Dutch soldier to be registered in Nagasaki as A-bomb victim

[by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer]

Shigeaki Mori, 81, an A-bomb survivor and resident of Nishi Ward who has long investigated the fates of the American A-bombed soldiers and sought to console their spirits, recently found family members of a Dutch prisoner of war who was killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. His family has requested that his name be registered at the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims (located in the city of Nagasaki).

The soldier, Maximiliaan Bernardus Joseph, was taken prisoner by the Japanese military in Java, Indonesia, and subsequently brought to Nagasaki. He experienced the atomic bombing there and died 13 days later at the age of 22.

Concerning the A-bomb attack on Nagasaki, Mr. Mori has already arranged for the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall to register the photos of three Dutch soldiers and one British soldier. Because Mr. Joseph’s family has no photos of him, only his name will be registered. Mr. Mori received the completed registration form from Mr. Joseph’s family this month, but still hopes to obtain a picture of him so this can be registered as well.

According to a report on the A-bomb damage in Nagasaki, among the Allied prisoners of war who were held at the Fukuoka POW Camp No. 14 Branch at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard, eight Dutch nationals are believed to have died as a result of the attack. However, the full picture is not yet clear. For the past 20 years or so, Mr. Mori has sought assistance from Dutch newspaper companies, Japanese people living in the Netherlands, and the POW Research Network Japan, a citizens’ group which investigates the circumstances of prisoners of war, in order to help him find family members of the deceased. Mr. Mori said, “I’d like to do all I can so that the families will be able to commemorate the deaths of their loved ones when they visit Nagasaki. The lives of those who perished in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are equally precious.”

(Originally published on September 24, 2018)