General Meeting Backpay

The Hague, December 10th, 2015 – By Inez Hollander Lake.

Today, on December 10th, 2015, there was a General Meeting between Secretary van Rijn and Members of the Tweede Kamer to discuss questions regarding the backpay of 1,100 remaining survivors who, as soldiers or civil servants, served in the Dutch East Indies during the war. This backpay will consist of 25,000 euros per individual. Members of the Tweede Kamer had several questions about the processing, the speed at which the payments will be made considering the advanced age of eligible recipients, access to mental health care for first-generation victims (as well as their descendants), recognition in general, and enhanced visibility and recognition of the history of the Dutch East Indies in the Netherlands school curriculum.

The Secretary emphasized that the page with regard to backpay can now be turned but that the book cannot be put away per se. For many of the victims and their families, the book will always remain open and to cater to those, he implied that while the Dutch government cannot reimburse them as well (one of the Kamer-members cited the number of 50,000 remaining survivors), they will have access to special health care as offered by Pelita; what’s more, the Dutch government is committed to making sure the recognition of the victims and their suffering should be anchored in commemorations, institutes like the Indisch Herinneringscentrum at Bronbeek, and integration of the colonial and post-colonial history of the Dutch East Indies in the Dutch school curriculum.

Payments to the victims will be handled promptly and swiftly (a term of 13 weeks was mentioned) but the Secretary admitted that this will be easier for the people whose names they have in their database. For eligible people abroad, this may take longer but they will inform all the Dutch embassies abroad, so they can accommodate those people, like our community in the US and elsewhere. In the Spring, the Secretary will report to the Tweede Kamer about progress made with regard to backpay, access to health care and recognition of the victims in terms of commemoration and education.

Both Tweede Kamer-members Mr. van Gerven and Mr. Öztürk asked whether this was the final gesture with regard to the Indische Kwestie, and asked for justice and compensation for the victims who died before they could receive backpay, and all the other victims who suffered equally but were not part of the group of soldiers and civil servants. Mr. Öztürk even argued that this was too little, too late, and said that Secretary will live on in infamy “for being the Secretary who didn’t want to compensate the other victims”. He also added that he would submit a motion “to keep the door open.” In addition, Mr. Van Veen commented that as far as education goes, he hoped that this was not just talk or “good intentions” and asked for concrete examples of integration of the history of the Dutch East Indies discourse in the school curriculum.

The Indo Project applauds the efforts of the Secretary and the Indisch Platform for what was quoted as “making the impossible possible,” and finally paying out backpay to those who have been waiting for this for so long. It is, however, a much belated and rather symbolic gesture with which the Dutch government attempts to buy itself out of a guilt question that has been hovering over the Indies community for years.

We realize that this is a potentially bottomless pit, and that money can never repay what was lost in terms of lives and assets. We agree that subsidies may actually be well-spent in safeguarding the legacy of this history of our community, but we also want to draw attention to the fact that the Secretary’s commitment to the legacy of this history is too narrowly defined in that it will be taking place in the Netherlands through such portals as schools and the Indisch Herinneringscentrum. The Secretary may not be aware of the Indo Dutch diaspora and that Indo Dutch people abroad and their families will not be able to benefit from what the Secretary has promised in terms of education and preservation of our history. We therefore hope and ask that the Secretary will earmark some funds for the building of an Indo Dutch Cultural Center in the US (much like the Indisch Herinneringscentrum in Bronbeek), so that the Indo and Indies community abroad finally has a place to call home, which this community was essentially deprived of when returning to the Netherlands after the war.

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12 Comments on “General Meeting Backpay

    • In a recent article in the Times of Israel daily was a report about a 85 yr old woman who got her Jewish citizen back, after living in Syria for about 70 years and was marred to a Syrian trough their customs.(before the 1947 Israeli war she eloped with her 1st husband to Syria).

      The point I am trying to make is the ease with what or how she was required to proof that she is Jewish.
      I am thinking about ALL those Indos that are left behind in Indonesia after the WW-II and the Indonesian independence ,THEY were put through so much scrutiny to proof that they are “NEDERLANDERS” and most could not, because all papers were lost.

      Why can the Dutch government extend some compassion to these Indos and at least help them financially .or bring them “home” if that is their wish .(surely they have some relatives still in the Netherlands that had repatriated earlier).

      I am sure that with the “back pay” there would be enough money to take care these people in elderly care housings.
      Test for citizenship may you ask?

      How about just singing the words to the Wilhelmus song and speak enough Dutch words.

      May God bless those people that are fighting for decency for these forgotten Nederlanders/Indos.
      JR.

      • I hope the Almighty may bless me, and surely my dear wife, as I am doing my utmost to “bring them, who were left behind,home”. As one might find under”Tractaat of Wassenaar”, the Protestant Churches Netherlands sued the Dutch State up to the European Court to provide ILLEGAL aliens in the Netherlands with “bed-bath-bread” money, and as The Netherlands was convicted the municipalities (to be covered by Central Government) now provide such services. For Amsterdam municipality alone, this would mean just under 350.000 euros/year. We have/had some 507 (?) “Warga Negaras” in Indonesia (living in poverty) who are being provided with 40 euros/month by HALIN (private) support group. Just under 244.000 euro’s private money for our “WN’rs”, who in some/most cases couldn’t prove they were Dutch citizens in the 1950s, while those same people were called to fight Japan after 08/12/1941 as they were “considered to be Dutch citizens”. Being brought up with, “We never leave one of us behind,” I’ll keep on bringing their case to the right people. Rob

        • I am in total agreement with Rob. Just want to mention that HALIN is not the only organization that supports the Warga Negaras. The Alan Neys Memorial fund, based in California is another organization that does this. I do not know if HALIN is subsidized by the Dutch government, but I do know that the ANMF is a private organization of Indos and sympathizers working together to just help our bangsa. I do like to mention also that The ANMF was started by Henny Neys, the widow of Alan Neys. If you are interested to become a donor, e mail me at indoam36@aol.com and I will pass this on to Henny Neys. Thank you.

    • Dear Conny, sadly, the answer is no… although what I would recommend, and I would recommend this to anyone who had a father serving in the army or civil service, to write a letter/e-mail to the Dutch government and tell them how you feel about this and what your father went through, waiting for recognition. You can use us (info@theindoproject) as addressee and we will send it on to the Dutch embassy. I am sorry I don’t have better news for you,
      Inez

  1. My father was killed in 1942 while serving. What are the requirements for eligibility?

  2. Andries, I understand your feelings and I agree that all these people have been left out in the cold, but the Dutch government has had a poor track record of reimbursing the victims or helping those who were left behind. As I did with Conny, I recommend you write a formal letter to The Hague, send it to our web address (info@theindoproject.org) and we will forward your letter to the Dutch embassy.

  3. How can I find out if my 92 year old mother, living in the US, is on the backpay list? She served as a government employee in Malang, before being interned.

  4. To all of you, either in” The Land of The Free, and the Home of the Brave”, Canada, Australia,New Zealand etc. this; This ” backpay-case” has been put on the back-burner of the NL state, at least since the early-mid 1950’s, as I found out while reading-with rising astonishment- (translated) ” In the “Commissie van Bijstand en Advies (summer 1954),the representative of the Dutch War Ministery requested NOT to mention the “backpay-matter”(i.e. non-payed salaries during,and even AFTER the war, to military and civil servants) Source: Wim Willems et al ” Het onbekende Vaderland” page 87.Note; perhaps the government try to convince still living(numbers?)of Jap POW camps to ask Japan money for “all the good work our POW did for the Empire of Japan”(as Gavan Daws wrote in his book “Prisoners of the Japanese”).

  5. With reference to my 12/26/015 posting this; Unfortunately we have to forget ANY compensation from Japan with regards to a) POW compensation(s) and b) to “comfort women”( i.e.forced prostitution).I found this in the US Library Congress Research Papers http://www.loc.gov.”Japan’s WW2 and forced labor compensation cases”.
    In a nut shell; All these efforts to get ANY money from Japan were rejected,even up to Japan’s Supreme Court in 1994-1995 (!) in ” Western Powers(court)Cases”,dealing with POW mistreatment,forced prositution.Few,if any(how could they?)knew/know the “statue of limitation” ended after 3 years(after 08/1945), while Japan did sign ” The Hague Convention of 1911″ but NEVER RATIFIED it.So……they are home free.And what about reparations paid to former Neth.Indies Govt after 08/1945 (factories,machineries,products),the amount was 11.5% x (1939) $ 48,000.000 = (1939)$ 5,520.000.Japan paid Indonesia(R.I.) $ 223,000.000, plus more than $ 176,000.000 in grant aid, plus $ 400,000 in credits.Dear folks,sorry but I don’t find any good news for you.Rob

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