News Articles

August 15 ceremonies draw officials and crowds

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – Most of the Netherlands commemorates the end of the Second World War on May 5 but for a significant minority, who were still then were imprisoned in squalid conditions in Japanese camps in the Dutch East Indies, there was no liberation in 1945. When the Japanese put down their arms on August 15, 1945, peace did not return for Dutch civilians and POWs. For many, the concentration camps now became safe havens, with the Japanese as ‘protectors’ while on the outside the nationalists had embarked on a chaotic, volatile and murderous independence drive, known as the Bersiap Period. In recent decades, the Dutch public has increasingly recognized the importance of observing the August 15 date. Dutch officials now fully participate in a national August 15 commemoration as well, which is usually held at a The Hague monument and at many provincial and local sites. Hundreds of people attended the The Hague ceremonies, including the Prime Minister and several members of cabinet and other officials.