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Monday, January 31, 2011

Did you know?

My mother and me, my Aunt Eke and her two children were living in the Dutch East Indies when World War2 broke out and the Netherlands declared war to Japan. The Japanese soon invaded the Dutch Indies. The year was 1942  March 8. We had house arrest.Our Indonesian friends did what they could to bring us food and stayed true friends with us. Until the Japs told them that if they were caught, helping the Blanda"s ( white people) they would be severely punished.One day we were called to register with the Japs, and our blood was registered. We were full blood European and we were given a card and a number. This number we had to wear, just as the Jewish people had to wear their stars. This also meant that we were going to be put in Prison Camps, because we were considered a danger to them. In October 1942 we had to assemble on the streets and were taken to the train station, with just one little suitcase each, where they pushed and shoved us in these trains like cattle, with no windows and fresh air, we were told that they took us to protected camps, where we were supposed to be save. From what? from who? from them?We were told that we belonged to Japan from now on,we belonged to the Emperor Hirohito, we owned no houses anymore and we had no country. We had to obey by their rules. We were not allowed to call it prison camps. We were the call it protection camps.But if that was so, why was it that they starved us to death and worked us to death, and tortured us?? If this is what they called protection camps. This was Hell!!!!!It's what my mother told me. I was only 1 1/2 year old at the time and we were in these camps for three and a half years years until the war was over. The Japanese did not tell us until the end of August. Thanks to the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,otherwise the Japs would have slaughtered us all and not a sole would have survived. The date to slaughter us all was set for August 26 1945. Liquidate all Blanda"s ( white people,) Is this not the same as what the Jewish people went through???We were in concentration camps and never in Dutch history is written about this. Why????These dutch women, children and men had to keep their mouths shut. Never did we hear how bad it had been there in that far away land. It was far from the beds of the Dutch. We only now find out what really happened, because our parents left notes and diaries behind for us to read. These diaries and notes were written in those prison camps and they were hidden, even when they arrived in The Netherlands they kept these hidden away for nobody to be seen. Why??Why did Holland never acknowledged that their country men had suffered so badly in the Dutch East Indies.They knew all about  what happened there. I have so many questions.Please Holland can you answer me?
Why was it, that my mother my aunt and all these women and men after world war2 was over, could not return to their houses??? I know.... but lots of people in Holland do not know. Because you are ashamed,it is a black page in your history, which you do not like to be reminded of. It is like opening a can of worms. Soon you will have your wish, because not many people our age and who were there will be alive anymore. Lots of them have passed away. My father died fighting for his country the Netherlands, my mother never received his salary. What did you do with it??? You played another war with the soldiers pay.You have kept that well hidden.I am so angry. My mother and aunt lives were never the same when they returned to the Netherlands. They were never able to talk about it, they had terrible nightmares their whole life.My mother was in hospital one year for an operation. The women on her ward asked if she had been in a camp. Because she got up all the time and told them that she had to try to get some food for the children, and every time the doctor came to see her, she got up and tried to get out of the bed, to bow for the doctor, terrified that she would get a beating. She believed she was back in Japanese camp.My cousin told told me that her mother had ripped up everything what had to do with the time in the Dutch East Indies, even her passport, because she had told my cousin that she had been terrified that she would be send back to Indonesia. She always told my mother we have to keep low profile, let nobody know what we have been through, never talk about it, keep low profile.It was easy, because nobody believed it any way. They had come from Paradise, what did they know about world war2.....? How they must have suffered....Mom, Aunt Eke and all the women , children and men who were there, and all those who had died in these horrible Japanese camps,  I would like you to know that your stories will be told.... we will seek recognition! So all of you can rest in Peace!!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Japanese POWs and German POWs.

In a very detailed and unbelievable documentation, the book " Prisoners of the Japanese"," the author Gavan Daws" writes about this.The death toll in these Japanese Prison Camps was unbelievable high. Percentage wise 4% German Prisoners of war, against 33% of Japanese Prisoners of war.
My mother and I were in Japanese Prison camp in Moentilan and Banjoebiroe 10.We were taken to Banjoebiroe on the first of August 1945. When we arrived in this camp it was so full, 5300 women and children were taken here, to be liquidated,and she told me once that in this camp around 15 women or children died per day. They all died from starvation, torture, exhaustion, etc.The Japanese had plans to either poison, starve or shoot us.They were told not to leave any traces.

We are fighting for justice. After all these years we are tired of hearing about the poor Jewish people, yes it was terrible. But what about the poor Dutch people from the Dutch Indies?....they had to look out for themselves.
When it was apparent that injustice was done to the Jewish people and they got compensation, the Netherlands came up with "A GESTURE" this was for the difficult Dutch people from the Dutch Indies, and for once and for all they would hopefully shut up..... However there are only a few left, so it would not cost the Netherlands a lot....!!!!

The Netherlands recovered quickly after the war, thanks to the Marshall Plan.The Netherlands keeps very quiet about this. Studies about this subject have been put aside.

But never was and is thought about the fact that this fast rebuilding of the Netherlands after the Second World War had anything to do with the offers the Dutch People in the Dutch Indies had given.We lost everything, our houses, our furniture, our bank accounts,not a single photograph.Always the Dutch who were occupied by the Germans were talking about how they had suffered. But they were still in their own houses, slept in their own beds, eat from their own plates with their own knife and fork.The families were most at the time still all together.All the Dutch who had losses due to the occupancy of the Germans received compensations.In the Dutch Indies not one single family was complete. Fathers were taken away and put in Prison camps, mothers with their children were put in concentration camps and their 10 years old boys were taken away from them. They were considered men and a danger to the Japanese. Can you imagine that your 10 year old boy is taken away from you, because he is considered a man?. They were used for the Japanese war Industry. That they died as rats through systematically starvation, tropical sicknesses, torture, was not important. There were lots of replacements available for the Japanese Industry. They used these prisoners of war for their production lines. The blanda's(White people) were educated and were a welcome force for their production lines, because their own potential workforce was not available. In many cases these POWs were put to work for Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and 15 other concerns and  zaibatsu is a Japanese term referring to industrial and financial business conglomerates in the Empire of Japan, whose influence and size allowed for control over significant parts of the Japanese economy from the Meiji period until the end of World War two. They had to work day and night.
Millions of people died in the war in South Asia, fought by the Japanese.They were starved, worked to death and killed. They estimate that 20 up to 35 million were killed. In this estimate were 150.000 people with the Dutch Nationality, military,civilians, women and children from the formal Dutch Indies in the East. From which between 1942 and 1945 20% lost their lives.The capitulation which was forced on Japan by the Americans with the A-bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima should not have come on a later date, because the liquidation plans to murder all prisoners of war were ready.The date was set for August 26,1945. This percentage would then have been 100%. One of the biggest mass murders were the death marches from camp Sandakan in Borneo.Twenty five hundred men were send into the jungle in groups of five hundred. Sick or not sick. The men who stayed behind because they could not walk anymore were killed with one single bullet. In July 1945 the camp was empty. Five men had tried to escape, and one prisoner the Australian Owen Campbell survived. Otherwise nobody would have ever heard of the Sandakan murders.See the story on the website of Sado.
Gavan Daws would not have been able to write the book "Prisoners of the Japanese" if the war had not been stopped by the A-Bombs.

Lots of this information I am writing about is from the svjappenkampen organization/. from Lilian Sluyter, she is doing an phenomenal job.Thanks to all the people who working so hard to get justice:
chairman: Paul Horsman. Secretary: L. Sluyter, Treasurer: Ir. J.H. Tulner, admin. Greta Mosselman,a few more names, Peter van Vliet, Bart van der Woerd and webmaster: Rene Scholte. I hope I did not forget anybody.Thanks, and thanks again for all the hard work.
I will keep following your site and I will keep writing about this forgotten war.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To remember them is to honour them!

"To remember them is to honor them" that's the message Roger had.

Roger Mansell. Oct.8-1935-Oct.25-2010.

Rest in Peace, and thanks for everything.

His legacies in POW research and more. See the website:

All things to nothingness descend,
Grow old and die and meet their end:
Man dies, iron rusts, wood goes decayed,
Towers fall, walls crumble, roses fade.
Nor long shall any name resound
Beyond the grave, unless 't be found
In some clerk's book; it is the pen
Gives immortality to men.

(written by Master Wace (born circa 1100)

University Research center on WW2  POWs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why I still keep writing about these misserable years.s!

George Santayana reminds us that the lessons of history are invaluable in determining the course of the future.:"Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

A couple of years ago a Canadian soldier walked in my office in Jamaica to sign up for a dive.We owned a diving business in Jamaica.I got to talk to him. He told me that he was on vacation with his family at Club Ambiance and had to go back to Iraq the following day coming back from this vacation. He told me that he had become a soldier because he thought it was so cool. He was very young man. He told me it was not so cool, reality is so different. It was horrible what he had seen in the few month's he was a soldier. He told me that he hoped that he would come out of this war in one piece, if he lived. He loved diving and liked to dive everyday, but a soldiers salary is not that great. We told him that he could dive with us every day, if he liked. He had such a good time. He was able to forget for a few days that he had to go back.He said to me:" when you are young you have no idea what war is all about and as a young child you like to be an hero, just like the ones you see on TV." On television they all look like hero's and that is what he liked to be. He was terrified that he would not come back from that hell in Iraq.
Yes, a lot of young people of to-day have no idea about what a war is all about.
A war only causes bereavement. Everybody loses and in the end, there is no winner.

I met another diver in Jamaica who was in Vietnam. He wrote a book. His name is Steve Fehrenbach.We became very good friends and Steve and his wife Debbie came to dive with us every year. The title of his book:" A simple soldier". He came back a very confused man. I read his book and I think everybody should. We are still friends with him. We know him now at least for 18 years. He too wrote this book for his family to give them understanding what he had gone through. Every young man coming back from an experience of the likes of Steve will never be the same. A war is a horrible thing.We live in a very greedy world.Mankind never learns their lessons. Life is so short.Live it to the fullest.

It's always the innocent who suffer the most.

Monday, January 17, 2011

We will seek justice!

We will keep fighting for justice till the end.The Jewish people had to deal with a Germany that has done everything moral and financial to make up with what they had done in world war two. Japan has never done that. This country refers to the fact that it was The Netherlands who declared War to Japan. Queen Wilhelmina told in a radio message from London that all damage received to her countrymen in the Dutch Indies would be compensated for after the war.What happened to this promise?It is 2011 now and we still trying to get justice.So many people who were there, have passed away. Is the Dutch Government waiting for all of us to be gone?The Dutch who came back after the war were so tired and weak, they had no energy left.They arrived back in the Netherlands totally ignored by their fellow country men. All they were trying to do was made a new life for them selves as good as they were allowed to do.They had to start from scratch, they had nothing. No house, no furniture, just some clothes they had received from the Red Cross in Egypt.
When the war broke out in Asia, the English were evacuated. Their country took them out of harms way. The Netherlands told the Dutch not to leave, because it would be a bad example. Do not worry we will compensate all your losses.That's how we ended up in these terrible Japanese camps. The Japanese called these camps protected camps, but they used these men and women for slave work , they tortured and starved us to death. We were not in protected camps we were POW's. We had landed in HELL. These women, children and men who were in these camps were always pushed in the back ground when they returned in the Netherlands.Nobody in the Netherlands ever listed to what they endured in World War two. They were ignored These Dutch countrymen had been in Hell,in Japanese Hell, just the same as the Jews and Gypsies had been in Hell, in Nazi Hell. For fifty years we swallowed. About our prison camp years we never got a chance to talk about.When we arrived back in the Netherlands from the Dutch Indies we were left on our own. We were to busy trying to build a new life. The Dutch Government did not liked to hear about it anyway. So we tried to forget. It was of no use anyway. We came from Paradise it was said.
Other countries who's countrymen had suffered and lost all their belongings while in Japanese prison camps, did compensate, these countries are England, Canada, Norway, Australia and New- Zealand.I am ashamed that I used to be Dutch. My father died fighting for his country, my mother was never told where my father was buried. She never knew that he was transferred from the Burma railroad tracks and was laid to rest in Kanchanaburi  in Thailand.My mother passed away in 2003, she would have been so happy and more at peace if she had known this. I am a proud Canadian and gave up my Dutch Nationality. Our group to seek righteousness are getting old, it is not  money we are looking for, but justification.It is so sad that most of the women and men who suffered so unbelievable in these Japanese camps have passed away, without ever being able to tell, how they had suffered just the seem as the Jews.

In 1990 on August 11, an article in the Telegraaf a dutch newspaper wrote about" transports in pigbaskets"
This dossier 5284 in the Telegraaf mentioned about these Japanese crimes of POW's  in the Dutch Indies. These files are lying in the National Archives in The Hague. It is sad that it became quiet about these very terrible war crimes.

Never was spoken about these war crimes again. This is what happened and had been told by eye-witnesses.

Military Japanese trucks were driving along the Sumatrastreet in Surabaya, he, the eye-witness was riding a bike, he was Indonesian.He saw big pig baskets in the trucks with people in it. These baskets used to be for transportation of pigs.He noticed brown arms and white arms sticking out these baskets and people were screaming for help and asking for water. The men in these baskets were naked, and they had ropes around their arms and legs.Later he heard that these people were Indonesian, Dutch , English and Australian soldiers who had been hiding in the mountains and had been taken prison by the Japanese.He biked behind these transport trucks, but took a short cut to the Harbor of Tanjung Priok.What he saw there took his breath away and made him vomit. The pig baskets were loaded on these flat barges. He told that from the harbor Tandjung Priok the island of Madoera was clearly visible.That's when he saw and many others with him, how these Japanese threw these pig baskets with the men in it, into the sea. He also told that many Ambonese women, children and men were murdered by these Japanese soldiers. Many Ambonese were in Prison Camps and were murdered and burned to death, because they were on the side of The Netherlands.These transports happened daily.

I feel very sad that I have to write about it, now that we have arrived in the year 2011. But I think it is very important that these things which happened in the far East  so long ago should not be forgotten.I am writing this for all the women, children and men who died in this forgotten War, which was world war two and was not only fought in Europe as Holland likes us to believe, but was also fought in Asia.The Netherlands specially liked to forget about this war which they fought in the Dutch Indies. Never in school in the Netherlands were we taught about this, always heard these terrible stories about what happened in Holland, under the occupancy of the Germans.The Dutch people in The Dutch Indies had a very good relationship with the Indonesian people, many are still our friends. I am ashamed of how the Dutch treated the Indonesian people who choose to be Dutch and came to the Netherlands after the war. Hardly anybody in the Netherlands has ever heard about the Bersiap period, which was going on till Holland was forced to give this up.It could have been so different, if they had found a peaceful solution. But it was greed, which is a very bad thing in human mankind.The Netherlands is ashamed about this page in history,( and they should be) that's why they never like to talk about it
I have written a book, about my mother and me, my aunt and her two children,what we endured in these Prison camps. My book is called " I Thought You Should Know" and is under my maiden name Tetske T. van der Wal.It is sold on, ,Barns and Nobles and in your local bookstores.I hope you will read it.
I hope you will keep following my blog coconutconnections, because I have a lot more to tell.