Special call to emigrants from the former Dutch-Indies who departed to the US under provisions of the Pastore-Walter Act (1958-1962)
In May 2013, “Opgevangen in andijvielucht,” the new book by journalist Griselda Molemans, will be published on the reception of approximately 350,000 refugees from the former Dutch East Indies in The Netherlands. Due to lack of housing, the Dutch governement had arranged for them to temporarily live in “contractpensions” (contract boarding houses) next to additional facilities such as barrack camps, monasteries and former hospitals. The book has been commissioned by the National Archives in The Hague and will be published by Balans Publishers.
Rounding off three years of research, Molemans is in search of Dutch-Indonesian and Moluccan emigrants, who emigrated to the US with outstanding governmental debts, resulting of their stay during their contract boarding house period . The collecting department was the ‘Dienst Maatschappelijke Zorg’ (Social Services Department) in The Hague.
The title of the book is ‘Welcomed with endive smell’, as the relatively cheap vegetable endive was usually served in the contract boarding houses, which were run by Dutch entrepreneurs who had signed a contract with the Dutch government to offer housing and care to refugees. A contract boarding house was run with a profit aim, so the more an owner saved on the food and energy bill, the more profit he earned.
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This is a fragment from “Opgevangen in andijvielucht”
Many Dutch-Indonesian emigrants, after departure from the Netherlands, were still targets to the Dutch government: they had remaining debts to be paid as the result of financial advances provided for their clothing and furniture, in addition to the costs for food and lodging in contract boarding houses . The execution of the second term of the Pastore-Walter Act (1960-62) was even jeopardized because Minister Klompé of the Social Services Department ordered the Dutch consuls in the various American states to keep collecting these debts.
According to a governmental accounting, covering the period 1956 to 1961, inclusive of those emigrants who emigrated under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953, there were 1.099 heads of households who had emigrated to America, with a total debt burden of 2.601.387 guilders ( $ 1,531.172,28). Of this amount, 34.572 guilders had been paid off with 54.545 guilders settled by other means. Consequently, at least 2.5 million guilders remained as a collective debt to the Dutch government. On average, the debt load per head of household was f 2.285. Although the overseas collectable debt, after protest by the American authorities, was temporary halted in October 1960, Minister Klompé nevertheless resumed the action in the fall of 1961.