Compensation denied to Japanese camp victim
Family disappointed at Veterans Minister’s response
A MEETING with the Veterans Minister to discuss compensation for a Jewish wartime prisoner of the Japanese was branded a “waste of time” by his family this week.
Diana Elias and her daughter-in-law Joy met Derek Twigg MP on Thursday last week to push the case for Diana’s brother, John Hardoon. Despite having held a British passport all his life, he can prove only 17 years’ residency in the UK — not the 20 required for compensation.
Joy Elias told the JC: “Derek Twigg was not very helpful. We were not given answers, except to be told that if an exception was made for John, they would have to make exceptions for all.
“Derek Twigg was very cold, like he couldn’t care less. I feel it went very badly. They are not going to budge from the 20-year rule.”
Mr Hardoon, Mrs Elias and their five siblings were all imprisoned by the Japanese in Stanley Camp in Hong Kong from 1941 to 1945, owing to their British nationality. Mr Hardoon, who now lives in Ramat Gan, Israel, lived in Britain for 21 years.
However, he made National Insurance payments for only 17 years, having stopped working due to depression when his first wife died. Nor did he appear on the electoral register.
All his siblings have received their compensation, two posthumously.
The family is now investigating whether Lauderdale Road Synagogue, where Mr Hardoon re-married, has records to prove his 21-year residency.
His sister, Mrs Elias, whose own High Court case led to the 20-year rule being introduced, told the JC: “Derek Twigg didn’t give us a chance to speak properly.
“He just said everything was part of a legal procedure.
“John was here from 1954 to 1975. When he sold his house in 1976, he signed the deed from Israel, so there is no record here. It is disgusting that he doesn’t have compensation.”
A Ministry of Defence spokesman told the JC: “At the recent meeting, the minister listened carefully to the family’s concerns and suggested a number of ways in which Mr Hardoon might be able to provide evidence of [20 years’] residence, and understood that the family wished to look into these.
“We cannot comment on the detail of an individual’s claim. However, the principles of the scheme require that claimants be able to provide reasonable evidence of a close link to the UK — and having been resident here for 20 years is one of the ways in which that can be done.”
The spokesman added: “It would be inappropriate to make payments in cases where the individual has not provided reasonable evidence of meeting the scheme’s criteria.”
Diana Elias at the High Court: her victory has not helped her brother