Blauwe Pan 10

1317AP Almere

The Netherlands

KvK Number 59780983

Nil volentibus arduum


Nothing is impossible  for those who want to.


Niets is onmogenlijk voor hen die willen

Epilogue
 
Till so far the story of my father.
More than this he has never told me.
I have written this down when I was a young man.
Because my father never talked about his time during the war I had asked him to do so.
But further than this it has come.
What happened after the war I only know from others.
In short it boils down to this.
After the war my father never again found his wife back.
She had disappeared from the face of the earth.
After the war in the Netherlands-Indies Sukarno and Hatta started a fight for independence from the Netherlands.
My father had lost everything he had before the war.
 
He stayed in military service in the KNIL after the war until 1950.
In 1950 the KNILL was dissolved as the Dutch were to give the Netherlands-Indies back to the Indonesians.
Sukarno was to become head of the new state.
In 1950 he was transferred to Dutch colony of Netherlands New-Guinea and was encamped in a marines camp just outside the city of Hollandia.
Hollandia was at that time the capital of the former Netherlands New-Guinea.
After a year he left the army and worked in service of the governor of New-Guinea mister Waardenburg for a while.
After that he went into civil service at the PTT (Post,Telegraph & Telephone services) at Hollandia.
 
He met a new wife and married her.
She was a full-blooded Asian woman.
She also had already been married a previous time.
She also had been in an internment camp during the war and had seen her father been decapitated in front of her eyes by the Japanese.
She also knew the sufferings and the pain of the war years.
She also went from the Netherlands-Indies to the Netherlands New-Guinea to try to build up something new in a new place.
 
At the beginning of the nineteen-sixties in the previous century, infiltrations by Indonesian commandoes into New-Guinea began, because Indonesia wanted to annex New-Guinea.
Because of the fights my father took his family to Holland on a long leave of absence.
 
In Holland he received a letter that he had to stay in Holland, because New-Guinea was handed over to Indonesia.
Again he lost his home and goods.
 
In Holland he started all over again.
Like for a couple of times before in his life, he had to start all over again from the bottom and with nothing anymore.
 
What is the drift of this whole story?
It is a story like it has already happened countless times and has been told countless times.
So many people have, just like my father went trough all that, experienced comparable experiences of life.
 
And after the Second World war it has not become much better.
In almost every part of the world war has started and people are killed or ill-treated and tortured or forced to slavery.
In Korea, in Vietnam, in the Middle-East, in many African countries, in South-American countries, in Yugoslavia.
Everywhere people have been cruelly murdered and ill-treated and exploited and humiliated and trampled upon.
In many countries people have died as an effect of a war.
In many countries people have been made slaves by cruel oppressors and rulers.
 
Wars have always existed.
It are sometimes the people who did things which became motive to start a war.
It were sometimes people who were in power and found they should conquer other nations by means of force.
And why?
For what benefit?
For what reason?
Who will tell?
 
Till this day children are born who come into a world in which in many parts of the world there is war and misery.
And now it is a world, in which also again terrorism has become a part of life.
 
It is easy to read books, watch video's, gather information about all those wars and cruelties.
You can look at the pictures in a book, you can take in the images of the video's or movies.
You can follow the news on the television.
 
But it is not the same like when you go through it yourself personally.
Nobody can feel what my father felt when he fought against the Japanese.
The stench of the dead.
The heat in the bush through which he toiled.
The hunger he felt in the camps.
The dusty shafts and the heavy labour in the coalmines in Kyushu.
Day in day out having to undergo the humiliations by other people, who found that they had the right to rule and oppress him.
To decide whether he was allowed to live or die.
Whether he was allowed to eat and drink.
Whether he was allowed to live.
 
The words that he told me, were taken all together, quite a story.
But that story was only a story, to me and to the ones who will read this, it are just the sad experiences of a prisoner of war in the Second World War, long ago and far away.
 
But it is what you wish to learn from what you experience, what then turns you into somebody with something much more, than only the bad memories from a period out of your life, about which you really never want to talk about anymore.
Which you'd rather banish from your mind.
 
But that does not really work.
That is why you just do not talk about it.
Because talking about it means, that you are confronted with it again.
 
My father has never expressed a hatred towards the Japanese.
If he had it, he has never shown it.
My mother refused till the day she died in the year 2008, everything that came from Japan or what has been made by Japanese.
She would never wear a Japanese watch or sit in a Japanese car.
 
The grief of a human being is indescribable when you never can find the answer, why it had to happen to you.
Why all that has been done to you.
 
Every human being has his or her own life.
And every human being seems having to learn, ever again and again the same.
As if we never learn from what others have already experienced and have had to go through.
 
What I have learned?
That you must never give up.
That is what my father said.
Even if you fall with your face flat on the ground.
Then you still get up again.
Even if it is at first on one knee, then you but push yourself up.
And when you stand up straight again, and the burden presses heavy upon your chest, then you take a deep breath again.
Then you go on again.
Walk on.
Go further in this life.
 
On the day that you are born your death is given with you.
You can have a hundred or a thousand people around you, but dying you do by yourself.
 
My father has become over eighty years old.
On his death-bed in 1992 he asked my mother, just before he breathed his last: "Now I have everything have I? Have I?".
 
What he had?
His wife and children around him when he died.
He was not alone!
Around 1950 my father spent a year in a marines camp at Hollandia in former Netherlands New-Guinea.
After that, he left the service and worked for a period in service of the
governor Waardenburg shown on this picture. My father stands at the back
He met my mother and they got married.
This is their wedding picture.
Soon their first child was born.
He took a job at the PTT ( Post Telegraph Telephone services).
He's second from the left.
After he moved his family to the Netherlands, he started working for the same PTT company until his pension.
He is sitting behind the desk at the back.
my father at the age of eighty years old
My father after he died in 1992.
My mother after she died in 2008
The children of POW’s

Meeting in Deventer, The Netherlands. 
 
On the 25th of October 2008, four sons met at the Praamstra Bookstore in Deventer in The Netherlands in honour of the publication of the book "Eyewitness" , edited by the brothers Jan and Peter Verstraaten, about their father Ton Verstraaten  who was a prisoner of war in the Netherlands-Indies and Japan from 1942 till 1945 during World War .
Ton Verstraaten spent 3 years as a POW doing forced labour in the coalmines at Kyushu in Japan.
Our fathers were imprisoned in the same POW camp.
That was Fukuoka Camp No. 6 at Orio on the island of Kyushu in Japan.

Jan Verstraaten, Ron Lindeman, Ferry Brouwer von Gonzenbach and Peter Verstraaten

Meeting in Arnhem, The Netherlands


On Sunday 23th of October 2010 there was a meeting at the Bonbeek complex at Arnhem, The Netherlands. Bronbeek is a complex of the Dutch Department of Defense, the Dutch Military. It houses among others a military museum and a restaurant.
Present were the sons and other relatives of fathers who served in the KNIL ( Royal Netherlands Indies Army) and who were taken as POW’s to Japan to the island of Kyushu where they were forced to work in the coalmines.
Here are some pictures.
Richard Flohr, Jan Verstraaten, Peter Flohr, Johan Flohr, Barbera Flohr, Willeke,Ron Lindeman, Ferry Brouwer von Gonzenbach, JJ, Peter Verstraaten
KNIL Monument at Bronbeek , Arnhem, The Netherlands
Bronbeek 2011

April 3 2011 there was another meeting at Bronbeek with some new faces in the group.
The planning is to have annual meetings.
Bronbeek 2010, Ron sings
Ron Lindeman: Father I never thought of you a hero





I wrote this song for my father who had to do forced labour as a POW in the coalmines of Kyushu, Japan during World War II.
He never talked about and I had to drag some stories out of him many years ago.
Still many years later I met other sons whose fathers also worked the coalmines at Kyushu in the same period.
We meet on a regular basis.
The last time was on Saturday the 23-th of October 2010 at the military complex called Bronbeek at Arnhem, The Netherlands.
That is also a military museum.
This song is also dedicated to those sons and their fathers and to all other POW's from all over the world in past and recent and future times and to their wives, sons, daughters and relatives.

Father I never thought of you a hero

A brave man is a man
Who conquers his own fears
A broken man is someone
Who drowns in his own tears

I quess war was raging
In your heart and in your soul
I quess memories forgotten
Still played a prominent role

Father I never thought of you as a hero
I always thought of you a working man
You must have been so lonely
You must have been a lonely man

There is a man in a uniform
There is a man with a gun
I can see him on photograph
I can see him firing his gun

There is a soldier taken prisoner
There is a prisoner of war
I can see him in a prison camp
I can see him lying on the floor

Father I never thought of you as a hero
I never knew you were so brave
The things you cannot talk about
Are the things that lay asleep
As the soldiers you buried
In the turmoils of your soul

There is a prisoner working the coalmines
There is a soldier digging the graves
I can see him struggling to survive
He's got one foot in his grave

The day the enemy surrendered
Was the day he returned home
Finding his loved ones dead or missing
Finding he didn't have a home

These are the things you don't wanna remember
Memories you choose to forget
It are the dead you carry within you
The souls that didn't live
To experience their freedom
The joy they didn't get

From the coalmines of Kyushu
You returned to a free life
But inside of you lies hidden
The path of painful strides

It is a road that leads to darkness
Like a blanket soaked with sadness
Covering your weary mind
Covering your weary mind

Every day you lived in freedom
Was a day that you survived
I can understand your secret
Through the darkness of the night
I guess that with your last breath
You would go into the light
You would go into the light

A brave man is a man
Who conquers his own fears
A father is someone
Who dries all your tears
I guess war was still raging
In your heart and in your soul
I guess memories forgotten
Still play a prominent role

Father I never thought of you a hero
I never knew you were so brave
The things you cannot talk about
Are the things that lay asleep
As the soldiers you buried
In the turmoils of your soul

A brave man is a man
Who conquers his own fears
A brave man is a man
Who conquers his own fears


Written by Ron Lindeman October 2010
Copyright Ron Lindeman