Olaf Harken was born of Dutch and Swedish parents in Indonesia at the beginning of World War II. In 1941 the Japanese attacked Indonesia. During the fighting and nightly bombings, Peter, Olaf, and their Swedish mother managed to escape to Borneo. Their Dutch father, Joe joined the very small Dutch army and helped fight the Japanese until his capture. Joe was imprisoned for five years and was not liberated until the end of the war. Meanwhile, Peter, Olaf, and mother Ulla lived first in Borneo, were then troop-shipped to New Zealand for a year, to Australia for another year, and finally shipped to San Francisco in 1944. Here they were miraculously reunited with their father in 1946 after the war was over.