Mina Neidrauer’s history with the island of Saipan can be traced back to World War II, when her husband Chief Quartermaster Richard Neidrauer was deployed to the Pacific. In the many decades that followed, Mina, 93, frequented Saipan to visit her daughter, The Compassionate Friends founder Jill Derickson, who has lived on island for 18 years.
In her visit almost five years ago, Mina brought with her a piece of history: several handkerchiefs with Japanese illustrations. The handkerchiefs are on display at the CNMI Museum and she said she makes an effort to see them during every visit.
A World War II Marine who resided on Saipan after the battle concluded and whom Mina met near her residence in Portland, Oregon gave the illustrations to her. The Marine, whose daughter resides on island, became friends with a Japanese prisoner, who was an artist.
“The artist wanted to do some drawings, but had no paper to draw on. Jack [the Marine] had several linen hankies and he gave them to the prisoner who made beautiful pictures on them and gave them to Jack for his kindness,” she told Saipan Tribune.
She added, “I asked to see the hankies and what Jack was going to do with them. He said that maybe his children would want them—it turned out they didn’t so I brought them to Saipan so they could be displayed in the CNMI Museum where they are now, framed and hanging on the wall.”
Mina explained how impressed she was when she first viewed the drawings.
“You could tell that he was a talented artist. I have no idea how he did them, but come to see them and you will see the beauty!”
She urges residents and visitors to visit the museum to view the illustrations for themselves.
“There is much history there and many, many interesting things displayed there from recent times and from long, long ago. It is fascinating to walk through the galleries and see what is there,” she added.
Mina is back home in Portland, Oregon, where she enjoys playing bridge with her many friends. She explained that she has made many new friends on island and enjoys her visit every year to escape the cold stateside weather.