In one of my previous blogs I wrote about the Dutch Royal couple visiting the Japanese Emperor and his wife. The last section of that blog contained questions – eight serious questions for which I as a survivor of WW II have only one answer.

My answer is “no!”

I thought long and hard, struggling to find a different answer for even one of those questions but I was unable to.

One of my followers agreed with me and also declared “No. Japanese and Netherland Royals visiting each other’s countries is simply not enough”. Not by far!

Will it ever be enough?

Will the survivors and victims ever be able to forget or forgive what was done to them during those years under Hitler’s bullwhip and the Japanese terror in the South Pacific concentration camps?

I wrote “The Remains of War” a few years ago and received numerous reactions from women, older but still alive, who still remember and suffer the nightmares – filled with sadistic behavior and brutal punishment.

I received innumerable e-mails from their children thanking me for this book, for now they understood their parent’s withdrawal into silence as they grew up in a lonely, introverted environment.

The book I received commemorating the seventy years of World War II survivors compiles the stories of war victims and resistance fighters imprisoned in Europe, Burma-Siam, and Indonesia.

Stories of pain and death; of terror and punishment; of hunger and deceit.

Stories of courage and heroism; of cruelty and betrayal; of sacrifice and everlasting damage.

The stories are all very different, like fragments from a puzzle, yet all fit together to paint a very tragic picture – a diorama of pain, forever translucent in their quest for truth, understanding and justice.

I will return to this incredible book of raw and painful memories in future blogs. But for now I leave you with four lines that grace the cover of this unforgettable book:

Come tonight with stories

                               How the war has disappeared

                               And repeat them a hundred times

                               Each and every time I will weep.

                                                             – Leo Vroman-Vrede


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