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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Our trip to Holland

Just returned from my vacation in Holland. We had a great time. Met lots of our friends, who we had not seen for over 40 years.It was like time stood still. The only difference was a few wrinkles.We left 0n May 6 with KLM and arrived in Holland Saturday May 7, 12 noon.On Tuesday May 10 we went to The Hague, to attend a demonstration in front of the Japanese embassy.The Dutch who survived the war as prisoners of war from the Japanese, demonstrate every second Tuesday of each month.This has been done for years. The Japanese have never acknowledged their wrong doings in World War 2.Two people from the foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts spoke with the Prime Minister of Japan the Excellency Naoto KAN.

Elizabeth van Kampen and me in front of the Japanese embassy, in the background my cousin Toby.
Here we are the three of us in The Hague at the demonstration.


Disasters caused by nature are difficult to comprehend, albeit they offer numerous opportunities for change. An obvious one and most exciting is the quantum leap one can make in resolving old problems. In this context the earthquake and tsunami could be a chance "to face up to the past in shaping the future." These famous words by the great former German President Freiherr Von Weizsacker made it possible for the German people to accept their responsibility for the past in acknowledging the wrongdoings by the Nazi regime and compensate the victim materially and immaterially.

Prime Minister,

In my previous petition I initiated an opportunity in the field of sustainable energy. Japan's original strategy to rely in future on mainly nuclear power will no longer get the public support needed. Preference, desire and expectations in establishing future energy sources determine the strategic decisions. No longer are short cuts or committee decisions the order of the day, but dynamic leadership with a clear vision and willingness to invest in the future will be required. We noted that you have been much involved in setting up a reconstruction agency to cope with the immediate task of restoring the earth quake and tsunami damage, but with a view to the future too. In this context it would be suitable to consider the suggestions made in my previous petition 197. The Dutch sustainable energy initiators could jointly with Japanese industry and the Japanese government explore ways of cooperation whereby the fruits of this cooperation could form the basis of a new foundation which would resolve the historic wrongs of the Japanese military in the Far East, in particular the Dutch from the Dutch East Indies during the Pacific War.

Prime Minister,
I sincerely look forward to your early reply. Time is of the essence in restoring confidence and taking lead.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk.

We held up a big sign , which said: NO PEARL HARBOR....NO HIROSHIMA! After the demonstration, which lasted for about an hour, we all met in a restaurant close to the Peace Palace in The Hague, and got to hear what the Japanese ambassador had to say. As usual they had all kinds of excuses.I met a few people who had been in the same prison camp as me. It was very emotional.Sad that none of them remembered my mother or my aunt.So many have passed away.It was so nice to meet with Elizabeth van Kampen, who had been a prisoner of war in Banjoebiroe. It was very nice to talk to her.She was 15 years old when she was put in this camp with her two sisters and mother.She told me that she had to work everyday outside the camp, she only knew the girls and young women from her shift.When they got back from their days work they were too exhausted, to even be interested what was going on in the camp. The most remarkable thing was that she, her mother and her sisters must have been on the same transport as my mother and I. We might even have been on the same truck, which took us from this prison camp, after the war. We were one of the last people of the camp who were taken from there, because our mothers were so sick.It was November 26 1945.

The cells in Banjoebiroe 10, where we were locked up.How it is now.
A drawing from Banjoebiroe 10. How it was.

I received an e-mail from Elizabeth van Kampen which said that the foundation had a meeting on June 8 with the house of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament. There will be another demonstration on Tuesday 14th. and the 16th we hope to hear from the Dutch government if we will get a payment, yes or no.
The thing is that all we like to hear, and from the government and the media that not only the Dutch in Holland suffered from world war2, but also the Dutch in the Dutch Indies. Our wartime was nothing compared to the Netherlands they always say. We always get put in the background. Very strange indeed, because we are Dutch very much Dutch.When will we get recognition, which we seek so desperately?

I cannot wait till the 16th.

A few more pictures taken in The Hague on May 10 2011.

Elizabeth van Kampen with my husband at the demonstration in The Hague.


                                                  Peace Palace in The Hague

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