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Papuans in Diaspora

Sitting woman with green skirt (© PACE Objectcode BD/166/94)

Time period: 1940-2009



Project realisation:




Time frame: 1940-2009


number of interviews: 25

(beperkt openbaar)


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



In March 1942, the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) capitulated and the whole of the Dutch East Indies was occupied by Japan. Dutch New Guinea also fell into Japanese hands, although the Dutch flag continued to fly in the southern town of Merauke, with its impenetrable jungle, throughout the war.


In 1943, the American counter-offensive began along the north coast of New Guinea and the large supply and transhipment of goods and personnel had a major impact on the local population.


After the Japanese had been driven out, the ‘Papua Battalion’ was established in the phase of the restoration of Dutch rule. This was the forerunner of the later ‘Papua Volunteer Corps’, set up to involve the Papuan population in protecting the interests of Dutch New Guinea, which was eventually handed over to the Republic of Indonesia in 1962.


For this project, 25 people were interviewed. All have memories of New Guinea between 1940 and 1962. Some were born there, others worked and lived there. There are 21 Papuans, two Moluccans, one Tuuccan and one Dutch. The interviewees talk about their experiences in the Second World War, their childhood and school years, their traditions, their lives as adults and their migration history.