Why do we stand for our right to claim unpaid wages?

I am standing here on behalf of my uncle Loet Hoogvelt and my aunt Loes Flohr- who,
at 90 years of age, is not avoiding the courts to contest the Backpay settlement- I am
standing here on behalf of my uncle George Huffenreuter and my aunt Tineke Flohr.
She, who at 96 years if age, is also looking to the courts to contest the Backpay
settlement. I am also standing here on behalf of my father, Chris Flohr, the brother of
my aunt Loes. Just like many other KNIL soldiers he was made a prisoner of war and
he was kept in camps, amongst others Fukuoka 9, for 3% years where he had to work
in cole mines and suffered systematical abuse. During that time both my uncles and
my father have never been paid for their efforts and suffering as a prisoner of war!!
These men have since passed away: my father in 1933, my uncle Loet in 2311 and my
uncle George in 2004.

As their entitled relatives we will continue to knock on the door. The doors of the courts
and the doors of our politicians and government.

After more than 70 years, it is time for rehabilitation for them, their family
and relatives.

This is the issue in the Backpay affair. It is not about recognition and
compensation, it concerns payment of an ‘ordinary’ debt of the Dutch
government to those who earned it. Backpay means to pay back.

Even though queen Wilhelmina, in name of the kingdom of the Netherlands, was the
first to declare war to Japan on 8 december 1941 (even before the United States), the
Netherlands are the only allied country to neglect paying any remaining wages- All
other allied countries have paid all due wages.

The Backpay arrangement from 2015 falls short because it excludes those
people who were entitled to the back payments but were no longer alive on the
fifteenth of augustus 2015. This means the settlement discriminates.
In various rulings of the courts on this issue it is claimed that in fact justice
should be sought in Indonesia.
Nonsense. The KNIL soldiers have fought for and in the kingdom of the
Netherlands.

 How can it be that navy personnel of the Royal Dutch Navy have received their
wages but their comrades of the “Gouvernementsmarine” have not?
 How can it be that the professional Dutch officers who were taken prisoner of
war in Germany have been fully paid?
 How can it be that KNIL officers who were taken prisoner of war did receive their
wages?

What do you mean discrimination? What do you mean unfair
treatment?
In the mid-sixties Indonesia paid a claim of 600 million guilders to the
Netherlands. This money flowed into the Dutch treasury. The KNIL soldiers were
left out in the cold. They received nothing. The Backpay issue was swept under
the rug.

It is remarkable that the courts keep referring to the government and the governments
keep referring to judicial rulings.
This going back and forth both goes against and at the expense of the rule of
law and at the expense of all entitled parties and surviving relatives.
This means it is up to our politicians to make a move. Wake up politicians! This
tragedy can be solved. This is your task. Take your responsibility.
My aunt Loes will appeal the rejection of her complaint concerning the Backpay
settlement in three weeks time. Will another game of ping pong ensue?
If we can not find justice in the Netherlands we will have to look outside our borders: to
the European Court of Human Rights.-

We will go on. For my aunt Loes, my uncle Loet, my father and for all those entitled
and their surviving relatives.

Injustice does not expire!

This gives us the right to claim unpaid wages.

 

A transcription of a speech on backpay issues given in Amsterdam by Peter Flohr, translated by: Loon op Zand Lian Verburg The Netherlands Wassenaar

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