De Geest Overwint
The Indo Project was honored to host its first annual Commemoration and Liberation Ball on Saturday, August 12, 2023, in Buena Park, California. This important event is about our shared heritage and a tribute to generations that came before us. The event’s theme was “De Geest Overwint” which in Dutch translates to “The Spirit Overcomes.” Approximately one hundred people were in attendance.
Previously, the Nationale Herdenking 15 Augustus 1945 Comité, made up of a dedicated group of local volunteers, traditionally commemorated this day with both a special ceremony at the Los Angeles National Cemetery at our Indo Stone monument and followed by a lovely ball on the same day in order to share stories, be together and remember our shared history. At the request of the Comité, The Indo Project hosted this event for the very first time. We wanted to spend this time with all of you, our community, and all the people with roots in the former Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) who remember its liberation from the Japanese occupation.
We were thrilled and excited to see multiple generations show up at the Herdenking. Opas and Omas, children, and grandchildren. I don’t think this has ever happened at any other USA-held Herdenking. ~ TIP Treasurer Maureen de Schepper
Patricia Teunisse (TIP Secretary) welcomed the attendees along with the event coordinators, Maureen de Schepper (TIP Treasurer) and Jeff Keasberry (TIP Vice Chair). Both the US and Netherlands flags were presented by Hans Doppert and John Teunisse, respectively. John von Bargen led the singing of the US and the Netherlands’ national anthems. Afterward, the event participated with one minute of silence to honor those who lost their lives during the horrific times in the former Dutch East Indies during WW2. “We were honored that long-time flag bearer, Hans Doppert, made mention that he was so appreciative that we are continuing this Herdenking as he thought it was not going to be recreated in Socal again.” TIP Treasurer Maureen de Schepper.
It was so heartwarming to see members of our community come together for the Socal Herdenking. ~ TIP board member Jamie Stern
Food, often a centerpiece of communal gatherings, played a pivotal role in the commemoration event. The food was provided by Caterer Nataly from the Indo Ranch OC; not only was a noodle and rice dinner options available but also delicacies like kroketten, risoles, lemper and pasteitjes as well as cendol, an Indonesian iced desert drink. After dinner, the dance floor came alive. Participants of all ages gathered to celebrate life through movement as DJ Peter Kunstt spun Indo rock and other dancing music much to the joy of the crowd. The music spanned generations, from nostalgic melodies that harkened back to our shared past to crowd favorites. Delicious chocolate and vanilla cakes were served while line dancing continued.
As attendees indulged in the culinary delights, conversations flowed freely, bridging the gap between generations and forging new connections. The act of sharing a meal became a symbol of unity and a reminder of the shared experiences that bind us all.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Amidst the joyous celebrations, solemn moments were interspersed to acknowledge the significance of the event: to not only commemorate the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 but also to honor, posthumously, René Creutzburg, well known Southern California Indo. Creutzburg was a pillar in the Indo community.
Creutzburg was the founder and publisher of De Indo magazine. It was distributed thanks to the invaluable support of a highly dedicated group of volunteers. People all around the world would look forward to their monthly edition of De Indo. This publication was published in Dutch only and circulated for many decades. He also was a driving force of De Soos, a social club for our recently transplanted community, in the 50s, 60s, and 70s in Southern California.
In 2013, The Indo Project recorded an interview conducted by Priscilla Kluge McMullen (TIP Co-Founder and Chair) and Jeff Keasberry. The Indo Project intended to show this documentary earlier. Unfortunately, the world experienced the COVID-19 pandemic and Creutzburg passed. The interview included Creutzburg’s account of the WWII difficulties in occupied Surabaya and later during the Bersiap period immediately following the liberation on 15 August 1945. He also discussed lighter topics like how his marriage to his wife Ruth was arranged before he left Indonesia for the Netherlands. In the interview, Creutzburg challenged Indos to be united, which also is a central part of The Indo Project’s mission.
René’s message of unity in these divisive times was so touching. TIP was honored to be able to present its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award to his gracious and loving family. ~ TIP Secretary Patricia Teunisse
It’s reassuring to observe that the younger generation, including grandchildren and teenagers, watched the entire 30-minute documentary attentively, without any distractions. ~ TIP Vice Chair Jeff Keasberry
Following the screening, Creutzburg’s daughter Marguerite Womack (nicknamed Donnee) captivated the audience as she accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously on behalf of the Creutzburg family. She recounted her father’s remarkable accomplishments and enduring legacy. In addition to Donnee and her son Sean were René’s children, Franz and his wife Traci, Ruby, Michelle Henson, and his grandchildren, Kalikiano Samuel Kealoha, and Keoni Sonny. They were all in attendance for this special remembrance of their father and Opa.
Raffle and Sponsors
Five baskets were raffled out which included many Dutch Indo items. The Indo Project thanks its donors and sponsors. They specifically thank the following sponsors:
- Rachel Keeney-van Lommel – Westward Whiskey
- Nieneke Hardenbol of Nieneke’s Nuts ‘n Nibbles
- Theo Engelbert – wine bottle donations
The Indo Project would like to thank the following people
The Indo Project would like to thank the following event sponsors:
Silver Sponsorship by the van Delden Family (Jim & Karen)
They wish the best to René’s family and say ‘smakelijk eten’ to all the attendees. They would like to acknowledge their parents:
- Royal & Dorothy Lohry
- Emiel & Hermien van Delden
- Omas Bell Lohry & Moes van Bronckhorst
Gold Sponsorship by the Teunisse Family
The Teunisse family wanted to honor Jan Willem Teunisse, Sergeant Majoor of KNIL. They wanted to honor their opa who died to protect their liberty.
As participants left the event, wearing their Indo Pride buttons proudly, with their hearts full and spirits lifted, they carried with them the understanding that these moments of celebration and reflection are what bind us as a community, shaping our identities and inspiring us to create a meaningful legacy for generations to come. The Indo Project plans to sponsor this event annually and hopes that you will attend and perhaps even volunteer to help organize it. Stay tuned for more details as next year’s event comes closer.
Los Angeles National Cemetery
The event tables were adorned with elegant floral arrangements: a red rose, blue delphinium, and white gladiolus representing the colors from both US and Netherlands flags along with a stalk of white tubal roses which have the same shape as the Indonesian Melati flower, symbol of the Herdenking 15 Augustus 1945. All the event attendees were invited to join TIP at the cemetery the following day for ceremonial flower-laying.
These floral centerpieces were used the next day to lay flowers at the Los Angeles National cemetery which is on Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles. At the cemetery, there is a monument to the fallen of the former Dutch East Indies which was commemorated and placed there through the hard work and perseverance of the Nationale Herdenking 15 Augustus 1945 Comité.
The next day, The Indo Project laid flowers and a wreath at the Los Angeles cemetery. The Indo Project was honored to host this event and will be looking forward to seeing you next year!
- Maureen de Schepper
- Jeff Keasberry
- Patricia Teunisse
- Monica Veerman Cluff