Officers and non-commissioned officers of the Aruba Militia and the Aruba Volunteer Corps

GETUIGENVERHALEN.NL

 

Realisation project:

Fundacion Amigonan Di Archivo © (2009)

 

Timeframe: 1940-1946
Location: Aruba
Number of interviews: 7

 

Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog

DANS: https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-xzm-7zv8

 

The interviews can be seen:

 

Already on 14 May 1940, the Dutch army had to surrender. The Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany and the free Netherlands Antilles were now in a state of war. The Antillean defence was poorly organised at the time. There was a handful of Dutch marines and troops of the Vrijwilliger Korps Aruba (V.K.A.), weapons and other war material were in short supply. In haste, conscription was introduced on Aruba: the Schutterij. Its primary task was to protect Aruba against enemy attacks, but it also served as a counterweight against a possible friendly foreign army that would take over the country’s defence tasks. The gunners were youngsters who had received no military training. The leadership was in the hands of Dutch marines and officers of the Royal Dutch-Indies Army (K.N.I.L.) Only later did the militia get its own officers and non-commissioned officers.

 

Not much is known about the war experiences of the Aruban military. To gain more insight into the lives of the military, interviews were conducted with officers and non-commissioned officers of the Aruba Militia at the time and with former soldiers of the Volunteer Corps Aruba (VKA). Because after the German torpedo attacks in February 1942, no major incidents took place on Aruba anymore, the continuation of the Aruban war history is dismissed by many today as unimportant. But from the perspective of the soldiers at the time, as is evident from the interviews, the threat of a new attack was experienced as very real at the time.