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Interview collection ’45 – ’49

Soldaat in Indonesië 1945-1950

Gert Oostindie


In 2012, NIMH, NIOD and KITLV made an initial call for systematic research on the Indonesian War of Independence. Funding failed to materialise at the time. KITLV then paid attention to this period through the teaching responsibility of Gert Oostindie (Leiden University). Students were commissioned to study memoirs and diaries and interns conducted research in archives, including in the Oral History collection SMGI. This work eventually led to the book Soldier in Indonesia.




To complement this book, 19 interviews were then conducted with Moluccans because although Moluccans are mentioned in this publication, Moluccan ego documents are missing. These interviews were set up systematically.
In addition to the interviews with Moluccan veterans, 9 more interviews were conducted with Dutch veterans.

This project was part of a trajectory that led to the research programme Independence, decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945 – 1950. The interviews were done with the aim of collecting additional stories to the publication Soldier in Indonesia. The main question was: What were your experiences during the years 1945 – 1949 in Indonesia? The Moluccan interviews included the question of why the interviewee joined the KNIL. Interviews with Dutch veterans included questions about experiences of violence.


Indonesia and the Netherlands were mainly discussed. Themes include Indonesian revolution, KNIL, violence, veterans.


Access: The collection is not yet accessible. In 2023, the collection will be transferred to an archive institution, possibly UB Leiden.