Archives for October 2014

Dishonest behavior of Japan

Today Japanese generation should acknowledge the damage caused by the Japanese military

 The Empire of Japan, did not treat prisoners of war in accordance with international agreements, including provisions of the Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907), either during the second Sino-Japanese War or during the Pacific War.
Moreover, according to a directive ratified on 5 August 1937 by The Japanese emperor Hirohito, the constraints of the Hague Conventions were explicitly removed from prisoners of war from China, the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the Philippines held by the Japanese armed forces and these POWs were subject to murder, beatings, summary punishment, brutal treatment, forced labor, medical experimentation, starvation rations and poor medical treatment. The most notorious use of forced labor was in the construction of the Burma–Thailand Death Railway.
According to the findings of the Tokyo Tribunal, the death rate of Western prisoners was 27.1%, seven times that of POWs under the Germans and Italians.

Japan’s capitulation, announced by their Emperor Hirohito, was the factual end of World War Two and an end of the suffering of many Indo-Dutch and Dutch of Japanese terror. During their occupation of the Dutch East Indies, the Japanese military were assigned to humiliate, starve and finally kill the Dutch, Indo-Dutch, other Europeans, Australians and Americans. The death ditches in the Japanese concentration camps had been dug, the machine guns were poised for action and the Japanese military were just waiting for the order to execute. The two atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, followed by the quick collapse of the Japanese Empire, prevented the order being given. The terrible nuclear death of many Japanese saved the lives of the incarcerated Indo-Dutch and many others in the Dutch East Indies.

The unforgettable experiences, the inhuman suffering and the deep sorrow have scarred them for life and many, who are still alive after 70 years are in badly need of help. Close family members and friends also suffer from these traumas and are indirect victims of the Japanese terror. Many also have built a new life, often also in a new country, however this cannot compensate for the memories they have of the Japanese cruel occupation and they feel strongly that the young generations of the world should know and learn what happened and what the Japanese military were capable of.

Today Japan and their responsible leaders still do not wish to honor their moral obligation by offering their well-meant apologies to all the victims and compensating them financially.
If Japan wants to be respected as a nation, it should instead follow the Germans, who set a prime example how to do this with its “Wiedergutmachung”.

Alkmaarse Politie tegen Indische Familie

Een vreemd optreden van de Alkmaarse Politie tegen Indische familie.

De heer Louis le Febre, nu in de leeftijd van 84 en wonend in Born, Nederland en tevens mijn zwager vertelde mij onlangs het volgende verhaal.
Vader Adriaan le Febre had al voor de oorlog een goede betrekking bij de spoorwegen en in 1946 werd hij in Batavia als hoofdopzichter aangesteld om orde op zaken te stellen. De hele familie bestaande uit Pa, Ma, 5 dochters en 1 zoon verhuisden van Padang, west Sumatra naar Batavia, Java.
Hij had orders gegeven om diverse loodsen schoon te maken en tijdens deze opruiming vonden een paar koelies in een hoek en onder andere rommel 3 brandkasten. Dit werd aan de heer A le Febre medegedeeld.
Hij en een collega van de afdeling financiën, de heer Alexander  bekeken deze kluizen en besloten de politie er van op de hoogte te stellen.
Kolonel F. Kroese, die in Batavia commandant is van alle militaire technische werkplaatsen in Indie met een paar manschappen, de heer Aleksander van de afdeling financiën van de Spoorwegen en Hoofdopzichter le Febre begaven zich naar de plek van de brandkasten, maar geen van de heren konden deze kasten ook openen. Echter de heer le Febre wist daar raad op, want hij kende een Indo, die jaren ervaring had met dit type kluizen.
Deze man echter wilde voor zijn werk wel betaald worden en dat werd dan ook afgesproken.
Hij slaagde inderdaad er in deze brandkasten te openen en die zaten vol met juwelen. De politie wilde toen de man die de kluizen wist te openen, zonder betaling wegsturen.
Deze Indische man nam het niet en wist de kluizen, door snel ingrijpen, weer in het slot te krijgen en dat tot ergernis van de commissaris van politie.
De Indo werd opgedragen deze zware kasten weer te openen, en na lang onderhandelen, waarbij er eerst 1500 gulden op tafel moest komen, heeft de man weer de brandkasten geopend. De commissaris vertelde dat hij een sterk vermoeden had dat dit de juwelen waren die de Jappen van hun gevangenen hadden gestolen.
Een poos later lekte het uit dat zowel de politie commissaris Croese en de heer Alexander zich een deel van de juwelen hadden toegeëigend. Beide heren werden hiervoor gestraft en eindigden in de gevangenis. Een paar jaar later is de heer Croese van ellende in de gevangenis ook overleden.

De heer Adriaan le Febre had voor de oorlog toezegging gekregen om met verlof naar Nederland te mogen. Door het uitbreken van de oorlog ging dit niet door.
Intussen werd het leven na 1947 steeds moeilijker en gevaarlijker door de opstandige permoeda’s die overal Indischen en Nederlanders zochten en vermoorden. Daarbij was hun zoon Louis op dat moment 18 jaar en liep de kans opgeroepen te worden om in het KNIL te komen dienen. De familie le Febre, bestaande uit vader, moeder, 5 meisjes en een jongen, besloten van hun verlofregeling gebruik te maken en Batavia achter te laten. In oktober 1948 vertrokken ze per boot naar Nederland. In Alkmaar wachtte voor hun al een huis en in Rotterdam werd de reis per trein naar Alkmaar voortgezet. De volgende dag werd er aan de deur gebeld en de plaatselijke politie stond voor de deur.
Of meneer Adriaan le Febre en zoon Louis maar mee wilden komen, want de plaatselijke Commissaris van Politie wilde met hun praten.
Op het bureau werden ze beiden welkom gegeten en tevens werd hen medegedeeld, dat ze letterlijk niets van wat ze in Nederlands Indië hebben meegemaakt aan anderen mochten vertellen.

WAAROM ALKMAARSE POLITIE?

Direct na het einde van de tweede wereld oorlog en de capitulatie van Japan brak er een periode aan waarin alles mogelijk was, doordat elke vorm van gezag ontbrak. Gedurende deze periode werd er gesproken van de Nakamura-schat. De diefstal van 5 koffers vol juwelen, vele zilveren staven en een paar honderdduizend guldens uit een centrale pandhuis, waarbij een ieder met wat gezag er een graantje uit wilde pikken. Deze personen werden vertegenwoordigd door Japanners, Indonesische woekeraars, en Britse en Nederlandse officieren, ambtenaren en ook burgers.
Vervolgens werden alle informatie en documenten hierover zeer waarschijnlijk vernietigd en de hele toedracht in de doofpot gestopt.

WAT WEET DE ALKMAARSE POLITIE?

Sex slaves of the Japanese military

What is the ‘comfort women’ issue all about?
Article out of asahi.com

Q: What are comfort women?
A: Women who were forced to serve as sexual partners of military personnel at comfort stations created under the involvement of the Japanese military during a time of war. In the statement released by the government in August 1993 under the name of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono (the Kono statement), there was wording that said, “this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women.”

Q: What kind of people was forced to become comfort women?
A: Besides Japanese who lived in Japan proper, women from the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan, which were under Japanese colonial rule, were also made to become comfort women. In line with invasions by Japan, comfort stations were also created in China, the Philippines, Burma (present-day Myanmar), Malaysia and other areas. Local women were sent to those comfort stations. In Indonesia, which was under Dutch colonial rule at that time, Indonesian women as well as Dutch women who were living there at the time were made to become comfort women.
In 1938, the government issued a directive that said Japanese women who were to go to China to work as comfort women should be limited to “prostitutes who were 21 years or older.” This was likely because of a treaty banning the sale of women and children which prohibited human trafficking or prostitution of women under 21 or children. However, when the government ratified the treaty in 1925, it exempted its colonies from coverage under the treaty. For that reason, girls who were still minors and not prostitutes in the colonies and occupied areas also became comfort women. There are records of girls as young as 17 in the Korean Peninsula and 14 in Taiwan who became comfort women.

Q: How many comfort women were there?
A: Because there are no official records for the total number, there are only various estimates made by researchers. Ikuhiko Hata, a historian of the contemporary period, made an estimate in 1993 of between 60,000 and 90,000. In 1999, he revised that estimate to about 20,000. Yoshiaki Yoshimi, a professor of modern and contemporary Japanese history at Chuo University, made an estimate in 1995 of between 50,000 and 200,000. Recently, he has revised that figure to more than 50,000. There are people in South Korea and China who have given much higher figures.

Q: When and how were comfort stations created?
A: In 1932, the year after the Manchurian Incident, rapes of Chinese women by Japanese soldiers occurred during the Shanghai Incident. According to some records, in order to prevent a heightening of anti-Japanese sentiment, groups of comfort women were invited from Kyushu exclusively for military personnel and civilian workers for the military. Subsequently, other reasons that were given for creating comfort stations were to prevent a decline in war capability due to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as well as to prevent the leaking of military secrets and to provide comfort to military personnel.

Q: How were the comfort women gathered?
A: In many cases, agents who acted in line with the military’s intentions, recruited women first in Japan and then in the colonial areas of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan. It has also been known that there were many cases in which the women were fooled by being told, “There is good work available,” or in which they were sold off by their parents.

On the other hand, in such occupied areas as the Philippines and Indonesia, there are records of women being taken away through the direct use of violence by the Japanese military. According to a 2002 report by the Philippine government, there were cases of the Japanese military using violence to abduct and forcibly take away local women who were then kept at churches and hospitals used as barracks by the Japanese military and repeatedly gang-raped.

Q: What was the life of comfort women like?
A: On the Internet site of the Asian Women’s Fund, there is wording that says “while it was certain soldiers directly or indirectly made payments (at the comfort stations), it is unclear how that money was given to the comfort women.” It is believed that there were differences in how the women were treated depending on the location and the status of the war.
In 1993, the government also released the results of its investigation along with the Kono statement. The report said the women “were forced to lead a life without freedom since they were made to act along with the military while always being under military supervision in the front lines of combat.”

Q: How did the comfort women issue become to be known in Japan?
A: From shortly after the end of the war, accounts of their experiences given by military personnel made mention of such women. In June 1970, Kako Senda wrote in the Shukan Shincho weekly magazine about accounts given by women who said they were made to work as comfort women along with statements made by those who once had ties to the military. In 1973, he published a reportage titled “Jugun Ianfu” (Military comfort women). At that time, the women were considered as part of a secret history of the war.

Q: How did the topic become an issue of interest between Japan and South Korea?
A: In January 1990, Yun Chung-ok, a professor at Ewha Womans University, wrote a series of articles in The Hankyoreh newspaper in South Korea about the comfort women issue titled “A Report of Coverage of Footprints of Grudge of The Volunteer Corps.” The visit in May 1990 by South Korean President Roh Tae-woo to Japan served as a catalyst for an increase in calls seeking an apology and compensation from Japan by South Koreans who were made to serve in the Japanese military or work as civilians for the military on the Korean Peninsula, which was under Japanese colonial rule.
* * *
Major events related to the comfort women issue (positions of individuals at that time)
August 1991: Former comfort woman in South Korea comes forward about her past for the first time.
December 1991: Former comfort women file lawsuit against Japanese government. Government begins investigation.
January 1992: Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa apologizes in meeting with South Korean president.
July 1992: Government announces results of investigation and acknowledges involvement of government.
August 1993: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono issues a statement acknowledging the recruitment, transfer and control of women were conducted generally against their will and expressing “apologies and remorse.” (Kono statement)
August 1994: Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issues a statement expressing the intention to find “an appropriate way which enables a wide participation of people” to resolve the comfort women issue.
July 1995: The private-sector Asian Women’s Fund is established under the initiative of the government. The fund implements an “atonement project,” including the giving of “atonement money” to former comfort women, based on donations from the Japanese people.
March 2007: The fund is closed.
July 2007: The U.S. House of Representatives passes a resolution seeking an apology from Japan regarding the comfort women issue.
June 2014: The government releases results of a study into the process behind compilation of the Kono statement.

The Hague, the widow of Dutch-Indies

A TV program in The Netherlands called: Typical Dutch.

Jeroen Pauw, a typical Dutch Talk Host, brought a TV program about people, who are living in The Hague.
We all remember about The Hague when it was called “The widow of the Dutch Indies”.
Jeroen Pauw brought together 8 people who all live in The Hague, who are a good representation of the population there, a homo-sexual, a Moroccan-Dutch, a white Dutch woman and man, an Antillean-Dutch, a Muslim-Dutch woman, a Dutch person born in Turkey and a woman originally from Surinam.
These people have been selected out of a large group, who passed the special Dutch list of requirements. That means these people, living in The Hague, represent the Dutch society, according to the program leaders.
What happen to the Indo-Dutch? Do they not represent the people from The Hague? And that after 60 to 70 years being in the Netherlands? We all know that the Indo-Dutch were not welcome 60/70 years ago, and when they still arrive, they have been treated as second class “pinda poep-chinees” human beings.
Are the Indo-Dutch, who are living in The Hague today still second class people and is that the reason that they are not a good representation of The Hague?

Ach kassian, het is voorbij. Kassian, het is voorbij.
Den Haag, Den Haag, de weduwe van Indië ben jij.
Ach kassian, het is voorbij. Kassian, het is voorbij.
Den Haag, Den Haag, de weduwe van Indië ben jij. Den Haag, de weduwe van Indië

Even nowadays there are many typical cultural elements, especially among the older generation of the Indo-Dutch, both in The Netherlands as well as in America. Some typical are almost unique, because they are very different and more emphatic than elements in The Netherlands and America. The Indo culture arises due to the mixture of cultures of the former Dutch-Indies from the period before World War Two and the European.
For example the Indo hospitality to always cook too much food because they always might get unexpected guests. In house nobody wear shoes but slippers. When visiting or leaving friends or families we always shake hands with everybody. The elderly are always treated politely and often spoken with aunt and uncle, also by strangers. It is also a moral duty not to criticize others when visiting a family or friends. Cooked rice is always eaten with the spoon or with the right hand. All the food is serving on the table so that everyone is welcome to take what he/she wants. On special occasions we have our plates with food on our laps or the plate in our hand while everybody finds a place to sit throughout the house, but nobody eats their food standing.
To be able to get someone’s attention wave with your hand back and forth.
When cutting and/or peeling of e.g. fruits, always moves the knife away from you. Pointing the finger is out of the question. Because many cultures above are not known, one says that is the Indo feeling.

Between 1945 and 1965 about 380000 Dutch and Indo-Dutch were forced to leave the Dutch-Indies (after dec. 1949 called Indonesia) for the Netherlands. However the then Government were not in favor of this extensive re-emigration. In 1952 scientist Werner (the Werner Report Commission) made a report of the Indo-Dutch population, which was handed to the Minister President Dr. Drees, who found typical wordings and opinions about the Indo’s, which reminds him of the Nazi time period. He put the file in a drawer and never looks at it.
But evil was already happened: Eurasians were too Oriental to adapt to Dutch society.

Today there are approximately 1 ½ to 2 million Dutch citizens of Indies descent.

Magic Powers of some Humans

Many more mysterious occurrences have been taken place on this earth

On the other hand mysterious occurrences are completely interwoven and part of our Indo Culture.

A highly educated friend who just retired from working for more than 30 years for several Dutch embassies all over the world wrote me as a follow up of my email to him the following about mysterious powers he himself experience during the course of his carrier.

Things happen regularly in our house. My daughter, when she was little, had regular conversations with someone in a particular corner of the room. We now have a slightly larger room for her, but she rejected, because she does not want to miss her ‘spirits’. Also doors suddenly open, lights turn on and off, and the like.
And sometimes my wife will say, stop with it and give us a break. Maybe we might also be the reason, because we have certain powers at certain moments and rays off.
I’m convinced that I have it in me through my father. But we are positive and constructive, and are not driven by evil thoughts or cause anything evil to people. I support the white magic, especially if your life is more than what you see. And instead it is a loss of energy, strength and vitality when you just try to hurt other people. If I am angry at others or felt insulted by their action or their words, I let them know without hesitation.

This is not the Dutch way, because Indo’s are not Dutch and not Indonesian, but we have our own distinct culture, like all cultures. And magic is part of our Indo culture.
My son had a large collection of Balinese and Javanese masks who were talking to him. But when he was not doing well at home as well as at school, he got rid of them. My daughter was even afraid of these masks and stayed out of his room.
Then he gradually crawled out of the problems. We also gave away a beautiful African chair to a museum, because the two kids did not feel good in that neighborhood. The chair was made from a solid piece of ebony, a unique piece I have brought home from Mali.

We have lived for a couple of years in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, where we met a woman who could change herself into a doctor, who died about 150 years ago. This doctor had magical powers. In a session she invited white Dutch and Australians, Dutch-Indo’s and Indonesians. Among them where engineers from Wageningen, Netherlands, experts, consultants and business people and the whole group was a mix of men and women, Christians and Muslims.

The woman was dressed in white and sat in the room on the floor. Through a brief trance, she changed into a very old man. That was weird. I was new, so she told me to sit beside her. She told me that I was influenced by evil forces and spirits. I had to lie down and be quiet while she moved her hands over my body. At one point I felt something pulling, and again, and she pulled out of my body an egg, a whole unbroken egg. She broke the egg and inside was pins, razor blades and black hair. I was totally perplexed. Then she pulled a second egg, broke it and now I was clean. Everybody in the room had witness what happened. Then she sat down and asked all the 8 men to sit down in a row behind her and the front man just behind her had to grab her. She told us to pull. We used all the power to pull, several times, but we could not move her one inch. Finally in a separate session she performed an open surgery without anesthesia. She removed a tumor from the uterus of a woman. She just opened your body and goes in with her hands. You sit there and just look. It was an unbelievable experience without any pain for the woman and inexplicable for us all.
Then she pulled a stone out of her own body and gave it to me with certain instruction how to wear it.

About a dozen years later, while I was in Egypt, I heard that she was in bad shape because she was more involved with black magic and less with the white. At the advice of an Indonesian friend, who happens to know the woman too and noticed that I was also not feeling well, I had to get rid of the ring with the stone. This friend gave instruction to go to the river the Nile and throw it away. We were in Cairo and one evening mu son and I went to a bridge over the river and throw the ring with stone into the water.

I could tell many other experiences that had happened with dolls in deep pits, fetish, taken a bath with certain flowers, etc.. Because of the negative experiences, I am against the black magic. By applying and permitting the black magic it also can be used against you, even without a motive.
People, who have these incredible powers, should only use their capacities to help others and their power should never be used to ruin the life of any person.
But revenge is human, and people do have all kind of reasons to act that way.

We Indo’s are indeed unique. We eat stew (with sambal) and talk about magic as if we are talking about football. It is part of our culture. For example, such a conversation at the Dutch table is unthinkable.

Powers in mysterious occurences

Many more mysterious occurrences have been taken place on this earth

And as stated in ” The Indo ” October 2014 on page 12, by Louise Rouwhof – Krancher , Durus , Ireland :
“Have deeply respect anyway and do not ridicule it”
My grandfather Carolus Geenen was married to Eleonora Dumont and had 6 children.
When she died he married Helena Maitimo. Her family was also part Portuguese and part from the Molukken. Helena gave my grandfather another 4 children.
The strange situation is that the 4 children of the second marriage and/or their siblings have all experiences with the secret powers of the Insulinde.
One of the 4 children was Aunt Lucie Geenen with her spouse Uncle Andre Uyleman-Anthonijs. One day the family drove their car to Padang Panjang when he suddenly stopped and said: “Alex van Ommen just felt out of the train”, he then continued:” He got up and walk again” The next day they got a call from Alex, who indeed told them that it happened with him at the train. Their daughter, Meity Ungerer, knows that she has inherited the same powers as her father and has also the healing powers in her hands, which she got from her mother. Several Indo’s, still alive, can witness her healing hands. Her father died in 1947 in The Hague. His oldest son used his powers to go in séance and had many conversations with his dad.
Lucie Geenen her younger brother and my uncle, Theo, and his son both belong in the years 1950/1960 in the Netherlands to a group “white magic” to fight the “black magic and/or guna guna people. A fight resulting sometimes in the death of a person.
His son Rene once visited our family in The Hague and he felt right away there was something wrong in our house at Laan van Eik en Duinen. He told it my mother and asked her to invite one of a highly experience man out of his group. My mother agreed and a day later Rene came back accompanied by a small and dark man. He admitted there was something and started walking through the living room while moving his hands close to the walls. When approached a Painting hanging above the fire place, a small package felt from behind the painting. In the package were a number of little seeds, the same number of our family. This man asked my mother if something had happened in the family. My mother said “Yes, one of her daughters just left the home and nobody knows where she is”
“He said let me handle this package and nothing will happened with you all”.
At that time I was a wtk/sailor on tankers and did not keep me busy with that occurrence.
Many years later, living in California, I had a conversation with a younger sister and started talking about the guna guna that took place in our house. She then told me that her older sister had many boy-friends, but she was never faithful to one of them and had the tendency just to play a game with them.
Rene told me, somebody took revenge at her being treated as he was.
Later that sister showed up at the doorsteps. Meanwhile she got married and was living in France.

In Memory of My Mother Juliana Goutier-Niks

Mom Goutier surrounded by her 5 sons

Mom Goutier surrounded by her 5 sons

IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER – JULIANA GOUTIER-NIKS

In 1942 the Japanese invaded Indonesia. At that time, I was 6 years old. My dad was a Dutch sergeant-major (Opper-Wachtmeester), employed by the Cavalry of the Koninklijke Nederlands Indisch Leger (“KNIL”). He was taken prisoner by the Japanese. My mom (who was pregnant) and her four sons, ages 11, 9, 6 (me), and 3, went to her family home in Salatiga to live with Neneh (grandma) and my mother’s younger brother and sister. Neneh died shortly after we moved in with her. There was no income and no access to bank accounts.

Dad Goutier as Sergeant-Major

Dad Goutier as Sergeant-Major (Opper-Wachtmeester) by the KNIL

We became creative and made things we could sell. Our mother sewed clothes. Our uncle and us kids made kites, slingshots and charcoal we could sell or trade for food. We made rings from the canary nuts, brooches from the kapok beetles. And we sold the goat’s milk before we ate her.

On Nov. 3, 1942, my youngest brother was born.

The Totoks (visibly “white” Dutch people) were taken prisoner and sent to Japanese camps. But because our mother was a native of Indonesia, we stayed in our home to survive on our own. Our family survived those years of war because we had a big garden with fruit and vegetables. But we also ate all our pets; the ducks, chickens and then the goat.

On July 31, 1943, my father, at 39 years old, died in Tarso, Burma. This is where he’d been imprisoned by the Japanese and made to work on the railroad in Burma. In the official version, he died of malnutrition.

Grafsteen Pa Goutier in Thailand

 When our pets were eaten, we ate larons (termites) and slugs to stay alive.

On Sept. 2, 1945 the Japanese surrendered. Afterwards, we were threatened by the Pelopers (Indonesian Ransackers) with their bambu spears, but then the Pemudas (Indonesian youth) adopted the weapons left behind by the Japanese. They turned into terrorists with a vengeance against all that was Dutch. The Pemudas could not be controlled. When they could no longer reach the Totoks because they had either already been murdered or because they were protected, they turned their vengeance on to the Indonesian people with Dutch nationality.

We were taken out of our home and placed at Kamp Huis De Witte where we stayed for our own safety. No comfort. Not enough food. Too many people. Our oldest brother was taken away because he turned 14 and was too old to stay with us. We did not know where he had been taken.

When the Red Cross showed up we had to vacate Huis de Witte and were to be placed in Camp Banyu Biru near Ambarawa. That camp was previously a prison meant to house 140 people. There were more than 1,200 of us. We walked to that camp, our mother with four young boys. When we arrived, again, there was not enough food. No comfort.

Finally, in June of 1946, the allies came and we were transferred to Batavia. My mother still did not know where our oldest brother was and whether or not he was alive.

From Batavia, we were transferred to Bandung where we stayed with other families at a compound in a building called Blauw Gebouw (Blue Building). Our mother, while waiting to hear news of her oldest son, became ill and ended up in the hospital.

Her four sons were placed in the orphanage. In that orphanage I was abused by one of the priests. He used his fist on my bare bum so long that I was unable to sit for more than a week.

When our mother recovered, we left the orphanage and went back to the Blue Building.

My oldest brother’s camp had finally been closed in February 1947. The Red Cross helped him find us. Our family was finally reunited, and our health had been checked and rechecked. We could finally go to Holland in June 1947.

My mother was 38 and her five boys were 15, 14, 10 (me), 7 and 4.
We thought our problems were over. Little did we know what awaited us in Holland.

Initially, our family of six was placed in a Pension (a single bedroom in a boarding house) in Rotterdam. Then we were sent to another Pension in Glinstra State, Bergum, Friesland. During this time, our mother pleaded to be considered for housing. She was never given any consideration.

In the middle of winter, we were sent from Bergum to be placed in Kamp Wyldemerck, District Gaasterland, Friesland. This was a row of barracks, and there was one outhouse for all of the barracks. The only heat was a potbelly stove that my mother did not know how to start up. It was in this place where my mother got very ill with pneumonia and ended up in the hospital in Heerenveen. Us five children could not stay in Kamp Wyldemerck by ourselves and my two older brothers were directed to go to Leiden and stay with our uncle (our deceased’s father’s only brother). My two younger brothers and I were placed in a health resort “Mooi Gaasterland”. At that health resort I got sick and was diagnosed with meningitis and transported to the same hospital in Heerenveen where my mother was.

When my mother got better, they placed her in Pension Herikerberg between Goor and Markelo, Overijsel. She collected my two younger brothers and later when I came out of the hospital I joined her there. My oldest brother wanted to join us there but he was not allowed. The “Child Protection” Department had ordered him to live with his uncle. This uncle had seven children of his own. He did not do anything to help our mother. And because my mother had been sick, steps had been taken to take away her parental rights, making our uncle the guardian of all five of us children.

On February 13, 1950, a court hearing decided that we could not live with our mother. This decision was followed with men who came into our room, picked up my two younger brothers and I, and pushed us into a black car. It did not matter how hard we fought.
Our mother was left on her own. Her children had all been taken away. No one cared about her. This was a woman who had kept her family alive through the years of war, Bersiap (anarchy), and when we finally made it to safety, she was discriminated against, ignored and as a final blow, her children taken away from her. She never did “qualify” for housing and stayed with friends. She had no permanent address. Can anyone imagine what she went through? My mother wandered for the next 8 years alone.

My two younger brothers and myself were taken to Leiden where they deposited us in an orphanage called Huize Sint Maarten. Here, I was separated from my two younger brothers.

Our uncle, as appointed guardian, never once visited the orphanage. My two older brothers left his house and joined the navy as soon as they turned 18.

In 1953 I was kicked out of the orphanage and forced to live with different families, paying them for room and board. Soon after they closed the “big boys” department at the orphanage and my younger brothers were placed in foster care after they turned 12.

In 1955 I joined the Dutch Air Force. For 24 months I had no home to go to on the weekends and volunteered to take over guard duty from my fellow soldiers for a few bucks. My oldest brother applied to have my uncle removed from guardianship of his younger brothers. He was successful and guardianship was transferred to Vereniging Liefde voor Kinderbescherming, with my brother being co-guardian.

In 1958 my oldest brother got a job in The Hague with the Ministry of Defense. It was not until then that he qualified for housing and was able to rent a house in which our mother could live. I moved in with my mother after I served my compulsory military service. By that time all her children had grown up (without her) and we never did live together as a family again.

I married in 1961. In 1966 I took my family to Canada.

My mother died on June 12, 1979. She died alone. And lonely.

Ben Goutier