His Excellency Shinzo ABE
Prime Minister of Japan
The Hague, 11 February 2020
Subject: A nation which ignores its history, is most likely to repeat it.
On January 26th his Excellency the Minister President of The Netherlands addressed, remembering the Holocaust, the Jewish community in The Netherlands. He apologized for the way Dutch authorities during World War Two ignored and even assisted the Nazi occupiers in prosecuting the Dutch Jews, Roma and Sinti. He questioned openly and emotionally: How could this happen? How could so much hate, cruelty and lawlessness exist?
The answer is dark and confronts.
After the war, when the Netherlands was freed from the German occupation, the few who returned from hell were received with ignorance. All together there was too little support, too little assistance, too little acknowledgement of the conditions. The German occupation was merciless. In The Netherlands a state of terror and fear existed. How could it happen? In saying ’no more Auschwitz’’ he means to acknowledge and to take account that what happened must not be repeated. He was very clear:
”Now that there are still survivors under us:
I offer, on behalf of the Dutch government, excuses for the way the Dutch government acted then. ”
The Dutch Minister President was courageous in his statement on behalf of the present government, he had very much in mind: “A nation which ignores its history, is most likely to repeat it.” He called to be alert so that it would not happen again.
It is 75 years ago that the Pacific War ended. It is also nearly 70 years that the San Francisco Peace treaty was signed. In that treaty Japan promised “to conform to internationally fair practices”. I hope and expect that you on behalf of your government and the Japanese people will show the same courage as the Dutch Minister President did. That you will come to terms with your war and acknowledge Japan’s responsibility to the individual Dutch victims who suffered from Japan’s military occupation of Dutch East Indies during the Pacific War.
We look forward hearing from you personally.
On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts.
J.F. van Wagtendonk