father on a rubber estate in Malaya when the Japanese invaded. At the age of seventeen, he joined the RAF in Singapore. He was captured in Java soon after. He spent three and a half years in many slave labour camps in Japanese occupied Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. After the war, he settled in Canada and worked as a teacher librarian. My Life With the Samurai is Anthony Cowling's book on how he survived the Japanese death camps


Tang Yongjiang was born in China in 1929. In 1937, when he was eight, his hometown came under Japanese attack. His family moved many times for their safety. They lost a son to the Japanese, their home and most of their possessions. After the war, he became a school teacher. After his retirement, he came to Canada to join his children in 1997.


Marius van Dijk van Nooten was born in the Netherlands in 1930 and grew up in the Dutch East Indies. He was eleven when the Japanese invaded in 1942 and was put into many concentration camps. After the war, he returned to the Netherlands and joined the merchant marines. In 1954, he moved to Canada and became a sea captain.


Miriam was born to a missionary family on a small island off Celebes, now Sulawesi in Indonesia. In 1942, just before Miriam turned two, her family was put into many concentration camps in Sumatra by the Japanese. Her family was eventually reunited and moved to the Netherlands in 1946. There, she became a teacher, a principal and a registered nurse. In 1965, she immigrated to Canada and worked as a RN.