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Repatriated wives of Moluccan KNIL soldiers

Time period: 1945-1965



Realisation project:

Oogland Filmproducties


Timeframe: 1945-1965
Location: Indonesië, Molukken
Aantal interviews: 7


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



The interviews can be seen at:


This oral history project records the testimonies of the wives of Moluccan KNIL soldiers who came to the Netherlands between 1951 and 1953. In the interviews, the women, whose voices have barely penetrated the historiography, explain how the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies and the subsequent Indonesian struggle for independence influenced their life choices.


The interviews also reveal to what extent the women were involved in their husbands’ decision to fight the Indonesian independence movement together with the colonial ruler. The women also discuss the extent to which their husbands’ choices influenced their personal relationships, the relationships to their native country and how their attitude towards Moluccan independence was determined by it.


The Moluccan perspective in wartime

Een M23 Vickers 6,5 mm mitrailleur (Beeldbank WO2 NIOD)

Moluks Historisch Museum
Number of interviews: 48
Accessibility: restricted public

Interviews 01, 11, 16, 17, 31, 39 and 48 are freely accessible (open access) to registered EASY users. Access to the other interviews (restricted) requires permission from the depositor first.


As part of the oral history project, interviews were held with elderly Moluccans about their experiences during the Second World War and its aftermath. Not only Moluccans who currently live in The Netherlands are interviewed, but also respondents in Indonesia. They often have different experiences and a different perspective on the war years and the time after than those who came to the Netherlands around 1951. By interviewing both groups a bridge is built between the historiography of the war in the Netherlands and in the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia. Respondents from various layers of the population and from different religious backgrounds are interviewed. Some interviews are in Dutch, others in Indonesian or a Malay dialect.


Anti tank gun with caterpillar tractor in the N.E.I. army (KNIL). NI 248