The years after World War Two

 
 

Here I am, one of the demonstrators

In discussion with Wim

 

Demonstrations in front of the Japanese embassy

We spent two most wonderful days in Bangkok, the Thais are really very nice people and I am most certainly happy that I have seen this town.

Back in the Netherlands, I joined the demonstrators together with my friend Hanneke, in front of the Japanese embassy. The group was organized by the “Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts” in 1995. This foundation has around 95 000 members but only about 20 000 are contributors.
For a long time we were hoping that Japan would compensate us for the sufferings we had to go through during the Japanese occupation of the former Dutch East Indies during World War Two between 1942 and 1945.
But to our regret, Japan doesn’t even acknowledge that they have committed crimes in the former Dutch East Indies towards the Dutch people, and of course also towards the Indonesian people as well.
Many of us in the camps have died from malnutrition, malaria, dysentery, hunger oedema and of course from depression, not everyone of us could outlive the daily Japanese sadism. Also the Kempeitai killed many people from the former Dutch East Indies.

At the end of the war the Japanese Kempeitai destroyed all the papers that could have witnessed their crimes in this part of Asia.  The British troops, our so called  liberators arrived around half September 1945, almost one month after the end of WWII.

Around sixty to seventy of us stand in front of the Japanese embassy every second Tuesday of the month. In the beginning we were with many more people. But some of us died and others are now too old to stand there for more than an hour in good or bad weather. Several of us are well over eighty years old.
 
We are still hoping for an honest rehabilitation, and an acknowledgement of our sufferings caused  by the Japanese military occupation of the former Dutch East Indies, present Indonesia.
I demonstrate there in front of the Japanese embassy, for my parents. For my father who was killed by the Kempeitai.  For my mother who suffered mentally from those years of the Japanese occupation in the former Dutch East Indies.

Our chairman, and one of the other board members from the Foundation of Honorary Debts visit the Japanese ambassador each month for a discussion about World War Two in the former Dutch East Indies. Those discussions are not easy at all.

Afterwards we all walk from the Japanese embassy towards the hotel Bel Air, where we are having a lunch together. After so many years standing there together in all sorts of weather, we have become one big family.
Since we are all coming from the same country, the country where we grew up, the country we all love and still miss so much, we are indeed one big family.

In May 2000 I came on the list for a 14 days visit to Japan in October that same year.
I was quite exited. How would I feel about visiting the country of my former occupiers?
I had already a Japanese pen-friend, Naoko. She is a lovely Japanese lady.
My friend Agnes with whom I had been one month on vacation in Indonesia, was also coming to Japan. But Agnes was not in the former Dutch East Indies during World War Two, she was in Switzerland.

I planned to go to Japan with an open mind towards everything I was going to see, to experience, to feel and to … eat.

 
My friend Hanneke and I
Hanneke, Johan and I
Pieter, Hanneke, Henk and I
Hanneke, Adriaan and I
Some of the demonstrators and I
A demonstration, this time in the Summer

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