life stories

Welcome to Coconut Connections

Real life stories

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our monthly demonstration in front of the Japanese embassy in The Hague

                              FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                                                                NGO,STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 10 September 2013.
Petition: 226
Subject: Towards a genuine dialogue 11.


In my previous petition I called for a genuine dialogue between your government and the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts. Such a dialogue is aimed at resolving the enduring harm done to the Dutch nationals in concentration camps and outside those camps by the Japanese military during the occupation of  the former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.Acknowledging the past should fit in with your intentions to prepare Japan and in particular its youth for the future. You would not like to be remembered as the Japanese Prime Minister who whitewashed genocide and war crimes committed during World War Two.

Prime Minister,
That the UN Secretary General, despite the serious and time consuming Syrian crises, urges Japan to consider its past is very significant and clear. It is for Japan a clear warning that the United nations are unhappy with the present discussion in Japan to "rewrite history". His call for "correct awareness about history" is not only meaningful, but indicates serious concerns by the UN members for the consequences if Japan is to revise its present constitution.

Prime Minister,
In this context the reaction by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to the call by the UN Secretary General was to be expected. It demonstrated however that the UN Secretary General is right to call upon Japan to reconsider its intentions to change the present constitution. The UN Secretary General is well aware of your efforts to have a dialogue with South Korea and China. It is childish of your Chief Cabinet Secretary to doubt it. Nevertheless it would do you and Japan good not only in asking the UN Secretary General what he means with "very deep introspection", but to ask his help in resolving the globally deep rooted distrust of Japan and its leaders in matters concerning World War Two.
The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is very much aware of the attrocities committed by the Imperial Army during World War Two. In particular the Japanese military's for use of institutionalized sexual slavery known as Comfort Women is a subject matter which the Human Rights Council repeatedly asked Japan to take its responsibilities for.
The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts welcomes the remarks by the UN Secretary General and will continue to remind the UN Human Rights Council that Japan must acknowledge the attrocities committed by the Imperial Army, apologize to the victims still alive or to the direct descendants of those who died, many as a consequence of the brutalities by the Imperial Army; and compensate them.

Prime Minister,
We would welcome an acknowledgement of the receipt of this petition by you personally.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,


 Brigitte van Halder our JES committee member of International Relations was at the 24st session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva in August.
This is the following written statement,

United Nations                                                                          A/HRC/24/NGO/5

GENERAL ASSEMBLY         Distr.:General
                                                   27 August 2013

                                                   English only


Human Rights Council 
Twenty- fourth session
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development

        Written statement' submitted by the Foundation of Japanese
        Honorary Debts, a non-governmental organization on the

       The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in
       accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.

                                                                                                             [18 August 2013]

  * This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-
     governmental organization(s).


Haunting memories

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts was established in 1990 with the purpose of
looking after the interests  of the Netherlands -Dutch- citizens who, during the Japanese
occupation of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), were victims of the Japanese military
during World War 11.

The Dutch citizens were interned in concentration camps, families were split and men,
women and children put in separate camps. No communication was allowed, smuggling of
messages was impossible; if caught it could cost your life, in the best case you were
brutally tortured. Many men were transported overseas and forced to do slavery work on
railroads (e.g. Birma railroad) the mines or do coolie work in harbors. War time
conventions were violated despite acceptance of these conventions by japan.

Those Dutch left outside the camps on racial grounds were terrorized and disallowed to work for a living.

All were subjected to organized terror by the military, including enforced sex slavery and
other forms of slavery, torture, intimidation, harsh disciplines, systematic starvation and
denial of medicine. Many died and the ones who survived cannot forget their ordeal. Many
continue to live with traumas and other health problems.

Still now, more than 68 years after the end of this war people come forward with their
personal stories, the memories that still haunt them.

One of these stories is an eye witness report of a then 14 year old boy who had only just
moved into Women's Hospital camp Solo on the island of Java, together with his mother,
his two older sisters of 15 and 18 and his younger brother of 10.

His story is about Japanese officers who, as announced several weeks beforehand, came to
collect 30 Dutch girls from Camp Solo in 1943.

In his own words written down in 2013 at the age of 86:

Quote: "Led by a young female doctor, Dr. Engels, thirty girls had soiled themselves and
some had inflicted small injuries to themselves, such as little wounds on their lips. These
would fester and looked very unappealing. At the time, I didn't really understand it. These
girls looked terrible and reeked immensely. Hair was no longer cut and there was no more
bathing. Dresses were torn and smeared. Rags were bound around legs and the girls were
taught how to limp and squint.

Once in a while there was some giggling because of these smelly, dirty disguises, but in the
hearts of the girls and their mothers there was great fear and grief because no one knew
what the Japanese were planning. It was clear however that, once the Japanese had made
their choice, those girls would have to go with them. Yes, working in a hospital, getting an
education and all kinds of other promises were made, but behind the scenes there was silent
grief and great uncertainty.

And so the day arrived. Several girls had fallen ill because of all the misery and fear. There
was vomiting and crying.

In my thoughts I saw my sisters standing there. What would happen to them? No one knew.

There they were: Five senior Japanese officers, in full uniform with high hats, imperial
samurai swords, gold stripes and shiny leather boots. There they were, on the steps of the
hospital, our Camp building, in Solo. Everyone in the camp had to be present on the
forecourt. About 1800 women and children were already waiting for an hour. It was dead
quiet. My little 10 year old brother was sitting on the ground playing with sand and stones.
My mother cried softly.

First a long story in Japanese translated by a Javanese interpreter in Malay: the beloved,
benevolent and divine Japanese emperor Hirohito was pleased that 30 girls from this
Women's Camp were allowed to study in Japan, or would be trained as nurses, and could
then go to work in various hospitals.

[In reality, girls, once selected in this manner, were forced into prostitution in brothels run
by the military, as 'Comfort Women' for the Japanese forces.]

A spacious place in front of the steps of the building was kept free for the girls. There they
would stand in a long line. Somewhere else the girls must have been standing at the ready.
But they didn't show up.

And then this happened.

The Japanese officers became restless: First murmurings, then profanities. They were not
used to this. Our camp director, Mrs. Smith, was called forward. It took a while. Doctor
Engels, a female doctor and the only doctor in the Women's Camp, the one that had
'prepared' the girls, walked along with Mrs. Smith, onto the steps of the terrace. When
asked where the girls were, the camp director told the interpreter in Malay that the girls
were too young and were needed in the Camp. Doctor Engels continued that the girls were
sick and weakened because there was not enough food in the camp.She added that the girls
could not leave because they had to take care of their sick mothers and the smaller children.

Doctor Engels immediately got a hard slap in the face from a Japanese officer. She almost
fell to the ground and just managed to prevent the man from hitting her with his sheathed
sword by grabbing the sacred Japanese sabre. This caused her and the samurai to topple
over backwards onto the floor. We knew what this would mean. This was a deadly sin to
the Japanese. A holy Samurai was not to be touched by anyone, most certainty not by a

Then all the officers went mad. Doctor Engels was kicked till she bled and beaten up
completely, until she stopped moving. She was the dragged away to the hallway behind
the terrace. We heard her screaming in agony a few times, and then there was silence. I
remember that Doctor Engels lived another few days, but then died from her injuries.

She had had the courage to say NO and then died for the sake of the lives of 30 Dutch camp
girls. All women and children present on the forecourt flew in all directions in a panic, back
to their rooms and to the barracks, in desperate fear of what could happen now.

The Japanese officers retreated and got in their cars and left without having seen the girls.

A second attempt to pick up the girls failed to materialize and why......we do not know.
Probably because soon the 'Military Command' of the women's camps was transferred to a
Japanese Citizen Authority or Board. As far as I know there was never any retaliation,
except that we received no food that day and all of the about 200 boys aged 10 to 18 were
taken to the Boys Camp 7 in Ambarawa 100 kilometers away in the week after the
uprising."End of quote.

Memories like these still haunt the victims of the Japanese concentration camps.

On behalf of these victims the board of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts
continues to seek moral recognition and justice. The Japanese government, due to
international pressure, will ultimately have to acknowledge that they have a moral duty
towards the Dutch from the former Netherlands East Indies. The Japanese government
claims that as a nation they "fight" for peace and justice, taking its responsibilities in the
international bodies seriously, playing significant roles in human rights, conflict mediation
and peace keeping forces. Before claiming this position however Japan must consider its
past and rectify their wrongdoings.

The Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts requests the Human Rights Council to ensure
that at last, after 68 years, Japan recognizes the facts and settles the damage by
compensating the victims.


I wonder how Japan is going to react. I read something very interesting the other day, about another Dutch women, who just told her story about taken to a Japanese brothel. Her name is Jan Ruff- O'Herne. See her interview video on the internet, or read her book.

Its unbelievable how Japan keeps denying about these atrocities and the brothels. Everyone knows that it happened. It went on in the women camps as well. Women were raped, and my mother and her sister were one of them.
She never talked about it, and only had told her younger sister when she came back from the former Dutch Indies.
This was a taboo topic and often ignored  is the discussion about rape in the camps and the Japanese brothels."Comfort Women".
The petitions we hand over are a way to speak out to a very ignorant Japan.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Netherlands, April 2013.Crowning of a new King.

Our flight left on April 29,2013 and we arrived in Amsterdam on April 30. This day was a special day in The Netherlands, because of  the crowning of a new King. The eldest son of Queen Beatrix, Willem-Alexander, is going to be crowned the new King.Queen Beatrix is retiring.
King Willem-Alexander with his wife and children.I hope your children will never be war victims.
I am dreaming, that during your Kingship the Dutch government stands behind their morals. That justice will be done to them who deserve justice. Do one right, give them their due, no matter where they lived in the past, like in the former Dutch Indies, New Guinea or elsewhere in territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. I am dreaming that a time comes during your Kingship that the Indies " matter " will come to a honorable solution, specially for them who fought and gave their lives for the "Honor of  Oranje". the Netherlands. I am dreaming that during your Kingship people start to understand what a Veteran is.
A "Veteran"- whether he or she is in active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve, is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to "The Netherlands" for an amount of " up to and including his life".  That is " honor". And there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.

Dutch-Government take your responsibility,Now! for the last 100 KNIL soldiers who are about to die...
I am dreaming that during your Kingship the Dutch Government will stand behind their morals, specially for the ones who suffered so many atrocities during WW2 in the former Dutch Indies and elsewhere.'We' their children demand that they deserve justice.I sincerely hope that your children grow up in a world without war.
During war time 40% of children are most of the time the victims.Children are unfortunately often the direct but powerless victims of the horrors committed against their family. A child survives the war, but the war will never leave a child, you can't erase the war from a child's mind.Because when after the war a  peace treaty  has been signed the war is not over! For many war children who survived, the fight starts against nightmares and war ghosts will haunt them, their fears and their dreams will never leave them.
The worst part is that all these horrors they struggle with and try to understand has been created by adults who themselves have children. How do these adults explain this to their own children??? Again with lies???
Please learn from the past, and maybe a time will come that the world will live in peace.
But mankind is stupid, because history repeat and repeat itself. Why are adults keep hurting children???
The children who were born after the war, learned in school that the United Nations would  take care that history would be history forever.
These past month's sadly enough it has been proven that the UN is an useless organization!

But we are mostly saddened by the ignorance of the Dutch Government about the past.Very little attention has been devoted to the Pacific War in WW2. Even less recognition has been directed to the former Dutch Indies To the KNIL soldiers, their women and children who suffered under the Japanese military.

Ask anybody about the Holocaust, and they immediately tell you that this had to do with the suffering of the Jews during WW2.

Ask them about the other Holocaust in Asia, and they do not know a thing about it.They have no idea about the Japanese prison camps and what happened in these camps during  WW2. They have no idea how many of their countrymen were starved, tortured,and killed during the occupancy of Japan.How many died during the occupancy of Japan, we don't know, we can only guess. And it is estimated that millions and millions lost their lives during WW2 in the Pacific, far more than the lives which were lost in Europe during WW2 , against Germany.

Even today the remains of  men, women and children are found in Indonesia and elsewhere. Often in deep wells under soccer fields etc.Many were swallowed up in the jungle, where they were used as slave workers by the Japanese to build railroads and bridges for their transportation of  their war supplies. Many died in transport ships and found their last resting place in the ocean. The Japanese kept no records. A human life was nothing to them. There were millions to replace them.
The infamous  Burma Railroad line alone has cost 100.000 people their death. Seventy five POW slave workers died a day. Tortured, starved, worked and bayonet to death by the Japanese military. Those who survived carried the scars for life, mentally as well as physically. After returning  to The Netherlands they received no help whatsoever.

The Dutch Government should be ashamed of themselves!

We want justice, compensation of war damage and back pay wages. Stop neglecting us.
This demonstration was held this year in The Hague.
I hope that The Netherlands no longer will neglect their Dutch citizens who fought, worked , died and lost everything what was so dear to them, in the Asian-Holocaust.I hope they won't forget the children from this holocaust, because these children and their children and their next generation will not forget.
                                                  Lest we forget!

                                                  Justice is due!