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The other side of the Bersiap

Title: De andere kant van de bersiap: Een reconstructie van de interneringen in en de evacuaties uit de republikeinse kampen op Java, oktober 1945-mei 1947

Author: Mary van Delden

Publisher: Walburgpers, Zutphen, 2024

ISBN: 9789464561760


Title: De republikeinse kampen in Nederlands-Indië oktober 1945 – mei 1947: orde in de chaos?

Author: Mary van Delden

Publisher: Mary van Delden, Kockengen, 2007

ISBN: 9789081184519

For decades, the media, publications and websites have talked – without any nuance – about violent, undisciplined, brainwashed and disorganized Indonesian youth who, after the Japanese capitulation – under the name of pemoeda – roamed through Java killing and looting. In the process, tens of thousands were reportedly killed. The reconstruction of the internments in and evacuations from the so-called republican camps shows that by no means all pemoeda were violent. “The other side of the bersiap” is that pemoeda in the majority responded to Sukarno’s call for all threatened Dutch (and Ambonese and Menadonese) men and older boys to be interned in republican camps between Oct. 11 and 19, 1945, to prevent bloodshed. Women and children followed from late October to mid-December.


To produce this study, Mary van Delden interviewed more than one hundred eyewitnesses and Indonesian veterans. In 2007, Van Delden already acquired her PhD on this same subject. Her dissertation can be found online.


Also see this conversation between interviewer Michal Citroen and Van Delden about her thesis from OVT (VPRO).


Revolusi – Indonesië en het ontstaan van de moderne wereld
David Van Reybrouck

De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam 2020

The independence process on the road to revolusi. That is the period Van Reybrouck is concerned with, and of which the very last eyewitnesses are still alive. Van Reybrouck interviews a whole army of over-90s.

They bring history to life. No detail is too small, no quotation superfluous: ‘Witnesses who think they have nothing to tell are often the most interesting’, writes Van Reybrouck.


Van Reybrouck finds the most remarkable witnesses in the unlikeliest places and succeeds in getting people to talk, even about the greatest filth they have committed or suffered. He speaks to conscientious objector Piet van Staveren, as well as volunteer Goderd van Heek, Indonesian veterans, forced laborers, comfort women, very elderly Gurkhas, Japanese veterans and even Sukarno’s Japanese widow Dewi. He performs Brits, French, Japanese, Germans and Americans, for the revolusi was not only man-made, but was emphatically embedded in a larger, international event: there are more than two sides to this story.


© Beeld Nationaal Archief/Collectie SPAA

Prominent Gelderlanders


Prominent Gelderlanders

5 digitised interviews

Gelderland Heritage


Investigating whether and how the collection can be archived and made public

Interviews with striking Gelderlanders

Mien van der Meulen-Nulle
(The Hague, 17 March 1884 – Winterswijk, 8 January 1982)

Louisa Wilhelmina (Mien) van der Meulen-Nulle was a Dutch teacher of lace technology and director of the Royal Dutch Lace School in The Hague.

Nulle studied useful handicrafts at the Industrieschool voor Meisjes in The Hague. She came into contact with lace through books. She received additional lessons from Elisabeth Manhave, a former pupil of the lace school in Sluis. In 1903, she taught at the Lace School, then based in Apeldoorn. At the age of 22, she became headmistress of the lace school in 1906 when it moved to The Hague. She was given access to an attached studio. She designed the cradle cover for Princess Juliana in 1909. On the occasion of a parade in Leiden depicting the entry of Frederik Hendrik in 1629, she designed several 17th-century lace based on paintings in 1910. It earned several awards.


Louis Frequin
(Arnhem, 29 July 1914 – Berg en Dal, 13 October 1998)

Interview on 11 August 1976 (tape 1 missing – interview 28 April 1976)

Louis Hendrik Antonius (Louis) Frequin was a Dutch journalist, author and resistance fighter. Louis Frequin was married and had eight children, the oldest of whom, Willibrord Frequin, is the best known.

Louis Frequin was Roman Catholic and had worked in journalism since 1930. Former editor-in-chief of the Gelderlander and the Nieuwe Krant.


Herman Martinus Oldenhof
(Apeldoorn, 17 September 1899 – Ede, 11 April 1985)

Interviewer J.P. Gansenbrink, 21 July 1977

Oldenhof was a Dutch mayor. He was a member of the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP). Oldenhof was mayor of the municipalities of Lopik, Jaarsveld and Willige Langerak from 1929 to 1936. He then served as mayor of Kampen from 1936 to 1942 and from 1945 to 1952.

Oldenhof left for the municipality of Ede, where he was mayor until 1962. Under his administration, the municipality grew from 47,656 to 60,162 inhabitants and much was invested in new education and infrastructure. In 1962, he became deputy of the province of Gelderland. He continued to live in Ede, though. Here he died in 1985 at the age of 85 in retirement home De Klinkenberg.



Jan Taminiau
(1 April 1903 – 17 July 1993)

Interviewer G. J. Mentink, 16 October 1975

Taminiau was director of the Gelderland fruit processing company Taminiau Elst Overbetuwe (TEO)


Jan Hendrik de Groot
(Alkmaar 13 March 1901 – Zeist 1 December 1990)

Jan H. de Groot was a poet, journalist in Arnhem.

In 1948, he became editor of Het Vrije Volk in Arnhem and from 1950 until his retirement in 1966, he was press chief of the AKU in Arnhem. From 1950 to 1962, he was secretary and treasurer of the Dutch branch of the international authors’ association PEN.

STUK, a history 1977-2015

Stuk, een gechiedenis

Marleen Brock

Publisher Hannibal, 2015


In spring 2015, STUK celebrated. For 37.5 years, the Leuven arts centre has been at the artistic forefront. A book (STUK, a history 1977-2015; Hannibal Publishing House) and an exhibition (Was it now ‘t Stuc, STUC or STUK?; STUK Expozaal) underlined this contrarian anniversary. At the same time, the historical retrospection served to pause for a moment and look back, only to choose a new future as the House for Dance, Sound and Vision. Yet such a radical change of direction is by no means unique in historical perspective. Reinventing itself is in the DNA of the organisation, as a logical consequence of the constant search for artistic renewal.


In this smoothly written book, cultural historian Marleen Brock (KU Leuven) tells the story of 37.5 years of STUK – not a nicely rounded anniversary, but as contrary as the arts centre itself. Amusing anecdotes and quotes from interviews with key figures, photos, posters and documents bring the rich history to life.

Sudah, Leave it!


After interviews with 50 former camp residents, IKON director Wil van Neerven selected 17 of them for the film “Sudah, never mind!”.The Ikon broadcast its “oral history” of the Japanese internment camps in two parts in 1986. The title Sudah, never mind! was taken from the reaction of a large number of candidate interviewees: “Sudah”, spoke mainly representatives of the older generation, “just let that terrible period rest”.

Wil van Neerven paints both a complete and chronological picture of the 225 internment camps, where some 100,000 people were interned in total.

Van Neerven’s main motive for emphatically not basing the subject on historical data, but sketching it purely on the basis of personal, emotional and perhaps subjective testimonies, is, for the first time, to bring years of hidden suffering properly into the open.

Adoeh seh… The road to Amersfoort

MS Sibajak die ca. 20 maart 1951 vanuit de haven van Tanjong Priok naar Rotterdam vertrok voor de repatriëring

Arrival of stork ship ”Atlantis” (1950)
The ship “Atlantis” repatriates KNIL soldiers and their families from Indonesia to the Netherlands. On the way, babies are born, so the “Atlantis” eventually arrives in Amsterdam with 62 more passengers than originally.
Polygoon-Profilti (producer) / Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (manager)
Publication date: 10 July 1950
Licence: CC-BY-SA


YouTube – KeiTV Amersfoort


Interviewer/writer Grondhuis was himself born aboard the Atlantis in 1950, when his parents sailed from Indonesia to the Netherlands. “I have already come across four different people in my childhood in Amersfoort who were also born on the Atlantis.” In his book, Grondhuis describes the stories of 18 Indonesian families who came to Amersfoort


On the English ship the Atlantis, 63 babies were born during the voyage, receiving both Dutch and English nationality. With 959 people eventually on board, the fleeing Dutch arrived in Amsterdam at the Javakade on 10 July 1950.


The book contains eighteen different stories of families with Dutch East Indies roots.

They came to the Netherlands not only with the S.S. Atlantis, but also with the M.S. Sibajak and the S.S. Majola, among others.

Grondhuis’ parents came on the Atlantis, others came to the Netherlands on the MS Sibajak or the SS Majola, for example.

Main questions were: Do you know anything about the background of your father (mostly KNIL background) and mother? What can you tell about your ancestors? On which islands did your family live and did migration take place between the islands? Where did your parents live when they arrived in the Netherlands in the 1950s and 1960s? Do you feel Indian and do you go to Indian gatherings?

Subjects are mainly about the Netherlands, Indonesia, Java, Ambon, Saparua and Sulawesi.
Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, ancestry, migration, reception in the Netherlands, identity, Indonesian associations, KNIL, housing, discrimination, inequality within army.


The collection is managed by Jim Grondhuis. There are no concrete plans to transfer the collection to an archival institution.


The collection consists of digital audio files. To preserve the interviews permanently for the future, transfer to an e-depot is desirable.

Grondhuis, J. (2020). Adoeh seh. De weg naar Amersfoort.


Inauguratie van TNI-leiders. Beeldbank NIMH - Objectnummer 2155_800272

Publications linked to the collection:

Heshusius, C. A., Zwitzer, H. L., & Staf Chef Generale Staf/Bevelhebber Landstrijdkrachten. Sectie Krijgsgeschiedenis K.L. (1976). Verslag omtrent militair-historisch onderzoek in Indonesië over de periode 1945 – 1949 door een team van de sectie krijgsgeschiedenis K.L. In Sectie Krijgsgeschiedenis K.L. Staf Chef Generale Staf/Bevelhebber Landstrijdkrachten.


For further analysis, see: master’s thesis E.M.F.F. Miedema

“Wat weet zo’n meid in Den Haag er nou van?”


A comprehensive publication on the war with Indonesia failed to materialise. Instead, in 1977 Heshusius and Zwitzer published the retrospective The Royal Dutch East Indies Army 1830-1950: a retrospective. In this book, which consists mainly of photographs with short descriptions, the authors dwell on the Java War, the Aceh War, General van Heutsz, the capture of the Dutch East Indies by Japan, and at the end the ‘police actions’ are also briefly discussed.


Het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indische leger 1830-1950 – Een terugblik

H.L. Zwitzer en C.A. Heshusius
Sdu Uitgevers, 1977

ISBN: 9789012017633





An old collection from one of the predecessor organisations (Section Krijgsgeschiedenis KL) of the NIMH.

In 1976. C.A. Heshusius and H.L. Zwitzer conducted interviews with TNI leaders in Indonesia as part of military-historical research on the period 1945-1949.


In the summer of 1976, Heshusius and Zwitzer went to Indonesia for archive work and to conduct interviews with TNI chieftains, Indonesian military historians and politicians, for the purpose of their research. A short report of this visit was published. Heshusius and Zwitzer spent over two months in Indonesia, visiting several cities on Java.


Discussions are mainly about Indonesia. Themes include Indonesian revolution, tactics and organisation of TNI and KL/KNIL.


The interviews were conducted as part of several film projects. Roy Villevoye is a visual artist and filmmaker and has been visiting West Papua since the 1990s. His focus is on the Asmat in southwest Papua. He is interested in personal stories of, and the (historical) relationships between, different groups: Dutch, Indonesians and Papuans. The interviews have been used in several films (partly together with Jan Dietvorst) including Give me soap. Give me a towel and The new dress in which missionaries speak, the film Evidence, And the Trumpet Shall Sound, Owner of the voyage and Propeller.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1945 – 2017.
They mainly discuss West Papua, Asmat, Merauke, the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include World War II, Indonesian occupation, colonial times, missionaries, plane crash.

The Transition

Interviews with people of different generations with Dutch and Indo-European backgrounds who migrated from Indonesia to the Netherlands.


Riekje Hoffman interviewed different generations of Dutch people and people with Indo-European backgrounds for the exhibition The transition. The interviews are made up of three parts. The time before departure, the journey to the Netherlands, and the arrival and stay in the Netherlands. Based on these interviews, Riekje Hoffman made collages with family photos of 15 families who migrated from Indonesia to Amersfoort. These were exhibited in 2021 as part of the exhibition IMPACT-photos that matter in the Rietveld Pavilion in Amersfoort. Visual material of 5 of these interviews is available.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1920s – 2021s.
They mainly discuss the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include Indonesian revolution, daily life.
Management: The collection is managed by Riekje Hoffman.
Access: The collection is of limited public access. If interested, contact can be made at


Notes on The Transition by Riekje Hoffman:


The Indian Silence? Me Hula!

Riboet YouTube-channel:

YOUTUBE channel

Riboet storytelling is a collective founded in 2012 that uses personal stories to connect heritage institutions and the public. The collective collects stories in a variety of ways. For instance, Riboet collects and shares Oral History in a theatrical setting in front of a live audience in the stage programme Café Riboet, but stories are also recorded via the story swing, the Storymobile, the Storybetjak and the Story Cupboard.


Riboet collaborates in this with the Indisch Remembrance Centre, the Hague Historical Museum and the Tong Tong Fair, among others. Some videos are edited, others are not. The length of the interviews varies greatly, from short street interviews of a few minutes to interviews of half an hour. All interviews are recorded with a predetermined final product in mind. The aim of the interviews and productions is to discuss current and historical themes and contribute to the connection between people and society.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1930s – present.
Mainly Indonesia, the Netherlands and New Guinea are discussed. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, correspondence, migration, arrival in the Netherlands, ties with Indonesia and the former Dutch East Indies, memories, objects, culture.


Management: The collection is managed by Riboet Verhalenkunst. In the near future, the collection will be transferred to the Indisch Remembrance Centre (IHC).
Access: The collection is currently not accessible. After transfer to the Indian Remembrance Centre, the collection can be accessed and viewed.