It's not an easy job, setting up a large organization. Our former chairman and co-founder, Henk Rasch, just about
burnt out after having given so much of his time and energy to setting up the Foundation for Persecution Victims
of Japanese War Camps. Henk asked me -then acting as the secretary general - to take over the chair. We're
grateful for his still dedicating his knowledge to SVJ through consultancy.
- - Despite the help of many, it took some time to set up a complete and automated administration. Take it
from me that our administration is a huge one for a volunteer organization of little money and means to run, even
with the unceasing assistance of Gre Mosselman, who runs the administration all by herself.
- - These past twelve months have also been used to acquire members for SVJ. We hope to welcome the
5000th member soon. This makes SVJ the strongest organization promoting the specific interests of Persecution
Victims of Japanese war camps.
- - Of course we also had to give our attention to collecting historical data for our legal counsels to build up
a likely file case. Our sources are fellow victims, Dutch and foreign archives, books, publications and the internet.
- - We realize that even a moral appeal on the Dutch Government will only hold water if it is supported by
strong legal arguments.
- - Therefore, we are building our case with the utmost care and step by step, asking for your patience and
endurance as well as our own. We realize at the same time that quite a number of people, ourselves included,
don't have decades to wait for a resolution.
- - There are many organizations, large and small, servicing different groups with different aims. Although they
are all pursuing worthy and serious ideals and goals, none have been able to achieve an integral and satisfactory
settlement for post war rehabilitation of Persecution Victims of Japan from the Dutch Government.
- - The SVJ Board have, on your behalf, let the Foundation Het Gebaar (The Gesture) and the Dutch
Government know that SVJ does not recognize The Gesture as anything approaching rehabilitation and
compensation for Persecution Victims of the Japanese war camps, who have suffered years of internment,
inhumane treatment and the total loss of property and businesses.
- - You may already be aware that the reason for the Foundation of SVJ was, in the fact, that we could not
align ourselves with the motives of our Government concerning The Gesture. SVJ appreciates The Gesture for
what it is: just a compensation for the 'cool and formal reception' of all Dutch citizens returning from the Dutch
Indies on – as the Dutch saying goes - a ‘shoe and a slipper’.
- - Our first step into the court room was a joint action set up by engineer Bob Klaij (a mere 82 years of age,
ex-POW and survivor of the infamous Birma Railroad) against the Health and Sports (VWS) Minister, previously
Mrs. Els Borst. At stake are the minutes of the meetings between VWS and the Indische Platform. The aim is to
gain insight into the course of the meetings and the final agreements regarding The Gesture. The statements of
the Indische Platform (IP) and the former minister conflict. What was exactly agreed upon?
Although the case was won, the Ministry still refuses to give access to the minutes, and has appealed the
decision. What is behind this secrecy? We will have to be patient until after summer holidays.
- - The majority of our expenses will consist of the preparations for and running of the legal and political
process. I guarantee that we run SVJ at the lowest possible budget, as we do realize that SVJ's income is
generated from many small contributions, which may nonetheless be quite considerable to each individual. Still, we will not hesitate to appeal to you again. We trust you will understand that legal counsels and court proceedings in the Netherlands are costly. On our financial page our treasurer Jan Tulner gives full insight into our revenues and expenditure up to December 31, 2002, as well as our budget for the current financial year. Considering that one legal hour equals about 15 contributors, you will appreciate that we have to pass the hat round once more!
Help us reach our quota of 10.000 members! If all of you canvass at least one new member, SVJ will gain the necessary funds to proceed. Moreover, bear in mind that we can only go to court on behalf of fellow victims who have formally registered with us.
Jan de Jong
SVJ is aiming for a rightful compensation.
Help SVJ grow
Canvass new members!
This is our last chance!