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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Another unbelievable family history discovered.

This spring we went to the Netherlands again to be with family and friends. As always we make a trip to Kolhorn a small town in the North of Holland to visit my favorite Aunt Anneke and my favorite uncle Kees.
My Aunt brought out a box with old photographs and soon we lost ourselves into the past..The pictures we found in the box had belonged to my Aunt's mother my grandmother, and of course my mother's mother. Before we knew it was time for us to hit the road again, back to Zandvoort. When we said our goodbye's my aunt said to Ruud;"'you can fix pictures, why do you not take the pictures with you" .So we put them in an large envelope and off we went back to Zandvoort.This was April and just a week ago Ruud said lets have a look at the pictures your Aunt Anneke gave us and I see what I can do with them. Now it is October and last night he gave me some of the pictures he had fixed up. One picture was of a grave. So I look at it and see the name Sietze Stenekes. Now my grandmother's maiden name was Stenekes, so I did not think much of it and thought this must be a brother of my Oma (grand mother). Than I am looking again at the picture, and I start to stare.This is what I am reading on his tomb; died serving his Fatherland on November 10, 1942. Than I see the place where he was buried and thought that this is one of those town's in the province of Friesland. Last night it was already 11 o'clock and I got curious. So I googled the name of the town: Barreirinhas, and his name Sietze Stenekes. Well I was in shock. I read that my Oma's (grandmother) had served on a ship the M.S.Zaandam and that my uncle had died when they were torpedoed by a Japanese submarine the U 174. Then I started to read the story and I got goose pimpels, and I like to share it with you.We never knew about this tragedy. People did not seem to talk about it. They got on with their lives and looked at the future. But Oh... how they must have hurt and feel the pain. I am glad that I found this story, so this legacy can live forever in our families and in the future generations. Rest in peace great-uncle Sietze.Not forgotten, your story will be told.
Barreirinhas is a place in Brasil.
Died serving his Fatherland on November,10 1942, in Barreirinhas.
Rest in Peace.
He was still young on the picture , the only one we have. He was 56 years old when he died.This was my great-uncle, the brother of my Oma (grandmother) and the uncle of my mother.

Barreirinhas where they finally stranded.

This is Barreirinhas, it's what they must have seen. The beach they kissed.

The History of the M.S."Zaandam" (1939-1942)

This is the book Destination New York. It's a reconstruction of a short but unbelievable tale of history of the ship "Zaandam" during WW2.

The book tells the extraordinary story of the captain, crew members and passengers of the Dutch passenger ship  Zaandam of the Holland -America-Line9hal) in the beginning of World War Two.
In the fall of 1939 the Dutch vessels brought in more passengers, far above their regular capacities. Hundreds slept on mattresses in cabins and public rooms.This process brought to The Netherlands  the first hot breath of the war and the newspaper publicity on the arrivals of the ships in the United States was tremendous.Movie stars, diplomats,prominent business men and even royalty, were forced to travel under makeshift conditions due to the overcrowding. Several ships were stopped at sea by fighting countries, some by German U-boats and other by British war ships.

On route to the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

During the German invasion of The Netherlands on May 10,1940, the Zaandam was somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean on its way from New York to Cape Town with passengers and cargo. The final destination was Batavia (Djakarta) in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Captain Stamperius had received orders to bring his vessel in the New York-Java Line service. Far from home, but quite safe, ship and crew sailed the year that followed in the Pacific Ocean.On the ship was my great-uncle, sailor Sietze Stenekes.

Equipped with arms

The situation in the Pacific changed on December 7th, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. This attack was also the start of their military operations in South East Asia. It was the second major catastrophe for The Netherlands, because the Japanese were on their way to conquer the Dutch East Indies.
The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked; the Zaandam was almost ready to depart from San Francisco for Singapore with a hundred passengers and a full cargo.Sailing orders were cancelled and on the 14th the Dutch Government requisitioned the ship's services and transferred her to the Commandant of Sea Forces at Batavia. 
This was the day that the first U-boat the 016 was lost and run on a mine. The submarine my uncle was on. The first casualty in our family, with more tragedies to come.
All men aboard died, but one.

Tobias van Driel.

On December 22 a bedraggled Dutch sailor was found by an Australian patrol, trudging toward Singapore in the helpless procession of native refugees fleeing the advancing Japanese. Brought to Naval headquarters, Cornelis de Wolf had an incredible story to tell.
He later visited my Aunt Eke van Driel-Sijtsma at her home in Soerabaya, and told her that her husband had not suffered. When  the 016 ran on a mine the ship exploded and sank quickly .A very sad message to deliver to a women who was 4 months pregnant with her second child in the middle of all this chaos and the Japanese advancing to Java.Her husband gone, and one child who was going to have his 4th birthday in May when the baby was due, she was utterly lost. Thank goodness she had her sister, who had come from Bandoeng to be with her. Together they might come through all of this sadness and madness. They had no idea what was to come, and that they would be locked up for three and a half year by the Japanese. They survived, but the war would never leave them.

The "Zaandam" in the meantime sailed on December 26th, with her cargo, but during the delay, a four inch gun and two anti-aircraft guns were installed on board, as well as protection for the bridge and the radio room. Third officer Willem Broekhof was trained in San Francisco and became the gunnery-officer.Two sailors were trained  as gunners. While on their way twelve more crew members were trained it turned out that this had been a wise decision,
The route was via New Zealand and the south of Australia to Oosthaven on Sumatra. In the meantime the Japanese

Monday, August 21, 2017

Klaas van der Wal
Today Friday the 25th of August 2017, my Father Klaas van der Wal, who died fighting for our Freedom, will be presented with the Mobilization War-Cross. Our Son Dan will accept the medal in honor of his Opa. In honor of my Dad I wrote this poem.

                            YOU ARE MY DAD, AND I AM YOUR DAUGHTER.                                                                          

You are my Dad, and I am your daughter,
Years have gone by, and memories fade,
But we never forget the price you paid.
A Jap-Prisoner of War is what they claim,
A War-Cross is all there will remain
One will never know the price you paid,
You gave of yourself, a sacrifice you made,

You are my Dad, and I am your daughter,
A child, caught between the crossfire of a battle "called life",
A senseless War, a stupid fight,
You were a Jap prisoner of war,
And the child was asking Mommy everyday ,
When is my Daddy coming home to play?.

I am your daughter, and you are my Dad,
I was only one year old,
A child , who's father on duty was called
You kissed your wife and child goodbye,
Not knowing it would be our last farewell
War drops bombs on our Hopes and Dream,
Leaves us with nightmares and lasting screams.

I am your daughter, and you are my Dad,
A father to battle he went, a Dad who never came home,
And left a wife and child, who had to go on.
A war brings sadness all around,
And husbands and fathers who die on foreign ground.
A war which creates children whitout fathers
A war brings sadness and tears for our mothers.

I am your daughter, and you are my Dad,
You paid the price, too high the cost
For mother and child too much was lost.
A mom who found it hard to say "Goodnight"
Because she knew it scared her child's mind.
With things she tried so hard to erase,
It created silence, and only grief on her face.

I am your daughter, and you are my Dad
You paid the ultimate price, too high the cost,
For father and child too much was lost.
Unknowing this child carried the scars,
Do we ever come to terms with the past?
A war will end, the living will mourn,
All for Peace but what was is it all for???

You are my Hero, my Dad, and I am your daugther
And in my tearfull eyes of sorrow,
You will always be in my thoughts today and tomorrow.
The price you paid , we will always remember,
Not only the day you died,on the battle field in September,
Today you will be honored with this tiny cross
A medal , a token , to commemorate our loss.

I am your daughter and you are my Dad,
A young man, like so many others,
Forever a heartbreak to my mother,
Can one ever understand the pain.
A war where people went insane!
A war where tears ran dry,
A question always asking WHY?
Your memory is our keepsake
With which we'll never part,
Those memories we are keeping,
Forever in our Hearts.

This poem written by Thea van der Wal to honor my father Klaas van der Wal on this special day.

My Dad died on September 18, 1943. He was a KNIL soldier. He was a POW,  he fought for our Freedom and gave his life for our Freedom..He died as a Japanese forced slave laborer, building the Birma railroad through the jungle, and died due to  exhaustion, starvation and torture.

Today August 25, 2017 my father will finally be recognised with the Mobillization War-Cross.
Lieutenant-Colonel (RNLAF) Christa Oppers-Beumer defence Military Naval and Air Attache of the embassy of  the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ottawa Canada together with Lieutinant-Colonel Oppers will present our son Dan Bisenberger with the medal of honor for his Opa.

This day will forever be a day we will never forget. With this medal we will also honor my mother, his Oma, our Hero. She risked her life to keep me, her daughter alive when we were in these horrible concentration camps for three and a half years.We were finally freed from our tyrants on August 15, 1945.

                                      LEST WE FORGET!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Demonstration in The Hague:Petition 250

                                     Petition 250:  WHAT NEXT?

                                 FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                 NGO STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague September 8,2015
Petition: 250
Subject: WHAT NEXT?


Your statement on Friday, August 14th, 2015 failed to convince us that Japan is preparing for its future by addressing its military and political past.In your statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two you admit "that Japan lost sight of the overall trends in the world", Japan's post war population does not know how and why Japan went into war nor that during the war the Imperial forces terrorized POW's and civilians and violated human rights on a grand scale in the occupied territories.Your promises that Japan "will engrave in our hearts" is insufficient and offensive considering the sufferings of the victims of terror and plunder which took place. Japan started the war and its military terrorized and violated the laws of war. However you are right in stating that "prosperity is the very foundation for peace", to which one must add accepting responsibility for past wrongdoings. Hence the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts continuous demand that Japan recognize its moral responsibility stemming from Japan's "wrong course  advances along the road of war."

Prime Minister,
This is the Foundation's 250th petition to the Prime Minister of Japan in the last 25 years. The tone and contents of all previous petitions have been to reconcile on the basis that the Dutch victims of Japanese militarism are respected and reasonably redressed. Our message continues to be that Japan must accept moral responsibility for its military and political past during World War Two. The Foundation of Honorary Debts has the will and the means to reconcile on behalf of the Dutch who suffered from Japan's military occupation of Dutch East Indies during World War Two.

Prime Minister,

Your statement of the 70th anniversary offers possibilities, if you have the will and genuine commitment to reconcile. Demonstrate your will by starting to acknowledge the receipt of the 250th petition.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F.van Wagtendonk


                                         A message from the president, 

Dear donors and sympathizers,

Yes it has been 70 years ago that we were freed from our tyrants the Japanese military. Peace came with happiness and sadness. So many had not made it. Another difficult time was in store for all of us. Many had to deal with the knowledge that their husbands, father of your children, your wife, your brother or your sister your uncle or your aunt your grandmother or your grand father did not survive,and you were never going to see them again.
What next... so many of you said.. How are we going to get on? We have no houses to go back to and no jobs.From one atrocity to jet another one. Every thing we ever owed was lost and there sure was no help to expect. We stood there with empty hands and we felt totally lost. We felt we were the forgotten ones and some how we had to start over again. The chaos was tremendous and overwhelming., "peace" we did not knew it existed, the Bersiap had started and we were in the middle of it. The little bit we still had at that time,was lost too. The fathers and mothers who survived all these atrocities and made it out alive, never knew how to celebrate the 15th of August.  All what they thought about was the loss of their loved ones and a deep sadness was all they felt.

What does it mean to remember? Do you have to stand still and think about all the sadness and the loved ones you had lost. Do we have to be angry, because we were the forgotten ones. Or do we have to think of all the good things we had when all was still okay. Our "Memorial monument" we carry in our hearts, sometimes we share it with our friends, but everyone tries to deal with it in their own way.

As a donor and president of the Foundation of  Japanese Honorary Debts I often think about how courageous  the war victims from the Dutch Indies picked up the pieces and started a new life. But  I am also thinking about those who were so damaged, mentally and physically that it was impossible for them to start a new life again. Also the knowledge and lack of comprehension, specially from the Japanese authorities and politicians for their moral responsibility to recognize that Japan with their Imperial military army had inflicted  so many atrocities to the Dutch in the former Dutch Indies, and should therefor still be responsible for all the atrocities they inflicted on human beings during that time.

The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, is never going to allow Japan from their moral responsibilities, until they except recognition and reparations of the harm which Japan and specially their Imperial army have inflicted on human beings.

Even the the government of The Netherlands has their responsibilities about this. Right after the capitulation of Japan there were words full of compassion and understanding. But even then the war victims were totally left on their own in their  fatherland, and totally forgotten. The behaviour of the then Dutch government and the self-seeking in neglecting  and denying their responsibility is probably the blackest page in solidary history of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The anger, the disbelief, about incomprehension from politicians, media and the Dutch people, is still to be felt under the Dutch Indies people. This anger will never leave us until the present Dutch government  and politicians recognizes the moral responsibilities of the terrible injustice, harm and material damage has affected the people from the Dutch Indies: its called"Honorary Debt". Maybe this August 15th, 70 years after the Japanese capitulation, the present-day  administration and politicians come to search their own hearts and will be ashamed about the lack of involvement with their fellow-country-men from the former Dutch East Indies.

Its about a comprehension explanation of recognition and excuses with compensation.The way this will take place could set a sample for the present Japanese administration and politicians.The Japanese industry seems to have taken their responsibilities. But also the media in the Netherlands and Japan have a responsibility to give more attention for the" Dutch Indies grief".
The war victims and next of kin will fight the good fight for recognition and reparations.

Yours president,
 J.F. van Wagtendonk.


This message was written in Dutch in our magazine. I hope that I did not make too many mistakes in translating it in English.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Demonstration in The Hague. Petition 249

Petition 249; The moral way to acknowledge and pay respect to history.

                                  FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                  NGO.STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 11 August 2015
Petition: 249
Subject; The moral way to acknowledge and pay respect to history.


On the 15th of August 2015, you will be judged on your anniversary statement. Judged as to wether you are a true globally accepted statesman who is preparing Japan for its future by addressing its history, its moral responsibilities for past war atrocities and the consequences thereof. Or are you trapped in your personal past and political position by former apologies that lacked the acceptance of responsibilities and reparations? In this milestone year Japan cannot hide behind the legal defense of the San Francisco Peace Treaty; you must surely feel morally obliged to consider the cruel experience of the victims of Japanese military terror.

Prime Minister,

In our petition 247 we stated that Japan's wartime legacy will continue to haunt Japan now and in the future. The economic costs to Japan and its people in denying the past are substantial both in lost opportunities as well as in self-defense. You as Prime Minister of Japan on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two are in the position together with unanimous support of both,Houses of the Diet, to acknowledge and redress the past honorably and sustainably.

Prime Minister,

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation offered the most remorseful apology to the POW's from the USA, who suffered harsh, severe hardship while forced to work in Mitsubishi mines and industrial plants. An unprecedented apology from  major Japanese company. Mr. Yukio Okamoto, an outside board member of the company, sought forgiveness for not apologizing earlier. In a further statement Mitsubishi Materials hopes also to apologize to former British, Dutch and Australian World War Two POW"s, and reach an amicable solution with Chinese forced laborers. Mitsubishi's initiative is a loud and clear signal that Japanese companies recognize that the 70th anniversary of the ending of World War Two will scrutinize Japan's attitude in resolving its war time responsibilities. Other Japanese companies cannot ignore Mitsubishi's initiative but will follow suit. Why must they lead and your government follow???
The leaders of Mitsubishi Materials accept moral responsibility for the past as they are part of the global business community and want to survive for the future. On the 70th anniversary it is time for your government to accept the consequences of Japan's World War Two past and finally resolve this unhappy matter!

On behalf of the Foundation of Honorary Debts,

J.F. Wagtendonk


This story was in the Toronto Star this Saturday, 15th of August.The story is about  Dutch women who live in Canada.

Concentration camp survivors tell of 'other war' in the Pacific.

Group convenes on anniversary of Japanese surrender to observe lesser-known horrors of WW2.

staff reporter

Only a month before the Japanese surrender that ended the war in the Pacific, 12 year old Mance de Korte crawled under a fence and crept into the hospital at the infamous Tjideng civilian internment camp near Jakarta, Indonesia.
Inside, she found her mother laying on a hallway floor so ill with dysentery, the girl wasn't sure her mother recognized her or even felt her presence.
But one thing was certain:Suz van de Wetring was dying.
The next morning, her body was put outside the camp gate, sewn into a mat and carted away.
Seventy years later, her 82 year old daughter's still bright blue eyes brim briefly with tears at the memory.
The Mississauga resident remembers her grief as the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945, approaches.
De Korte wants more Canadians, including her children and grandchildren to understand the Second World War in the Pacific, less known to many Canadians than the war in Europe.


Canada sent relatively few troops to the Pacific and, after the war, the North American population was tilted to European ancestry, said writer Ernest Hillen, 81, author of a 1993 memoir, The Way of a Boy,about his childhood in the Japanese camps where the Dutch were imprisoned during the war.
Even those who were children in the camps often carried deep emotional scars their whole lives, he said. The experience left de Korte motherless at 12. Years of poor nutrition also contributed to her younger brother's childhood death after the war, leaving him too weak to fight the infection of appendicitis.
"My mum was only 37 years old, and she was full of life. She could play the piano. She could do anything,:says de Korte.
In four years of Japanese occupation, the trio lived in three concentration camps in the Dutch East Indies(now called Indonesia),on the island of Java.
It was a desperate, brutal, crowded existence.
When the Dutch encountered a Japanese soldier, they were forced to stand at attention and bow. In the early days, small children didn't understand. The mother of a child who failed to comply would be whipped with a guard's belt.
"You only have to see that once , to go out of the way of every Japanese man you see, because you don't want to get a whipping," said de Korte.
Beatings were a daily feature of life in the camps. said Hillen, a Dutch-born Canadian, who lives in Cambridge.
"The slightest offence- not bowing deeply enough or looking at the (Japanese guard) too'straight in the eye- (they) would either just give a woman a couple of slaps or beat the living daylights out of her.
"The air, all those years, was absolutely thick with fear.You were constantly terrified, you were hungry, and you were hot and quite often thirsty and you had wounds, scratches that had become infected," he said.
Throughout their internment de Korte's mother was frequently hospitalized with painful tropical sores on the soles of her feet. Without real shoes, the sores never truly healed. De Korte remembers fashioning make-do footwear from bits of old fabric that could be tied to her mother's feet.
In July 1945 , Tjideng prisoners were summoned to roll call, so the Japanese could count the prisoners to ensure no one had escaped the ghetto's barbed wire and bamboo fence. This time, the inmates were ordered to stand under a brutal sun for what de Korte remembers as two or three days.
Suz could not do it. So a group of women shielded her from the guard's view so she could sit on the ground. Her daughter believes that was when her mother contracted the dysentery that killed her.
De Korte expects her family will join her at the Holland Christian Homes in Brampton on Saturday for a special kampulan- an Indonesian word for a social gathering- comemorating the end of the war.
The memories they will share will be, like de Korte's, recollections of childhood.
"In our case, there is a bond. You come from Indonesia, you're about this age, then you have been where I have been. There's a friendship even if you don't talk about the war."she said.
The August 1945 Society, a survivors group that organized Saturday's kumpulan,has been a healing outlet for Mississauga Wil Moens,85, who also lived in the camps.
When the war ended, he owned only two pairs of shorts. His other clothing had been sold in exchange for small comforts such as hot water in which to make tea in the military barracks where he and his brother were interned.Their father and mother housed in different camps.
Moens remembers years later his grandson lay a commemorative wreath. "He was 12, a child. It was such a shock. I was just at that age on my own," he says.
Boys over 10 and men were separated from women and younger children in the Japanese camps.
Throughout the war, de Korte didn't know where her father, a Dutch school inspector in Sumatra, was being held.
He didn't talk about that time, says de Korte. She has kept a hollowed-out coconut shell that her father sanded smooth on the concrete outside his prison.A bit of wire has been twisted and pried into the shell as a handle for the bowl he used to take his daily camp ration, a tiny bit of rice, some watery soup and a small piece of bread.
"Atrocities happened, especially in the men's camps, and so much that people don't talk about it," she said.
Food became an obsession. Among her father's possessions, de Korte found a sheaf of papers on which were written mouth-watering recipes for which there were no ingredients to prepare.
In Tjideng, hygiene was poor and food was scarce. At the end of the war there were about 10,000 occupants,mostly Dutch women and children, in an area that de Korte compared to Mississauga's Square One shopping centre.

Sometimes we barely were able to carry the death.

Many are coming forward with their stories. We should never forget the ugly- ness of a war. My mother and her sister lost everything they loved. They lived the rest of their lives trying so desperately to forget the atrocities the Japanese inflicted on them. The Japanese military left them with deep scars. Deep scars they had to live with the rest of their lives. They hardly talked about the things the Japanese had inflicted to them. But my mother remembered and some times she told me things which were in my head. When I was younger she tried to erase all the things I had seen. But we will remember;
The sound of the whip. Never forgotten.

Did I bow the right way, Mommy?

My cousins and I, we were lucky, we survived.
The above picture was taken around September 1946, we were about 4 months back in The Netherlands.I am on the right..We had gained some weight.My cousins are living  in The Netherlands. I talk to my cousin at least once a week on skype. The bond will always be there. Our mothers got a severe beating one day because my cousin and I forgot to bow . They were taken in front of the church which the Japanese used as their offices. There in front of the church our mothers were beaten, their clothes ripped to bits.They were told if their kids ever again did not bow the punishment would be worse.We kids were so scared, every time we saw these screaming men with their big boots and their large swords, we would hide.

I remember the hardship in these awful prison camps,
I remember the hunger and the sounds of the whip,
I remember the ugly screams of the Jap
I remember my friends cries,
I wish I could forget, I try so hard!
It has been so long ago,
I do my best, but I remember still the same,
And it breaks my heart.


Part of my poem I submitted to Poem hunters in 2011.

                                                   Lest we forget!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Demonstration The Hague ;Petition 248

                                    FOUNDATION OF JAPANESE HONORARY DEBTS
                                                                               NGO, STATUS ROSTER  

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 14 July 2015
Petition: 248


During a recent parliamentary session you mentioned that you are frustrated by lack of progress in the fate of Japanese"kidnapped" by North Korea. You said: No abduction victims have returned home, but I will maintain the policy of dialogue and pressure".

Prime Minister,

you must realize that the victims of the Imperial Army are in their turn extremely frustrated by the lack of any progress in the dialogue between the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts and your government's diplomatic representatives in The Hague.

1.    .You and your predecessors refuse to acknowledge the receipt of our 247 petitions over a period of 25 years, personally addressed to the Prime Minister of Japan. This impolite and rude attitude astonishes us as the Japanese are generally known for good manners and respect for elderly people. It demonstrate the lack of respect and moral responsibility of the government of Japan to the victims.
2.    Despite global objections you personally continue to glorify and pay respect to convicted war criminals.
3     You continue to question the validity of statements by your predecessor and according to media reports you intend to dilute these statements on behalf of Japan in a personal review.

Prime Minister,

The forthcoming 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two is the opportune moment to end our frustrations and to demonstrate that our dialogue is meaningful. The victims of the Imperial Army organized in the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts, demand respect and acknowledgement of the moral responsibility of Japan for the conduct of the Imperial Army during World War Two in the Dutch East Indies.

We look forward to a meaningful dialogue and reconciliation as a result of your address at the 70th anniversary of Japan's capitulation on 15th August 1945 and acknowledgement of this petition.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.

J.F. van Wagtendonk


                                          JAPAN MUST REMEMBER ITS PAST! 

Our business with Japan is unfinished and will remain so until the Japanese government fully accepts it quilt and tells its people what was done in their name during World War Two.

We the surviving victims,who are now in their seventies and eighties, and were children then, will remind Japan about the horrible evil of the Japanese military occupation. As children we know the painfully feel of the past.
The traumatic experience of seeing your mother being beaten in front of your eyes, and not understanding why she was beaten, will stay with you forever, no matter how young you were at the time.I will never forget seeing women hanging on trees and the Japanese monsters telling us children to throw stones at them because they had to be punished. How can you as a young child understand these horrible things you saw daily.I remember trying to hide behind my mother's skirt, because I was scared to death for these little yellow men who did nothing but scream and were hitting my mother and my aunt.
I never forget that one day I was looking for my mother and I wandered towards the gate which divided the compound from the fields where the women had to work the vegetables patches from the Japanese.I knew that my mother and my aunt were there. I just wanted to be with my mom. I approached the guard and I dutifully bowed. Because by not bowing I knew that my mother would be severely beaten.We the children would asked our mother daily if we were bowing correct, terrified that we would not do it correctly and knowing that our mother's would get punished for not teaching us the correct way.The guard told me to sit down and wait for my Mom to come back from the field. "Which is your Mommy?" and I pointed at my Mom. The guard promptly headed out into the field and grabs my mother and hauls her through the gate.My Mom screamed at me that I had to go back to our living quarters immediately. When my mother finally returns she is black and blue and bleeding. My Mom told me that she fell and that's how she had hurt herself. I was told that I had to stay away from the gate, it was very important for me not to come looking for my Mom.

These are just a few things my cousins and I are remembering. We often wondered if they were indeed bad dreams we had for years. Our mothers told us over and over that they were bad dreams, because such things do not happen in real life. People don't do these nasty things to one another we were told over and over again. My cousins and I were often questioning each other why it was we were dreaming the same things.For many years after the war I was petrified to go on a train. With great difficulties my mother was able to get me to step into the train. I would shiver and the sound of the train would give me goose bumps. Clickety Clack, that's what I remembered from way back then.One day we had to get into these box cars and we were all crying, We hardly had any water and the heat was unbearable. All I remember is the sound of clickety clack on the tracks and being scared out of my mind.I still don't like to get on a train and try to avoid it.

Dear Mom,
I am a child no more, but unknowing carried the scars you wore.I found out, the more I learned the more I heal. One thing I have to say, I admire people who can forgive what these monsters had done.. I will never be able to forgive those who inflicted those horrible atrocities to you and your sister. That scar on my heart will never be mend.You and your sister experienced too much horror at their hands and I always wonder, if they ever felt sorrow. I hope that their years after the war were filled with nightmares like the nightmares you were plagued with for the remainder of your life.I hope when they look at their children, that they will think about what they had done to us little children.I hope when they have a daughter they will beg that their daughters never be raped the way they raped you and your sister in that filthy camp in Moentilan in a church of all places.I hope you and your sister rest in peace, with lots of love from me.

Those who survived remember and will never forget the sufferings at the hands of the Japanese military and their agents every day.Many children my age didn't survive this holocaust, which was forgotten and even ignored by our own government from The Netherlands.Many mothers and fathers died at the hands of these little men who called themselves soldiers of the Japanese military. What kind of soldiers are this who beat, starve and rape innocent girls, women and children.
Yesterday July 13th another former victim of sexual slavery and human trafficking, institutionalized by Japan's Imperial Army during WW2, passed away. Choi Geum-Seon we hope you found peace.


Honorable men and women with a burning desire
To be set free from the cruel barbed wire

Prisoners of war is what they claim
Prisoners of Hell is a better name.

Starvation, disease, torture and pain
Pressures of cruelty driving them insane.

Forced labor and raped, when they could hardly stand
Enduring degradations as long as they can.

Brave women and men were lost as they passed through the fire
The legacy of love from behind barbed wire.



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Demonstration in The Hague.Petition 247

                                                     NGO, STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Sinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 9 June 2015
Subject: Sound Reasoning by the Prime Minister of Singapore


The terror by the Imperial Army during the occupation of South East Asian territories is felt every day by the surviving victims. Not only by the physical pain and discomforts, the psychological after effects are even more painful and hurting. Images of the death by your loved ones caused through maltreatment, lack of medicines and bad hygienic circumstances, starvation in addition to the daily terror are not going away. The number of surviving victims is dwindling fast, but those remaining are not giving up their demands for genuine remorse by the Japanese people of today and in particular of their present leaders.

Prime Minister,

Our stories are not made up in order to obtain a redress from Japan. They are real, proven and substantiated by medical and investigated records.
Japan cannot deny these historic facts. You as Prime Minister must accept that and stop diluting past apologies by previous Prime Ministers. Japan's wartime legacy will continue to haunt Japan now and in the future. The economic costs in denying the past to Japan are substantial both in lost opportunities as well as in self-defense. You as Prime Minister of Japan on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two are in the position together with unanimous support of both Houses of the Diet to acknowledge and redress the past honorably and sustainably. As made clear many times over, the Dutch from Dutch East Indies are ready to reconcile.

Prime Minister,

Your colleague the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong made it very clear. "Japan needs to acknowledge past wrongs and Japanese public opinion needs to be more forthright in rejecting the more outrageous interpretation of history by its right wing academics and politicians." The sound reasoning by Prime Minister Lee should be welcomed by you as he says officially what many think both in Asia and in the Western world. There is in fact no need for a new apology, but there is an urgent need for action in accepting the consequences of the present apologies.
You can put an apology on paper, paper won't blush. But it is the redress which counts.

On behalf of the Foundation of Honorary Debts.

J.F. van Wagtendonk
One of the last picture we took from my Mom.

It has been twelve years ago that my mother passed away at the age of 84. The last couple of years of her life she lived in the past. Always thinking about her first love, always talking about that wonderful life she and her first husband had in the former Dutch Indies.( now called Indonesia). Then suddenly she would change into a very somber mood, when the darker side of that time entered her disturbed mind. Getting very angry at the world.This world that didn't understand , this world which would not understand what she and her sister had gone through during that horrible time when the Japanese invaded the former Dutch East Indies, and took away everything from her and her sister.The hunger, torture and abuse by these Japanese soldiers, who were so cruel and so very mean. Her tales of cruelty whilst in these Japanese prison camps trying so desperately to survive, would not be heard by anybody.. Her anger towards the Dutch government who she felt so betrayed by upon her return to the Netherlands.These physical ailments have plagued her entire life.
The constant stories she had to listen too, about how bad it had been in the Netherlands during that time, when the Germans occupied Europe. How could she have suffered more than her fellow Dutch men, after all you lived in Paradise is what they would say to her. She would just kept quiet. My mother coped with the horrors she experienced in these camps through sheer determination, trying to erase all the horrible things she and her sister endured at the hands of the cruel Japanese soldiers.But how can one forget what these monsters did to her and her sister. They had to go on living for the sake of their children. Although her sister had tried to take her life while in camp Moentilan on the island of Java.Her sister had given up, she told my mother; we are all going to die, I might as well end it now.Her sister had lost her husband 7 days after the war had started.He lost his life on the submarine the 016, which was found on the bottom of the sea in 2005. The submarine had run on a mine and all 42 crew members but One lost their lives. She and her husband had just been celebrating the knowledge that they were expecting their second child. A daughter was born, ironically on her husbands birthday in May of 1942.Three months later we were all locked up behind barbwire and high fences.We were now numbers and not human beings anymore in the eyes of the Japanese.Even the children and babies were numbered.We had to register and my mother and I received number  526 and 527 for which my mother had to pay a hell of a lot of money. We were told daily that we belonged to Japan and we had no homeland anymore. We had to bow for their flag the"Rising Sun", the white flag with the horrible red spot in the middle.In the eyes of the women it was the flag with the red bloodstain in the middle, and for the rest of my mothers life she hated this flag and anything what had to do with Japan.Food in the camps had been scares. Many died of starvation and malnutrition. Undergoing three and a half years of abuse, beatings, rape and working the vegetables gardens from the Japanese in the blazing sun, had taken away years of my mothers life. These years were taken away from all these innocent women and children.Our childhood taken away. Seeing your mother being beaten in front of your eyes made a big impact on us the children for the rest of our lives. Our mothers tried hard to erase these horrible memories.For most of it they succeeded, but now when we get older it seems like everything what we had tucked away comes back. Going through a war and being a war victim is like getting a life sentence in prison.
For many years now, every second Tuesday of the month a demonstration takes place in front of the Japanese embassy. Not many people who suffered so tremendously during the occupancy of Japan in the former Dutch East Indies are alive today.But those who are still alive today and are able to travel to The Hague and stand up for their rights , are not giving up their demand of  JUSTICE and an genuine apology by the Japanese people and present leaders.
Japan stop pretending that it didn't happen. Your former Japanese military behaved like monsters during World War Two, which Japan started. You pretended to save Asia for the Asian people, which was a lie.You, Japan has to admit that Japan was trying to conquer the whole of Asia.Many millions of Asian people suffered and perished during your so called propaganda of saving Asia for the Asians, with your lies. And as of today you Japan have not learned how to tell the truth, you are still lying!!!!!Lying about Japan's past. You Japan are a bad example for the younger generation of Japan.Shame on You!!!
We the children will and cannot ever forget what your military has done to our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers.We will remind you for as long as we live and it will haunt you forever.
My Mom before the war

Just released from Hospital, 1946.
After three and a half years in captivity my mom was in Hospital for three months. The above picture was taken after she was released.INDONESIA 1946.
July 1946, Zandvoort The NETHERLANDS.
Many Japanese war criminals continued to occupy powerful positions in industry and government after the war. Japan enshrined their war criminals in Tokyo-is an act that one American wartime victim of the Japanese has labeled politically equivalent to  "erecting a cathedral for Hitler in the middle of Berlin."

                                            Our voices will no longer be silenced!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Petition:246. Monthly demonstration in The Hague

                                      NGO, STATUS ROSTER

His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, 12 May 2015
Subject: How to reconcile


In your address to the joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on April 29th 2015 you paid tribute to General Snowdown for his efforts to reconcile. Sadly you did not apologise nor said sorry for the terror and cruelties of the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy in occupying South East Asian countries during World War Two. Sharing former Japanese Ministers apologies is not sufficient as you continue to honour Japanese war criminals and doubt the coercion of young girls and women in the occupied nations into sexual slavery. Due to the deliberate disregard by the Japanese military in respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed and implemented by Japan prior to World War two, reconciliation is only possible if Japan accepts the consequences of violations by its military

Prime Minister,

Nevertheless in your address you attempted to reconcile with the past in order to go forward into the future. You admitted that Japan and its military brought sufferings to the people of the occupied Asian countries. You failed in your address to mention those who survived the war. The San Francisco Peace Treaty provided Japan with a base to resurrect, as you stated so clearly, from the ashes. The individual survivors including the Dutch from Dutch East Indies are still in "ash" and did not benefit from Japan's post war successes. They continue to suffer from atrocities inflicted upon them, causing permanent mental and physical damages.

Prime Minister,

Today Japan cannot deny its past and must redress the damages done to the individuals. Japan cannot downplay its responsibilities of the past. It is not a government to government reconciliation but a people's one, whereby the Japanese government must honor its apologies in law and redress the Dutch victims. The Dutch from Dutch East Indies are ready to reconcile with the Japanese people. The Dutch victims will never forget what happened to them. Seventy years after ending of World War Two the time is there to reconcile and to redeem Japan's Honorary Debts. We are looking forward for an early reply,

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.



         My Mothers dreams and nightmares throughout her life.

Why were these soldiers so terrible mean. Why did they terrorise innocent women and children? Sadly these Japanese soldiers were brain washed at an early age of twelve,being only little boys who should have been playing ball and other nice innocent games. But these little boys were military trained all in the name of their emperor Hirohito of Japan, their GOD. THEY WERE TOLD THAT THEY WERE CHOSEN TO FIGHT FOR THEIR EMPEROR AND WOULD DIE FOR THEIR EMPEROR. THIS WOULD BE THE HIGHEST HONOR THEY COULD EVER ACCOMPLISH IN THEIR LIFE.  SURRENDER WAS NO OPTION.
These pour boys had no way of thinking for themselves, this was not taught to them. So is it because of that Prime Minister ABE that you cannot apologise,Is it because that's the way you are brought up. Your grandfather was a war criminal, Is it because your grand father that you honor war criminal's? Our grand fathers and father's and mother's, sister's and brother's suffered during World War Two, because of them.My cousins and I lost our fathers at the hands of these monsters, who were taught to kill. Why can't you apologise for them. Take the blame and remove the shame.Why is it that Japan and of course you Prime Minister ABE can't say the word"I apologise" and will make it right. Is it because that's what you have been taught by your grandparents and parents, to never give in. Keep lying about the past, it might go away, is that what you are telling the young people of Japan today? We the children who were there in those horrible filthy nasty camps, will never forget how we saw our mothers suffer at the hands of these well trained robots, who called themselves soldiers.I will never forget the screams from my mother when she and her sister received a terrible beating because my cousin and I didn't bow. We were only three and four years old at the time. From that day on we were terrified little girls who were terrified that we did something wrong and our mothers would get beaten again right in front of our eyes. Always asking our mothers: Mommy did we bow properly"..I will never as long as I live forget my mother's nightmares, which she suffered the rest of her life, because those "ROBOTS" raped her and her sister while they were in camp Moentilan locked up. They were told day in day out that they belonged to them and had to obey. How can you and your government still deny all these atrocities which were inflicted to innocent women and children.How many more years we have to beg for Justice? How much longer do I have to remind you, that the women in those camp hated your flag the Rising Sun and named your flag the flag with the huge blood stain the middle. When can we honor your flag again? Has your government forgotten that there were plans to kill all Westerns. We, my mother and I, her sister and my cousins were taken to Banjoebiroe 10 on August 1st,1945. It was said that it was best to have as many POWs together in one camp so it would be easier to get rid of them at once. Our mothers heard this during that horrible train ride from the locals , when the train stopped. Many children and young mothers died during that train ride. Young little girls who died in their mothers arms were thrown off the train, because your "robots"(soldiers) were terrified of diseases. These mothers went utterly crazy. You  Prime Minister Shinzo ABE  probably have never tried to stand in their shoes. You were born way after the war and were pampered from day one. Never went hungry, never suffered.You, just like those young boys who were send to war by your government, have been taught well. What kind of nation is Japan, I am asking myself so often. Why are they lying about the past and why do they like to rewrite the past? Could you please answer my question?

I wrote this poem a while ago. It was March 7, 2011 and I send it to

                            Was it a dream which turned into a nightmare.

Was it a dream about that beautiful land of Emerald?
Was it a dream that I remember the sawa's?
Was it a dream that I remembered the tropical sun?
Was it a dream that I remembered the beautiful sunsets?
Was it a dream that I climbed these beautiful mountains?
Was it a dream that I felt so much love in that faraway land?
Was it a dream that I felt so much at home?
Was it a dream that I had so many friends there?
Was it a dream that we were so at peace?
Was it a dream that turned into a bad dream??

Was it a bad dream that Japanese soldiers bombed that beautiful country?
Was it a bad dream that I was taken from my home?
Was it a bad dream that I was put behind barbwire fences?
Was it a bad dream that I lost my freedom?
Was it a bad dream that I was held as a POW for three and half years?
Was it a bad dream that I was tortured by these Japanese men?
Was it a bad dream that these Japs turned this beautiful country into a hell of misery?
Was it a bad dream that we nearly starved?
Was it a bad dream that my friends died one by one?
Was it a bad dream that I had lost the love of my life?

Pretend it never happened
Pretend you never knew that beautiful country
Pretend you never climbed these beautiful mountains
Pretend you never lived there
Pretend you have never loved there
Pretend you never saw these beautiful sawa's
Pretend you never saw these beautiful sunsets
Pretend it was a phantom which broke like glass
Pretend you just woke up...
My Mom at he flower market in Bandoeng. Happy Times.

Was it a bad dream or a nightmare?
Was I in these filthy camps for three and a half years?
Sadly I remember it was not a dream!
I remember the sawa's, the beautiful sunsets!
I remember the beautiful mountains!
I remember the beautiful people, my friends!
I remember this peaceful land!
I remember I was so in love!
I remember my fallen friends!
I remember the hardship in these awful camps!
I remember the hunger and the sounds of the whip!
I remember my friends cries!

I wished I could forget,I try so hard
It has been so long ago, but it still feels like yesterday
I do my best, but remember still the same
And it breaks my heart.