Contact with the Dutch Government
We are sometimes asked: when are you going to start sueing the Dutch Government? Frankly, we can't tell you yet.
We are minutely building up our case. And, as our president tells you in his letter: that takes a lot of time and
- - The Board sent two letters to the Prime Minister.
the first letter, sent in December 2002 by the former SVJ board, had been forwarded to junior Minister Clemence
Ross of Health, Welfare and Sports VWS. The formal reaction from her Office was not at all encouraging.
The letter was forwarded to the Office's Projectgroup WorldWar II. Its manager explained all the details that we
knew already , such as: Het Gebaar being the final compensation, and a Historical Inquiry (Breed Historisch
Onderzoek) was commissioned by the minister (formerly Els Borst) which was to fill in the blanks of the historic
events in the Dutch Indies during and after the occupation. However, no financial implications should be expected.
With kind regards.
Since both aspects were an arrangement with the Indische Platform (IP) in which SVJ was not at all involved,
the new board prepared a second move.
- - Our next letter was sent in April 2003 during the long-term procedure of the formation of a new government.
The Board stipulated that SVJ recognizes Het Gebaar as a compensating gesture for the "chilly and formalistic
reception" on arrival in Holland of al the Dutch citizens from the Dutch Indies between 1946 and 1960. However,
SVJ refuses to recognize any connection between Het Gebaar and a genuine compensation and justice done for the
victims of persecution of Japan and the incarceration in concentration camps, ghettoes and jails.
Much to our surprise, it didn't take long before we received a reply from Prime Minister Balkenende that he had
forwarded our letter to the party fractions in the House of Commons. A fast reaction came from Maxime Verhagen,
faction leader of the Christian Democrats (CDA). He passed our letter to Professor Doctor Henk de Haan, who took
immediate action. He set up an appointment with the Board for a personal meeting. This became a highly satisfactory
discussion. We hope you will appreciate that we are not able to elaborate on it, just now.
Professor De Haan used to be a member of the House of CommonsÝ special Committee, monitoring the meetings
between the then Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports (Mrs. Els Borst), and Finance Minister (Mr. Gerrit Zalm), and
the Indische Platform. He was the one who raised the crucial issue whether the Netherlands was possibly withholding
"Indische" moneys. Finance Minister Zalm responded that if that were the case, measures would have to be taken.
SVJ researcher Lilian Sluijter started her own inquiries into this matter. And so far, she found some interesting items.
We will come back on this issue on a later date.
- - SVJ also made a request with the Klankgroep (Sounding Board) for Collective Projects for a Ç 150.000 subsidy
towards our own enquiries and projects. It took a long time before we received a response. The requests for special
projects have been postponed until February 2004.
For the past 18 months, SVJ "sleuths" have been working on research into all the events in South East Asia and
former Dutch Indies. A selection of the resulting data are prerequisite for a court case against the Dutch State.
Of course, we found quite a few things that were also white spots in our own joint historical knowledge. We found
very interesting data. For articles, special features and comments see our website:
If you have no internet access, ask someone who does, or use the internet gateways at your public library. If you
don't know exactly how to do it, there may be a community center or senior citizens' society in your neighborhood
fitted to show you the ropes. We guarantee it will be worth your while - you may not want to stop using the
Don't think: I am too old for all that new stuff. We have contributors of well over 80 who are whiz seniors on the
Who will help us?
Do you enjoy research work? And do you have time at hand? We could use a few true sleuths to go through War
Documentation archives and other sources. We have to work fast and we lack sufficient personpower.
Are you an enthusiastic networker? If so, please, let SVJ profit from your talents for canvassing new members.
SVJ aims to be represented at Pasar Malams, Kumpulans and other events where members of our target groups can
be found (to be specific: all people who were incarcerated by the Japanese, and their relatives.
We will found the SVJ Donor Society for those willing to substantially financially support SVJ. Gifts made to this
Society will be fully tax deductible. Should you have any experience of acquiring sponsors, please come forward!
Meanwhile, SVJ has become an Article 24 foundation.
For one of the above activities, please apply through:
by mail: P.O. Box 9103 - 1180
MC Amstelveen, Netherlands,
for the attention of Lilian Sluijter.
Make SVJ financially strong
with a second contribution