June 22, 2018

WWII victims of war in South East Asia remembered in Senate Building

The Honorary list of Fallen Soldiers.

By Anton Lutter.

Annually on the 14th of August the victims of the Second Worldwar in The Dutch East Indies and other places in South East Asia are commemorated. This event is organised a day before the national commemoration of the official end of WWII which was when Japan capitulated before the Allied forces on the 15th of august 1945.

Both the president of Parliament Mrs. Khadija Arib and the president of the Senate Mrs. Ankie Broekers-Knol laid a reef at the Indische plaquette, a bronze monument depicting the Netherlands-Indies and a part of South East Asia where many Dutchmen have been interned in forced labour camps by the Japanese Army. Circumstances later famously depicted in the movie Bridge over the River Kwai.

The president of the Senate Mrs. Ankie Broekers-Knol and the president of Parliament, Mrs. Khadija Arib.

The event – attended by many guests – started with the turning of a page of the Honorary list of Fallen Soldiers.

In her speech Mrs. Arib mentioned that she was very touched by an interview of Mrs. Anne Ruth Wertheim who in her youth was interned in Tangerang Camp (West Java). The story was about surviving in a Japanese internment camp for women and children and how Mrs. Wertheim’s mother tried to do this by inventing some kind of game whereby the children could try to “forget” their imprisonment.

Lots of these stories exist and must be made public for future generations, so they might understand the sometimes painful and difficult situations of others nowadays. She furthermore concluded that “the further we are away from WWII, the more we need those stories, to keep the memories alive”. At last Mrs. Arib cited part of the poem by a surviver of the Japanese internmentcamps Mr. Leo Vroman:

Kom vanavond met verhalen
hoe de oorlog is verdwenen,
en herhaal ze honderd malen:
alle malen zal ik wenen.


Photography by A. Lutter.

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