Commemorate

After the Second World War; the political climate in the Netherlands was already characterized by the complicated relationship with Indonesia and the feeling of shame regarding the colonial past. The people did not feel sorry for the descendants. Because people did not have any knowledge about this subject, they thought that it was our own fault. As a consequence, it took a long time before there was any attention for the war victims of the former colony the Dutch East Indies.
People are not aware of the fact that 80 per cent of the profit of the Dutch colony went straight to the Netherlands, which made the country and its population so prosperous. The remaining turned out to be sufficient enough to make the Dutch East Indies prosperous as well. Now, there is a twelfth urn in the Monument on Dam Square, which is filled with the earth of 22 honor cemeteries from different parts of the Indonesian archipelago, bricked in with the 11 urns of cemeteries of the Dutch provinces. It was only in 1961 that not only the victims of the war with Germany were named during the national commemoration ceremony on the Dam Square, but the victims of the war in the Dutch East Indies as well. Since then, these Dutch were also allowed to commemorate their liberation. Huge amounts of flowers lay there now, which you can see when you drive by. They also planted pinus sylvetris there, which are known to grow very fast, so that it is less visible. Politics is inventive!

On the news, people speak of a commemoration of the Japanese capitulation, but people always avoid talking about the real end of the Second World War. For the Dutch, this was after Germany had capitulated, so on 5 May! People were not aware of the fact that the world was still suffering from the war at that date.

The Gesture
About the refusal of paying the salaries of Indische civil servants and militaries. The conclusions of the NIOD-reports of Hans Meijer and Peter Keppy do not lie, however: the Netherlands has acted unrightfully and is the only country of the Allies that did not compensate its Dutch Indische war victims and militaries that served in the former colony (Report Meijer 2005).

Salaries that had to be paid during the war period have never been paid. Dutch civil servants in the Netherlands did receive the promised compensation after the war, however! The research of Keppy (2006) focuses on war damage, -stripping and the repair of honor. Of the private belongings from Indische Netherlanders, 5 billion has been let through the public treasury of the Netherlands, Indonesia and Japan. The remaining 15 billion has disappeared in the hands of Japanese and Indonesians, due to expropriation, stripping, confiscation and destruction. With the so-called San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951, the Netherlands has taken the right from the Indische victims to be considered for damage compensation of their lost belongings. Further reading: Ik Beken. Compensation of Zalm in July 2000: Jewish victims of the Holocaust received 18.000 gulden and the gypsies received 10.000 gulden. The Dutch victims of the Japanese received 3000 gulden. These victims were comprised of Jews as well. The Jews from Germany and the Dutch East Indies, who were already living in Israel, thus had to deal with a striking difference! Abe Zijlstra asks the Senate where the 600 million gulden went that the Netherlands received from Japan to compensate the Dutch Indische victims.

Demonstrations and petitions.
On 13 June 2001, we protested in the Thorbecke hall in the Dutch Parliament against the exhibition of the movie Merdeka.

Foto 1

Foto 1

Every month, repatriates are demonstrating at the Japanese embassy in The Hague. Every month they are standing there, loyally, on their post, which does not please the personnel of the embassy. We have been there one time, and also when all of us wore an umbrella with the words “Pay your back!” This happened all over the world at that moment at Japanese embassies, because the Second World War had ended fifty years ago.

Foto 2

Foto 2

Sometimes a bus with tourists drives by, who consider us a touristic attraction! At the end of the demonstration, a delegation of the Stichting JES enters to offer a petition. The French embassy across the street does not mind but understands!

Foto 3

Foto 3

When Prince Akihito visited, we were also demonstrating at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. Old and handicapped people, guarded by bouncers and dogs, were kept out of the sight of the Prince! Queen Beatrix ordered this so that he would not feel offended. Behind a tree, a couple of Japanese in a dark costume and dark hat were keeping an eye on the situation as well. It made me think of the war again, something from a movie, a bit sinister! We were standing there with a banner, but we had to tidy it up for the police. Mayor de Graaf did not approve of our demonstration! Our group is the only group in the Netherlands, which was not allowed to demonstrate, the freedom to speak. JES took legal proceedings and won, but this did not benefit us. Akihito had left already by then.

Foto 4

Foto 4

Holding the banner on the left, Hilly Hogesteyn-Vrijburg. She also gave a lecture in the World Forum Theatre of the WFC, on the occasion of the Commemoration at the Indisch Monument in The Hague on 15 August 2009.

We have friends at the JIN: the Japanese Indische Netherlanders. Descendants of Japanese and Dutch, and of Japanese and Indonesians. For them, this is just as problematic as it is for descendants of the German Nazis and/or NSB. Jacques and I visit the Dutch / Japanese / Conference dialogue every year as well. As a consequence, we meet descendants of our former enemy. It is very clarifying. The war is as a system, in which we kill people who could have been our friends under different circumstances. I gave a lecture on one of these Conferences as well. That was on 22 September 2007. It is such a shame that due to the occupation of the Japanese, we have not been able to finish our relationship with the Dutch East Indies. If the independence of Indonesia took place during the end of 1947, no Indonesians and Dutch would have died during the First and Second Police Actions. Because the government in The Hague would not stop, a lot of blood has flowed on both sides. Both sides have committed cruel acts. It is such a shame that Bot only apologized to Indonesia and not to the ones who were obliged to fight there.