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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Our monthly demonstration in the Hague, the Netherlands.

                                      NGO, STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Yoshihiko Noda
Prime minister of Japan

The Hague, December 10,2012
Petition 217
Subject: acknowledge moral responsibility


Recently an interesting discovery was made in Denver, the United States. According to the Japan Times:" letters arriving from Japanese-Americans internment camps during World War Two were discovered during renovations." Internees sent letters and postcards to a Denver pharmacy owned by Japanese-Americans requesting them to send bath powder, cold creams or cough drops. About 110,0000 Japanese-Americans were interned during the war. The camps were overcrowded and provided poor living conditions. However the internees were able to correspond with the outside world requesting "luxuries". The conditions in the Dutch camps during World War Two were far worse. In fact these were concentration camps run by the Japanese military in occupied Dutch East Indies. The Dutch people were held in these concentration camps with sole purpose to destroy the Dutch influence in the Dutch East Indies. They were terrorized, denied medicines and provided with poor food. Many died. The survivors were left with traumas, poor futures and as a result of the captivity lost but all.

Prime Minister

The Japanese-Americans received a formal apology from President Reagan and a redress payment of US$ 20,000 each to the surviving internees in 1988. Similarly in the same year the Canadian government issued formal apologies to Japanese Canadians survivors, who were each paid Can$ 19,000. The value of these individual payments nowadays would be around 80,000 Euro. Very much like the Dutch situation when the Japanese Supreme Court dismissed the case for reparations to the Dutch held in concentration camps, so did the Supreme Court of the United States rule in favor of the U.S government.Crucially however, the U.S. Congress did subsequently pass legislation to award the formal payments. In fact, the American politicians accepted the moral obligation for an unjust internment.

Prime Minister,

The generous gesture by the U.S Congress to accept the moral obligation, to apologize and redress the sufferings of these Japanese-Americans puts again in question Japan's position in denying her moral obligation to the Dutch. Japan should follow the American political example, accept its moral obligation and must reconsider its position.

We wish you and the people of Japan, in these testing times, all the best in the New Year.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.



Memories which will never go away, through the eyes of a child. Mothers living the rest of their lives with traumas so unbearable.One can never forget, the atrocities the Japanese military inflicted on them, during that horrible time in World War Two, in the Dutch East Indies as prisoners of the Japanese.

Over crowded.

This little boy is looking for some thing to eat.
Mothers doing whatever they could do to feed their children.
Trying to keep clean, with whatever water was available.

Japan keeps denying the war atrocities. They keep denying that it ever happened.
Japan it's time to come to grips with your past, know your history. Japanese people are not really aware of anything about their own country. Their own perception of their own country is very fragmented and fuzzy. Japanese people are aware that their military past did something very horrible, but they don't quite know what it is....because they've never been properly taught about their own past. Japan not knowing their own history harms Japan more than anybody else.They have never really properly dealt with the past like the Germans have.. The only option they therefor have is....denial. And of course, to play the victim.Their was a big reason for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Your emperor Hirohito sacrificed his own people.
Take responsibility for the crimes and atrocities committed to innocent women and children by your military during the World War Two.
The rest of the world is looking at Japan and is furious at Japan's lack of responsibility to confront their own history.
Japan has the time to March 2013 to come forward with suggestions which might bridge the gap between the comments made diplomatically by the UN delegates and the initial responses by the Japanese delegation.
The Human Rights Council of the United Nations, condemns Japan's war time record on human rights, in particular the enforced sexual slavery and other atrocities committed by the Japanese military. Japan you have a moral obligation to settle all issues under the various treaties.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Recipe for Christmas All Year Long!

For many of us Christmas comes with memories. Memories of joy and memories of sadness.We lost my husbands dear mother this year and we lost a dear friend. We will forever cherish them in our hearts and remember them forever, they will be missed.

Recipe for Christmas All Year long;

Take a heap of child-like wonder
That opens up your eyes
To the unexpected gifts in life-
Each day a sweet surprise.

Mix in fond appreciation
For the people whom we know;
Like festive Christmas candles,
Each one has a special glow.

Add some giggles and some laughter,
A dash of Christmas food,
(Amazing how a piece of pie
Improves our attitude!)

Stir it all with human kindness;
Wrap it up in love and peace,
Decorate with optimism,and
Our joy will never cease.

If we use this healthy recipe,
We know we will remember
To be in the Christmas spirit,
Even when it's not December.

written by: Joanna Fuchs

My memory goes back a long time, when Christmas was just a little tree with real candles. A bucket of water always on hand, just in case.One year we were celebrating Christmas at my mothers sisters house with my cousins and suddenly the Christmas Tree was on fire. My aunt was living on the second floor and we had to open the window and had to throw the tree two floors down to the ground. You can imagine when the neighbors saw this tree in full flames pass their  window. 
We were thankful for the nice simple dinner my mother prepared and played games the whole day. We would sit around the table and play monopoly or cards. I remember the laughter and the snacks my mother prepared. 
I will forever cherish these memories.

Merry Christmas to all of you, may Happiness and Health comes through your doors. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My mother, my best friend. My Valentine.

January 9, 1919-February 14, 2003

Tomorrow Valentines day it will be 13 years ago that we had to say goodbye to you. How we miss you. I think about you every day.                                   .
Sadly you were taken away from us 13 years ago on Valentine's day, February 14, 2003. Your broken heart gave finally out.
You were my strength and protector. This time 'remember' if you just wait, I will be there meeting you at the gate.I have so much to tell you. On January 18 2016 we became great grand parents. Your little great grandchild Saska became mother of a healthy adorable baby girl Freya.It seems such a little while ago that you had your great grand daughter in your arms, and now this little girl has a daughter of her own. Life continues but you are always in our hearts.

My mom with her great granddaughter
Mom, here is your great granddaughter with her little girl.
It's sometimes hard to look at the world, it takes effort, that makes my brain hurt, trying to reject what the senses tell me.
Terrified and wondering if we ever learn from the mistakes our forefathers made.Memories from Japanese prison camp which could never be erased. Memories of our family and childhood are what shapes our personality, and who we are. Whether we like it or not.Our personalities are formed by our parents, brothers and sisters, and the environment we grew up in. Our past continues to affect us. You can only grow as people when you choose to confront your past. Only then can we move forward in our lives.It sometimes terrifies me to think about what the future will be like for my grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Our mother went through life with a heavy burden to carry it was a terrible tragedy, that never went away, even for us and the next generation, it will always be there.So many years and years of difficulties, misunderstandings. Silence when there should have been opportunities to speak. Everybody in Holland seemed to be caught up worrying about their own experiences.
The past continues to affect me, a past my mother tried so hard to erase from my mind.This past which always shows up in my dreams. It's like a candle in the wind, which clings to stay on when the rain and wind sets in.It's like the song from Elton John. \

It seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
And pain was the price you paid
Even when you died.
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain sets in
But I like to keep your candle burning
Like a candle in the wind.

You gave us life, full of blessings with your inner spirit of courage, your unconditional love and laughter. We hold you deep in our hearts now and forever here after. We will pass on your legacy to those who are dear.
Our memories will never fade.We hold you close, and we will forever be thankful for all you  taught us. We specially remember the beautiful woman we owe our lives to.It was hard for us to let you go, but somewhere up there they needed a gentle soul, now peaceful and free as a bird in the sky.

One will never know the price they paid
Suffering themselves, a sacrifice they made,
When all was lost, didn't give in
Often lost hope and couldn't win,
They gave of themselves, desperate to survive,
A frantic effort to keep their mates alive, (the women in Japanese camps did everything to keep their children alive)
What finer glory could they achieve?
Their courage against adversity, we must honor and believe,
What is faith in those, for those that despaired
The gentle strength of those who cared,
Love has no equal one man for another
They are entwined brother for brother.

This poem written by Win Rainer, A former POW's wife.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy.

Friday December 7,1941 the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu.

December 7 will not pass without pausing to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor. For me the day could also not pass without remembering how our lives changed that day.
After attacking Pearl Harbor Japan added to its empire, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the vast East Indies (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the Celebes), Timor, New Guinea, the Indian and Pacific islands, and parts of the Aleutian Islands.

The East Indies or Netherlands Indies (Indonesia) where I was born on the island of Java. This populous region of the East Indies suffered grievously from the policies and actions of the Japanese occupiers.Massacres took place on Java. A preferred way for Japanese to rid themselves of burial details near any coast was to take prisoners out to sea for execution.The Japanese decapitated Dutch POWs and dumped their bodies into the ocean.
In 1942 they forced the nurses and patients from a military hospital and killed them along with civilian women and children. In 1945 as the Allies advanced more large-scale murders took place.
When the Japanese launched the war against the West in 1941 they informed the Dutch who ran the oil fields that they must turn them over without damage or all Europeans would be killed.The Dutch set the oil fields on fire on orders from their government. In retaliation, the Japanese killed over a hundred Dutch, who were driven into the sea and shot. There were those whom the Japanese dispatched for their defiance by having their arms and legs lopped off by sword-swinging officers.The women were not killed, but all were raped several times with the Japanese commanding officers looking on.The population suffered the loss of lives in the millions from the Japanese forced labor brutality.

That's why it is time that the Japanese fully come to terms with their World War 2 past.

December 7, 1941 , the day that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

December 11, 1941, the day Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

We will forever remember and honor the heroes who surrendered their lives..... so that we could have our tomorrows.

Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona memorial monument.The monument is build right over the wreck of the ship.

Written by a service Man .. Writer unknown.

I lived awhile on corregidor Isle
That sun baked God cursed land
Where bomb and shell made life a hell
With death on every hand.

I got the first there, of the cursed
With no water ot be had
I heard men scream in hellish dreams
And watched my friends go mad.

And when our bones blend with the stones
You'll hear the parrots cry
The men who owned these splintered bones
Were not afraid to die.

                                                  Lest we Forget!

Did you know that the attack on Pearl Harbor was intended as a prevention action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in South East Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States?
Did you know that Germany and Italy were allied with Japan?

The two fascist powers, both being militarist, were greatly nationalistic and had the ability to annex other nations. Germany and Japan were committed to colonizing other countries.
The Third Reich, realizing Imperial Japan's strength, formed an alliance with her.
The deal was that Nazi Germany would take over the Western side, while the Japanese Empire would take over the Eastern side. By doing this the two countries would have a sort of power-sharing agreement and would have jurisdiction over the entire globe.
They came very,very close to conquer the world.

I read this poem from Harry Riley;

Remember me (The voice of the dead) I thought I share this with you,

Remember me:

Duty called and I went to war
Though I'd never fired a gun before
I paid the price for a new day
As all my dreams were blown away.

Remember me:
We all stood true as whistles blew
And faced the shell and stench of hell
Now battle's done, there is no sound
Our bones decay beneath the ground,
We cannot see, or smell, or hear
There is no death, or hope or fear.

Remember me:
Once we, like you, would laugh and talk
And run and walk and do the things that you all do
But now we lie in rows so neat
Beneath the soil, beneath your feet.

Remember me:
In mud and gore and the blood of war
We fought and fell and move no more
Remember me, I am not dead,
I'm just a voice within your head.

Monday, December 3, 2012

JES-activities in Geneva. Switzerland.

In our petition number 216, handed to His Excellency Yoshihiko Noda we reminded  Japan that the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, A/HRC/WG.6/14/L.12, condemns Japan's war time record on human rights, in particular sexual slavery and other atrocities committed by Japanese military. The education curricula disguise the facts and the reference that all issues are legally settled under the various treaties does not dismiss Japan from its moral obligations.
Japan has the time up to March 2013 to come forward with suggestions which might bridge the gap between the comments made diplomatically by the UN delegates and the initial responses by the Japanese delegation.

In June 2012 the twentieth session of the Human Rights Council was held in Geneva.
Because our Foundation JES the NGO, a non-governmental Organization in consultative  status (Roster) with ECOSOC.,we have the right to present 'Written Statements' to the United Nations in Geneva.
With these written statements the affiliated countries are made aware, of the Human Rights violations of Japan.

This year the Foundations statement was about the young boys who were abducted by the Japanese military from their mother's at the young age of 10 and were taken to a separate concentration camp where they were used for slave labor and where they had to  take care of themselves.

Our member of the board, with international  relations, Brigitte van Halder, was in Geneva and handed out the statement to the UN. These statements were handed to the Chinese and Korean delegation, who like us strive for recognition from Japan for their crimes during the Japanese occupation of Asia. They were very interested.

Here follows the text from our statement.

Human Rights Council
20th Session
Economic and Social Council
June 2012

Written statement by the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts, a non-governmental organization in consultative status (Roster) with ECOSOC.

Title: Japan must accept its responsibilities in violating the Human Rights of young boys in concentration camps in the Dutch East Indies.

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts in The Netherlands represents Dutch ex prisoners of war, civilian internees (men, women and children) and those Dutch who were left outside the Japanese concentration camps during World War Two, now 67 years ago. About 100.000 of the 300.000 Dutch who lived in the Dutch East Indies during that period are registered with the Foundation.

One group that the foundation represents is the group of the so-called 'Comfort Women' young girls and women, sexually abused by the Japanese military and their agents. Many of them have died over the years, but those who are still alive are suffering from a trauma that will never go away.

In this statement however the Foundation wants to draw your attention to another group of highly traumatized victims.

One of the cruelest measures by the Japanese military during the occupation of the Dutch East Indies was the abduction of Dutch boys as young as 10 years old into separate concentration camps. They were separated from their mothers and locked up. They had to find their own way under the most difficult circumstances. Against all war conventions they were put to work under harsh and often sordid conditions. In fact the Japanese military kidnapped these children and abused them. They were starved, lacked normal medical guidance and left without any medicine. Medicine provided for by the Red Cross was used by the Japanese military for their own use!

The abducted Dutch boys were forcibly taken from their mothers, who protested vehemently, but to no avail. Many of the boys died; those who returned lost their youth and had difficulties in adjusting to normal life.For those boys, if still alive they would be well into their eighties now, the time has gone. Their experience is not forgotten and remains cruel to this day.

The physical and psychological damage to all the individual victims of the Japanese occupation was considerable and still, after 67 years, continues to haunt the surviving victims.

The horrors inside and outside the Japanese concentration camps in the Dutch East Indies during World War Two are engraved in their memories. The nights are the most terrifying moments. The older one gets, the more the memory is focused on these moments one wants to forget.

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary debts, together with its sister organizations in China, Korea and other East Asian countries occupied by the Japanese military during World War Two requests, once again, the help of the Human Rights Council to ensure that after 67 years Japan recognizes its past and rectifies its violation of human rights during World War Two by acknowledging the facts and subsequently settling the damage done to victims.

The Heiho flogged with well aimed lashes
Ten year old boys behind an army truck
By incomprehensible decree they were declared a man- and men.
Don't belong with their mothers anymore.
He was in line with in his one hand his teddy bear.
Clenched around the one paw left.

In the other hand a bag with in it
The find bit of sugar and some malaria pills,
His mother put in at last
He forced back his tears
After all, he was a man now.
His mother prayed and intensely hoped
To once see him again.
At his birth she had
thought of such a nice name for him
She...she died of malnutrition and malaria.
Lacked the pills that saved his life.

He ended up in a Dutch contract boarding house
Cold, wet, uncomfortable and not so nice either
The hunger winter was more important in conversations.
Than his story of his-cruel-departure.
About good and evil he always thought differently
All his relations broke down
Booze and drugs sometimes helped,
For a moment avoiding reality.
His career failed over and over
The only thing he missed, was his old one armed, soft teddy bear.

written by; Govert Huyser.

Fragments, memories of a camp boy.

General b.d. GL.J.Huyser (Soerabaya 1931) stayed during the war in the Japanese internment camps 'DARMO' in Soerabya 'Karangpanas' in Semarang and in the boys camp 'Bangkong' in Semarang.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reflections in the mirror of hairdresser Matayoshi

This is a story from my dear friend Elizabeth van Kampen.Elizabeth lives in The Netherlands, we meet once a year when we are visiting The Netherlands.Elizabeth with her mother and two sisters were in the same Japanese camp as my mother and I, in Banjoebiroe 10, during World War2, when Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies,(now called Indonesia). Elizabeth at the time was 18 years old and I was only 4 years old.
Elizabeth and I  in The Hague, demonstrating at the Japanese Embassy.
The story of Elizabeth:

In East-Java in the mountains lies a small town called Malang. A long time ago a hairdresser named Matayoshi owed a hairdresser salon in this town. He was a very good hairdresser and very modest. My father was always very satisfied when he stepped out the hair salon, and always shook hands with Mr. Matayoshi. They both had looked in the mirror while speaking to each other about daily life, etc.

Malang was also before World War 2 a beautiful town with a fantastic climate. I was privileged to live and grow up there for eight years.
My parents lived in the mountains where my father worked for a coffee and rubber plantation as a technical advisor and planter.I myself had to go school and was in boarding school in Malang. On Saturdays in the afternoon I took the bus to Dampit, where my father picked me up by car. This was the closest town to the plantation where my father worked. Monday morning I had to get up very early in the morning and went back by bus to Malang, where I had to attend classes again at seven thirty in the morning. Malang was a garrison town. In 1941 my father had to go for recapitulation exercise by the land-forces. After the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor, the town of Malang had many city-guard security.My father was classified as a technical advisor over different plantations.

March 8, 1942 the Japanese shock-troops arrived into Malang on bicycles. From that day on the whole world around us changed.My sister and I saw the shock-troops arriving looking out the windows of our boarding school.Everybody was dead quiet, we saw something happening here, which was very hard to understand. The nuns continued  teaching us for another two weeks,after that the Japanese ordered all Dutch schools  to be closed. My father picked us all up, because my mother and my youngest sister were in Malang at the time because it was considered at the time to be safer in Malang.That's how we left, the five of us to the plantation high into the mountains.I have fond memories about my father and I walking kilometers under the rubber trees and along the coffee bushes and twice through a part of the jungle during that time.

That same year my  father had to hand over his camera, but his car as well. Our radio was put under seal.On December 25, 1942 Japanese military visited us at our home. The officer sat at the table with my father with all kinds of papers and asked hundreds of questions. They searched our whole house and after an hour they finally left.

My fathers task was to train the Indonesians, so when he had to leave they could continue the business. In February 1943 my father was picked up and was taken to the "Marinecamp" in Malang. April 16, 1943 it was my birthday and I was sixteen years old. My mother and I drove by dogcart (a small carriage pulled by horse) to Dampit. From Dampit we took the train to Malang.

Because I was sixteen years old now, the Japanese considered me an adult, and I was not allowed to go inside and had to stay outside in front of the gateway. My father had to stand one meter away from the gate inside the compound and I had to stay one meter away from the gate on the outside.At the gate stood a Heiho (Indonesian soldier from the Japanese army) he told us that we only were allowed to speak Malay and only for 10 minutes. I was so delighted to see my father again. I noticed that it was very difficult for him not to fling his arms around me and kiss and hug me. I pretended that it did not matter and talked happily about what was going on at the plantation.
This was the last time in my life I ever saw and spoke to my father. Luckily at that time I was not aware of it.

It was June 1943 when my mother,my sisters and I had to go to Malang and were interned in a women camp.We were treated not that badly in this camp, and now and then we were able to buy something extra to eat......if you still had a little money. In November my mother received news that my father was taken to Lowok Waroe Kempetai Prison (Kempetai are like the Nazis police). Word was that he had hidden weapons. It was a terrible blow for us.

It was February 1944 when my mother was told that she and her children had to be transferred to Mid-Java. Women and children were loaded into trucks and taken to the train station of Malang. Arriving at the train station the Japanese loaded us in box carts without food or anything to drink. We had barely any air to breath and no toilet.The train ride was horrible. Our new "home" was the prison of Banjoe Biroe where the four of us had a terrible time during the rest of the war. Not until November 1945 we were freed and were taken to Semarang. (Elizabeth and I spoke about this;  my mother and I must have been in the same convoy as them, loaded onto trucks with mattresses around us, so we would be protected from snipers) At the end of December 1945 we went by ship,' the Princess Beatrix' to Sri Lanka were we waited five months before we boarded a ship to take us to The Netherlands.

At the end of January 1946 my mother got the terrible news from the Red Cross out of Batavia that my father had passed away in the Kempetai prison in Malang. It was like the whole world caved in. Never in my life did I ever experience such dreadful news as the death of my father.

The rest of our lives ( my mother, my sisters and I) struggled to make a new life for ourselves.We had disappointment after disappointment. I myself decided to travel the world, and that was my salvation. Very slowly I climbed out of all my misery. I started to listen to other peoples problems and learned a lot.

Through the internet and being not afraid of it ,at my age, I got to know many e-mail friends, friends and acquaintances all over the world. I have learned a lot.

When I was vacationing in Indonesia,it was October 2, 1966, I was allowed together with a friend of mine to visit the Kempetai prison, where my father had been a prisoner for one and a half year, and where he died. My father has no grave, cause of death is not known. To see the prison and the cells where he had died..... was sort of a symbolic flower wreath for me.

I have seen the cells, where they told me the lights were on day and night. My father survived this ordeal for one and a half year, he must have fought to try to stay alive, he must have tried so hard, hoping to see his family again.Regularly the prisoners were interrogated and often tortured.
The interpreter of the Kempetai in Malang in Mid-Java was colonel Matayoshi.

Yes indeed, my fathers Japanese hairdresser from Malang..... a long time ago. What went through the interpreters head, colonel Matayoshi, while they interrogated my father, and he looked in my fathers friendly blue eyes?
Was the hairdresser Matayoshi thinking about the time, when he was cutting my fathers hair,talking and laughing at each other while looking into each others eyes in  the mirror in his hair salon in Malang?

Lowok Waroe Kempetai prison in Malang.

Elizabeth van Kampen.

I love you Elizabeth, you are a very brave woman.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

86 year old women got back her photo album.

 Today I read in a Indonesian News letter which I receive once a month that from 335 photo albums which were found in Indonesia, years after World War 2,  one 86 year old claimed back her photo album after a cousin saw her name in a story over a project written in the Volkskrant (Volks newspaper) in The Netherlands. These albums were laying for years in the depot of the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam. The museum had set up a fund for the project to try to find the owners of these photo albums.It only took three months to get together the money needed for this project, which is amazing.
My mother and her sister had lost all their photo albums during the occupancy of the Japanese in the Dutch Indies.Sadly no photo album from my mother or her sister were amongst them.
It is so nice to read that at least so far one owner, who is still alive recognized one picture which was published from her photo album.Seventy years ago this 86 year old had seen her album for the last time.She lives in South Africa now and she recognized her first album from her youth. Her daughter spoke for her and said: "How wonderful to see after all these years these pictures from my mother and to see photographs of the rest of the family, which we had never seen. I am so excited and so happy for my mother that her first photo album after all these years is back in our possession".
Next year the rest of the 335 photo albums will be posted on the internet. People who will visit this website can look through these albums and see if they recognize any of these photographs. The Museum hopes that through this website they will find more owners of these albums.

I am still excited about it, because you never know if there will be a photo album show up from my mother or her sister or for that matter maybe a album from one of their friends.
I will keep you posted, when the website is up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monthly demonstration , Japanese Embassy The Hague.The Netherlands.

                                         NGO, STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, November 13, 2012
Petition: 216
Subject: Acknowledgement and moral redress


The unedited version of the draft report of the working group on the Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, A/HRC/WG.6/14/L.12, condemns Japan's war time record on human rights, in particular the enforced sexual slavery and other atrocities committed by the Japanese military. The education curricula disguise the facts and the reference that all issues are legally settled under the various treaties does not dismiss Japan from its moral obligations.

Japan has the time up to March 2013 to come forward with suggestions which might bridge the gap between the comments made diplomatically by the UN delegates and the initial responses by the Japanese delegation.The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts has the means and the contacts to resolve some issues involved. Our present dialogue with the Japanese Ambassador in The Hague could form a base from which a suitable acknowledgement and moral redress mechanism can be developed to resolve these issues.

In view of the limited time left, till march 2013, we would welcome an early response.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk

                                                 RAYS OF HOPE

Its time to recognize the wrong doings of your Military, during that horrible time World War 2. Many of the people from that time have passed away, they would have liked to hear that Japan felt remorse.

Maybe my mother and her sister could have died in peace with no hatred in their hearts. Many years they endured suppressed rage at the torture and rape, they suffered at the hands of their Japanese captors.
The women, men and children who were able to survive these horrific conditions, savage beatings and starvation, wondered the rest of their lives how it was possible that human beings were able to do this to other human beings. My mother has never been able to understand.
She often wondered; was it because these Japanese men were so small, compared to them.Every time they were confronted by these Japanese men, they towered over them, and looked down on them. Was this what triggered so much hatred, was this why my mother and her sister always got the beatings? My mother and her sister suffered psychological problems the rest of their lives.There were always questions....why??
They never forgave, my mother passed away in 2003,her sister a couple years before, hating everything what had to do with Japan. Its time that Japan recognize the wrong doings of their military in WW2. My mother lost the love of her life, my father, he died a horrible death on the infamous Burma railway,her sister lost her husband, the submarine the 016 ran on a Japanese mine in the Pacific on December 14,1941 just seven days after the sneaky attack on Pearl Harbor.Their lives were shattered.The rest of their lives they suffered horrendous nightmares, and had no help for their war traumas.
The evidence related to torture, murder, rape and other cruelties of the most inhumane and most barbarous character were freely practiced by the Japanese army and navy.The Japanese military were particularly enormous in this matter. The Japanese army in World War 2 behavior was particular abusive against women. Few in East Asia were left untouched by these Japanese heavy-handed occupation policies and behavior.
Tales of rape were so sickeningly..... every women caught by the Japanese had been raped without exception.
Why is that Japan keeps denying these war crimes their military inflicted.Its 67 years ago, not many of these women and men are with us anymore. But we the children will still continue to fight for recognition on human rights,for the atrocities committed by the Japanese military, so our parents can rest in peace.

                                             Mend our broken hearts

The aftermath of a war scares a child's mind, with things they can't erase,
The aftermath of a war makes a good nights sleep a living hell....
The aftermath of a war creates nightmares ,that never ending dream, just screams
The aftermath of a war creates guilt that eat you alive inside...
The aftermath of a war creates scars, and memories which never fades
The aftermath of a war has left death, we forever mourn.
The aftermath of a war creates children without a father,
The aftermath of a war makes it difficult to say"everything will be alright"
The aftermath of a war creates tears that will never dry away...
The aftermath of a war creates a whole lot of sadness,
The aftermath of a war blinds us of what's right or wrong,
The aftermath of a war makes you scream inside and wonder why?
The aftermath of a war makes you forever cry, for a father who was lost
The aftermath of a war brings nothing but eternal hate,
The aftermath of a war brings pain that never heals, wounds that will never seal.
The aftermath of a war takes pieces from your soul
The aftermath of a war is pain that never will never go
The aftermath of a war leaves a loved one lost, a grave that never leaves
The aftermath of a war leaves broken families all around.
The aftermath of a war is what it will always be,a loneliness
The aftermath of a war brings the need for people that are never there
The aftermath of a war is tears ran dry, and questions asking always ...WHY?
The aftermath of a war is a war forever carried in your heart.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Today Novemeber 11, 11 am, we will be silent for 2 minutes.

Today we will remember.
World War 2 took away my father. A Dad I never got to know. I was only two and half years old when he died and he was only twenty six. I only have one picture where he cradles me in his arms. He looked so proud and so happy.A picture he had send home to his parents. I am lucky to have this photograph.

My Father died a horrible death as a POW of the Japanese, working as a slave laborer, building a railroad through the jungles of Thailand.It has been 69 years ago, the year was 1943, the date was the 18th of September.
In 1946 they found his remains, buried in the jungle of Thailand, alongside the railroad tracks. His remains were transferred to Kanchanaburi, where he was laid to rest at the Memorial Grave site.For every sleeper laid on this infamous railway, a soldier died, under the most horrendous conditions.

Rest in peace.

Today wreaths are laid all over the world to commemorate the fallen soldiers.
A wreath is a foliage of woven bay laurel tree leaves. It has been a symbol of both, 'Victory' and 'Death'.

My cousin Jacoby wrote this beautiful story of my mother, who suffered tremendously under the regime of the Japanese during WW2.

Tante Siets-Wife-Mother-Daughter and sister-Indonesia.

We did not understand the horror you went through,until your daughter Thea had the courage to write a book, 'I Thought You Should Know'.
Fate made you our Aunt and Thea our cousin and therefore we have thousands of memories as a family. You are often spoken about in our telephone conversations, your courage to go on and your spirit, the enemy could not break. Lovingly remembered Tante
Siets,and forever in our hearts.
Your nieces Leni and Cobi and nephew Wim.

Thank you Cobi for your beautiful words, I was overwhelmed of emotion.My mother was an enormous strong women. She will be forever remembered. Love you Mom.

Language of flowers;
Did you know that a white carnations means remembrance.This flower is for you Mom and Dad and for my Step-Dad, who was a wonderful Father to me. Fate crossed our path, when we met you on the ship ' the Boschfontein', which took us away from Indonesia in April, 1946.

                                            I will forever remember you all!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We lost a friend today.

Pink Roses means friendship, that's the language of flowers.
 Geri these roses are for you, friends forever, until we meet again.

Christine and Arin, Geri's daughters, asked me if I would like to speak at Geri's funeral.I told them that I am not very good at that, but agreed to give it a try. Being a very emotional person I was not sure if I was able to do it.But with a couple of chokes I was able to get it done. This is what I said:

Some 30 years ago I met Geraldine Selby on the tennis court at Burlington Racquets.What good years we had, with all our tennis friends.When aches and pain prevented us from playing tennis, we decided to play golf. My husband Ruud and I have many fond memories on the golf course and off the golf course.Every Thursday we play golf, ladies only and have lunch after our golf game. How we will miss you!
A true friend has left us today.

Geri....Fred,Christine, Arin, family and friends, words cannot describe how we feel when we have to say goodbye to a friend. It's hard to understand that you "Geri" is not amongst us anymore.Your time to leave came too suddenly and too soon. We will miss you terrible. You were so full of life. I never forget that it was always you who said; Come on guys lets have some fun! You were always the leader, and would get on the phone and organize, where and what we would do.You were so much fun. We will remember your optimism and your courage, we will never forget you and you will forever live in our hearts.
We will one day meet again, we are sure we will. Reserve a spot for us Geri, please.. so we can continue our friendship and our laughter. Thank you so much for your friendship. We will miss you!

Geri the other day your daughters Christine and Arin asked me to read one of two poems I wrote on the blog of the Funeral Home. One poem is a poem I wrote for another friend we lost this year. The coincidence is that her daughter's name is also Christine. I decided to read this poem. It's called "Cry no more!". I know you would have liked this one. Your thoughts were always for your family and with this poem I know it's what you, Geri would have liked to tell them.

You can cry and cry, because I am gone,
Or you can laugh because I lived!
You can close your eyes and wish I would come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see what I left behind.

Your heart is empty, because you can't see me
Or it can be full of love, of all the things we have shared.
You can turn your back and try to live in the past,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow, just because of yesterday.

You can in your memories only think that I am gone,
Or you can remember me, and let me live on.
You can cry, close the door, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do, what I would like you to do:


               Language of flowers; Forget-Me-Not!.......Remember me forever!

I decided if I am able to get this far, whitout breaking down, I would read the second poem for Geri. So Geri this poem is for you'

We thought of you with love today,
But that is nothing new,
We thought about you yesterday,
And days before that too!
We think of you in silence
We often speak your name,
Now all we have is memories 
And a picture in a frame.
Your memory is our keepsake,
With which we'll never part
But memories we are keeping
Forever in our hearts.

Rest in peace, Geri.

                                                  Goodbye my friend.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 11, Remembrance day;

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, two minutes silence, to remember our fallen soldiers.
It's our duty to pass on the legacy and keep the memories of fallen soldiers alive.Above all, we must vow never to forget!
                                       Poppies,  Remembrance:

It's a tradition of wearing poppies in Canada as a sign of respect and thanks for those who have served in uniform, both here in Canada and in many parts of the world.

Flowers are a way off reminding us of important moments in our history.
Flowers mean many things to many people.

                                        Daisy: Hope and Resistance

Did you know that the Daisy became a sign of resistance in the Netherlands during the Second World War?

                                                 Forget-me-nots: Remembrance

In Newfoundland the newfoundlanders wear the flower forget-me-not, each July 1st in memory of those who fought and-died at the first World War.

                                                 Tulips: Gratitude

Tulips, these flowers serve as a symbol of the unique friendship between the people of Canada and the Netherlands during the Second World War.
Thousands of Canadians fought to liberate the Netherlands in 1944-1945.

There is a park reserved along Calgary's Memorial Drive for 3.0000 white crosses which are displayed each year on November 1st and removed November 11th, after Remembrance Day services. Each cross is inscribed with the name, rank, regiment, date of death and age at death of a Southern Alberta soldier killed in action.
The Southern Alberta soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom will never be forgotten.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.......

At sunrise each morning from November 1 to November 11 there is a flag raising ceremony at the Field of Crosses including a bugler and a piper. At sunset the flags are lowered.

Welcome to the field of crosses
Memorial project
"A yearly tribute to Southern Alberta's fallen soldiers"

I read this on the field of crosses website:

It's the Soldier, not the Reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It's the Soldier, not the Poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

It's the Soldier, not the Politician, that ensures our right to Life, Liberty & the Security of the Person.

It's the Soldier, not the Lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It's the Soldier, not the Preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It's the Soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag and who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Remember to buy a poppy, to be reminded that the price of the freedom we enjoy was not free.

                                     Maple Leaf: Patriotism

On February 15, 1965, the red maple leaf flag was inaugurated as the national flag of Canada. Ever since, it has stood as a symbol of pride and patriotism for Canadians.

                                       Rose of Sharon: Resilience

The rose of Sharon, or Hibiscus, is the national flower of Korea. Its beauty is said to reflect the glory and success of the Korean people while its hardiness speaks to their ability to persevere. The flower's name Korean is Mugunghwa meaning "immortal flower". This flower holds special meaning for the many Canadians who served during the Korean War.

                                                   Laurel: Victory

 Have you ever wondered why we lay wreaths on Remembrance Day? The tradition of using wreaths to show respect is actually a very old one. Greeks and Romans often wove bay laurel tree leaves into wreaths to be worn as crowns by victors of sporting events (like the Olympics) or military campaigns. Ever since, the foliage of bay laurel trees has been a symbol of both victory and death. That is why wreaths are laid at commemorative ceremonies around the world.

                                       Rosemary: Remembrance

In ancient times, rosemary was thought to strengthen memory. In fact, Greek scholars often wore rosemary in their hair to help remember their studies. In both literature and folklore, the herb has often been featured as an emblem of remembrance. Even today, Australians show their respect by wearing small sprigs of rosemary in their coat lapels on
Anzac Day.

Flower Symbolism

Flowers mean many things to many people. These are just a few of the blooms associated with remembrance and commemoration.

Always Young

by: Win Rainer

Back to the war with sadness I go
The grief of a name makes it so
A young lad like so many others
Forever a heartbreak to their mothers
Their legacy should have been life and laughter
Not a conflict which led to disaster
However can we forget them
It's the arbitrators we must condemn
In my tearful eyes of sorrow
They will all in thought still be young tomorrow.

So on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, silent will fall for two minutes and we will remember.

                                             Lest we forget!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Archives of tears.....

In August this year, in The Netherlands, 'channel Nederland 2'  send out a documentary which was called 'Archives of tears'.(archief of tranen) I was able to see it on the  (Omroep Max)
August 12 and 19,2012.

With great interest and overwhelmed by emotions I watched the two documentaries.
As a ' war child' ( born June 3,1941)  I lived and saw the fear and grief again of my mother. A grief, hidden so deep, a grief she was never able to talk about.But why is it that this grief and loss from 'then', is also in me? Sometimes the tears are streaming down my cheeks, when I think about my mother and think about what burden she carried. I feel guilt that I did not understood her, and I feel guilt that I did not supported her more. But I did not know and did not understand.After her death in 2003 I found a pouch with letters and photographs about 'then', and it was than that I understood. 'But tears do clean your soul?' That's what I believe.My mother was never able to let 'then' go. I carry no hatred in my heart towards Japanese people, and the young nationalists 'the Pemoedas' who were fighting for an independent Indonesia.These young men were well taught, and brainwashed by the Japanese, during the occupation of the Dutch East Indies.

I wished my mother would have lived to see this documentary and know that the Dutch people finally realize how their fellow country men had suffered, in that far away land in The Dutch Indies during World War 2, and after the capitulation of Japan, when the Bersiap began.In the Netherlands the Dutch prevailed to understand the Dutch repatriates who returned to the Netherlands.
After watching the documentary I came to the conclusion that every family from the former Dutch Indies carried their own archive of tears.

When I saw this documentary and saw survivors talking about the horrible past, with tears streaming down their cheeks, that's when I see in my memory my mother Sietske and see her grief again.Why is it that only now all this past is surfacing? Even now the Journal news in the Netherlands hardly ever talks about this period in history,they like to erase it from the collective memory of the Netherlands.Passion about sensation seems for them to be more important and we the Dutch from the former Dutch Indies are no news anymore.We are the forgotten ones.
It was a shame that the Dutch government did not recognized the Independence of Indonesia in 1945 as the year of Liberation. The government recognized the Independence not until 1949.
In the meantime 20.0000 victims were slaughtered under the three colored flag of the Netherlands in this 'Bersiap' period, more or less sold by the government of Holland.

Freedom without Peace!

After my mother and I had survived three and a half years of Japanese camps we were again chased and exposed to violence.The so-called 'Pemoeda's.'( pemoeda's are Nationalists freedom fighters) Pemoeda means literally - youth- young men. These young men belonged to a National youth organization,and during the Japanese occupation these youth behaved more and more radical,and on August 17,1945 'Soekarno' under pressure of this group, called for an Independent Republic of Indonesia.

During the Japanese occupancy the Japanese had fueled these young men into believing to kill everything what had white blood, and that Asia should be for the Asians.Which was of course at the time of the Japanese occupation just a propaganda stunt.
Celebrating freedom from the Japanese, and walking out of the camps, was short lived.Outside these camps was a new danger.Many women, men and children, who had survived the horrors of the Japanese camps were murdered by these young Pemoeda's. Slaughtered and killed with knives and sharp bamboo sticks. Left in the streets as if they were dead leaves fallen from the trees. Many Indonesian friends who tried to bury the dead were taken prison and tortured.People who were taken to Tjideng prison were murdered that same night and their heads decapitated.
The following morning the Pemoeda's were playing soccer, using the heads as soccer balls.
Terrible unbelievable atrocities inflicted the Pemoeda's. One such thing I have to write on my blog, because what I am about to write could have happened easily to my mother and me.We were taken from Banjoebiroe 10 camp at the end of November, 1945. We were loaded into trucks with mattresses all around us, to a safer place.We had been lucky only once in awhile we were shot at, the mattresses protected us from being hit by bullets.Our convoy reached the place of destination without major incidents.Not all convoy's were as lucky as ours.

This person who survived one of the ill fated convoy's writes:
' The truck in front of us became stuck in the mud. The Pemoeda's put a match to this truck and soon the truck was engulfed in flames. A mother on the truck threw her child out of the truck on the road, hoping the child would be safe. To our horror this child was pierced  on the end of a bamboo stick and was thrown back in the burning truck. The sounds, the smell, the images, they are always in my head.It was so horrible.

My aunt Elizabeth van Vaas-Thiel (during our imprisoned time, everybody was my aunt or my oma) was in Camp Ambarawa 9, taken there at the beginning of August 1945, while my mother and I were taken to Banjoebiroe 10. The Britisch troops had reached the camps in Ambarawa, except Camp Ambarawa 9. The Indonesian Pemoeda's knew this, and their camp was attacked. All women and children were ordered to come outside in an open field and there they started to shoot and throw hand grenades at them. There were little boys with the Pemoeda's who could hardly hold a sort of machete or gun, she told me,' they were holding it with two hands.
Many women and children were killed that day, my aunt told me she was hiding under a bed and had not gone outside. She will never forget the blood, she told me :'that's all I can see in my mind'.
Sadly she is not with us anymore, but she was at our wedding in 1961.

Elizabeth Thiel-van Vaas, 1961 at our wedding.

There was no help for the women and children who were badly wounded.We were all so scared. The next day they got some help from some Gurkha's from the British Army. The Pemoeda's were shooting daily at the camp. Most of the time 'she told me' we were laying under our mattresses on the ground.Finally they were taken from this camp, but not before the English had cleaned out all the villages along the road their convoy traveled. They finally reached Semarang, where she was taken to a safer camp.
In 1958 I had met my Husband (now married for almost 51 years) and were to be married in October, 1961. When we filled in the papers we found out to my horror that I was not existing. I had no birth certificate, nothing.
My Aunt Elizabeth (I called her Aunt Bep) was one of the persons who had to swear in front of a judge in the city of Haarlem that I was Tetske T. van der Wal, and my mother was Sietske Sijtsma and my father was Klaas van der Wal, who had died on the Burma railroad line.
When we got back in the Netherlands I did not exist, my birth certificates were burned and the Municipality of Bandoeng was burned down to the ground.We had to find three people who had known me in the former Dutch Indies.I was 21 years old at the time and could not believe what we had to go through and how much money this was costing us. The government of Holland just did not believe that I was who I was. How sad was this? My father had died for his country, the Netherlands, and we had to pay for this?? I needed these papers, because I was getting married, and without a birth certificate they would not allow me to get married. How difficult it was to find three people who had survived the camps and the 'Bersiap". Needless to say, we only found two and my mother's sister Eke van Driel-Sijtsma was finally allowed to testify. It took us three months to try to get this in order and a lot of money.The other lady was Marijtje Seijderveld-Postma.She had been in Moentilan Japanese camp with us.

You can take a child  from a war, but you will never take back a war from a child.

My mother passed away in a nursing home, where she spend the last two years of her life and suffered hallucinations of being chased by Japanese and Pemoeda's. Even on her death bed she tried to climb up against the wall, she could not talk anymore, but I never forget the look in her eyes when we tried to calm her down.
It is no wonder that this war trauma had left big scars, even on me.

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the 'Rawagedeh',a village in Indonesia, where Dutch soldiers apparently killed all men .The Netherlands will pay  compensation to the next of kin.Nine relatives are still alive and the Netherlands will pay each of them 20.000. euro.During the 'Bersiap' period, the villagers were refusing to tell where the Indonesian Independence fighter Lukas Kustario was hiding. Four hundred and thirty one villagers were killed, almost all of them were men.What would you think would have happened to all the villagers if they had told where this murderer Lukas Kustario was hiding? Do you think any of these villagers would have been alive? They would have been slaughtered, all of them, men, women and children by the Pemoeda's, just like they slaughtered twenty thousand Dutch women, men and children , what about them??? This was an incident after the soldiers from the Netherlands were suppose to restore order in the Dutch Indies. These poor boys had just fought a war in Europe against the Germans and were now send to the Dutch Indies.They were made out like criminals, when they returned to the Netherlands.
For the Netherlands it's a blank page in history, and should be forgotten as soon as possible.Never mind how many of these young men never did got home, never mind how many did come home with terrible war trauma's. Don't talk about it and get on with life.
We had a very good friend Jaap Bos who was one of the soldiers send to the former Dutch Indies. My mother and Jaap became very good friends.They were talking for hours with each other.They had a real bond, because my mother understood.He had been in the very same places in Java where my mother and I had been.We left Indonesia April 1946 about the time that he was send there to restore order.Coming home was awful he told my mother,it was very sad.He was a very good guitar player and we always had lots of fun with him.
Jaap on the left at our house in Zandvoort, 1958.
Don't you think it is time that the people in politics recognize the war victims of the former Dutch Indies.
Or is the government waiting till we are all dead and gone?
It is a shame that the focus has been for so long on West Europe and what happened in that period, and everything what happened in the former Dutch Indies has long be "forgotten".

Understandable the Indonesian people try to forget about this black period the 'Bersiap', with saying that this time was a time of utterly  'confusion'.
Remarkable is that the Dutch and the government, show more interest about the misdoings of the Dutch military in 1945-1949, than for the crimes the Indonesian Pemoeda's  inflicted on their Dutch Civilians during the 'Bersiap' period.

This documentary could not have come at a better time,just now some special groupings make it their life engagement to force the government of Holland to give Indonesia an apology for what their military have done. I am sure that some of the military have done things which should not have happened. But I can sympathize with them if they have seen what the Pemoeda's have done to babies, young children and women and men.What the survivors are telling what happened to their families,is not to describe.One family with six children were slaughtered with knifes and sharp bamboo sticks and the oldest girl only 13 years old was first  raped and the spear of a bamboo stick put in her vaginal.The mother unbelievable survived.She heard the screaming but was not able to do anything. She was in and out of consciousness.When she tried to get up they hit her again and was thrown off a cliff. It's almost too terrible to write down, but the documentary tells all.I cannot believe I just wrote this down,I am about to throw sickens my stomach........But my question is don't they deserve justification??This woman survived and arrived in the Netherlands, all alone, her whole family murdered in front of her eyes, her husband and her six children. She lived the rest of her life in The Hague, with all these horrible memories, and not feeling at home in the Netherlands. Her home had been in Indonesia with her husband and her children, a very happy home.First she had to suffer under the Japanese regime and than thinking it is all over we can start our lives again, it was taken away from her and from so many more people. Why do always innocent people suffer.
The documentary is in Dutch and I hope it will come out in English. People have to know the other side as well.Probably this group of people who are fighting for justification for Indonesia should educate themselves and ask for an apology from Indonesia as well for what the Pemoeda's have done to their own people. What happened during the Bersiap-period  in which Dutch Indies families were slaughtered by these Indonesian Pemoeda's, was pure hell.Yes there are and were survivors too.
Reparation and Honor for this group is not too much to ask for. Pay the outstanding wages (with interest) give them compensation,they lost everything, at least the women from that village could stay in their own houses, yes they lost their loved ones, killed by the soldiers, we lost our loved ones,slaughtered by the Pemoeda's, we lost our houses and our country we loved so much.A line should be drawn under these arguments of the past- in the context of time- glorious past.
The Dutch are on purpose kept in the 'dark' about what happened in Indonesia during the years after the war.
The remark from Mr. Bot about " wrong side of the history" shows  obviously the condition of "stupidity" in which we find oneself.

The Japanese said:"We lost the war, but you will forever be haunted up to the fourth generation!" Sadly it is the truth.

It was time that this side of the story has been told.The documentary 'Archive of tears' finally shed recognition and your 'archive' makes this story complete and is maybe the start that this chapter of the book the 'Netherlands and Indonesia' , can close in the right manner.

And may be one day Japan will follow suit.

Thank you Pia v.d. Molen

Rays of Hope!

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