Stories

We are using historical diaries to make Indo History Come Alive. The Indo Project encourages Indo families to share their own personal stories online for future generations.
Do you have a story to tell? Submit it on our special page:
Letter by Autie Titia Bouma

Letter by Auntie Titia

This is a letter by Titia Bouma, my great auntie, to Jetze Bouma, her brother born in 1902 in Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia). She wrote this letter at a Red Cross refugee camp in Singapore. Jetze in turn sent this letter from Singapore to Tanjung Priok to Jan Sluijter who…

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From Malang to Gothenburg

By: Oscar Micola Von Furstenrecht, Born 1929-December-03 in Malang, Indonesia (Java) At a very young age, growing up in Malang, I was admitted into a military hospital with Bacilary Tifus. After a difficult time, I slipped into a coma. I received the last rites after the doctors said they couldn’t…

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Memories of Camp Barongan

by Han Mouthaan FOREWORD For clarification purposes: The Dutch civilians of the former Dutch East Indies endured two types of camps during AND after WWII. The first type were the WWII Japanese concentration camps, 1942-1945. The second type of camps were internment camps during the Bersiap period 1945-1947, a tumultuous…

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R. W. MOORREES FAMILY FIRST YEARS IN THE U.S.

By Leroy Moorrees In July 1962, my parents, two brothers and I, left Vught / ‘s-hertogenbosch, the Netherlands for America. I remember very little from the ship, the Groote Beer that took us from Rotterdam to New York, just getting sick once on board, and the food wasn’t great. Once…

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A LITTLE GIRL NAMED CONNIE

By: Priscilla Kluge McMullen. Grave # BB12. Ereveld Kembang Kuning,Surabaja, Indonesia. June 21 has always been a difficult day for the Kluge family, a supposedly joyful day announcing the start of the Summer, that somehow was often overshadowed by a touch of sadness in our family. This grave belongs to Constance…

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America’s Gift

By Charlotte Van Steenbergen ©2003 Oh, America, when I first came and saw your beauty entering the harbor in New York. Shivers of excitement and anticipation went through me, upon seeing a Lady beckoning us holding high her torch— The Statue of Liberty. Oh, a symbol so powerful speaking of,…

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Prisoner Number 124

By Suzanne Murphy. Mukden, Manchuria: Japanese Prisoner of War number 124 was interned in the infamous slave labor camp for a total of forty-four death defying months. This teen-aged, American U. S. Army, soldier’s name was Sigfreid “Siggy” Schreiner, a first generation Austrian-American who hailed from New Britain, Connecticut. He innocently…

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Brave Young Heart

By: Charlotte Van Steenbergen ©2007   A chance meeting with a young boy and his bravery in the concentration camp. Witnessed on a daily basis for some three plus years impacted many of us enduring extreme hardship systematic starvation and daily punishments inflicted by the guards for all kinds of…

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Dido: Model, Mother, Resistance Fighter

By Susannah Palk First Published in The Underground The Hague, Edition#4 May/June 2015 Smiling seductively as she winks playfully at the camera, the fresh-faced image of Dido Van Soest betrays little of the audacious woman underneath – the young, charismatic model turned resistance fighter, whose life would ultimately end in…

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Here Are My Memories: The Memoir of Rudolf Van de Graaff

By Sierra Jacob A special thanks to my cousin, Rachael Woodie; your detailed note-taking made this article possible. Preface: Beneath the large presence of the Washington Monument, groups of summer campers, young families, and old couples mirror the hurried fountains at the center of the World War ll Memorial in…

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An Indo ‘Doddy’ in Real Life and in Fiction.

Author: Kathryn Pentecost © 2013               The following is a story about my great-aunt Doddy. Was she named after Louis Couperus’s Doddy in his famous novel, De Stille Kracht (The Hidden Force), I ask myself? If not, then there are still many parallels about her and the novel’s character, who…

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Imagined Communities in Cyberspace*.

By Kathryn Pentecost ©2013  ‘Communities can be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined’. (Benedict Anderson, 1991:6) On 17 August 1945, after over three hundred years of Dutch colonial rule, (and several years of the British interregnum 1811-1816), Indonesia was proclaimed ‘merdeka’ (independent)…

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Too Late to Ask Is Worse Than Afraid to Ask.

By Inez Hollander – June 3, 2013. My mother strongly advised against it. Everyone in my family knew that her cousin, Harry, had seen horrors during the war in the Dutch East Indies that neither he nor his mother, ever talked about it in private or public. As a family,…

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FROM STOWAWAY TO NAVAL CADET.

By Walter Ben von Stockhausen, April 2013 In the period of 1957-1958, a major migration of Dutch Indonesians from Indonesia to the Netherlands took place.  The major cause for this was the worsening political climate for the Dutch and Dutch Indonesians living in Indonesia primarily orchestrated by the first president…

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INDIES MEMOIRES WRITTEN FROM THE EMERALD ISLE.

By Louise Rouwhof-Krancher. Jan 12, 2013. I was encouraged by my brother Jan A. Krancher who lives in the US, to commit some of my Indies memoires to paper. He is an author in his own right and has compiled and edited 24 stories in 1996 in a book on…

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A Moment.

By Maja S. Mortensen Nanning Life Changing Moments in America Keeshonden (The national dog of the Netherlands) are part of our family. A  Korean veterinarian who completed his internship in the Netherlands opened a practice in town. His experience and medical knowledge made us loyal clients. During the 14-year span…

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Sumatra Railway.

By Jan Krancher Book:  Ambushed under the Southern Cross Author:  Capt. George W. Duffy Highly decorated Capt. George W. Duffy has authored the book “Ambushed under the Southern Cross . . . The Making of an American Merchant Marine Officer and His Ensuing Saga of Courage and Survival”.  Among several…

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Pearl Harbor Remembered.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert USS Wichita (CA-45)  Ship’s Chief Petty Officers listen to the radio broadcast of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to the Congress requesting a declaration of War against the Axis powers, circa 8 December 1941.  Note phograph of President Roosevelt on the bulkhead. The Good and the Bad…

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The Camps.

By Jan Krancher, California, USA Overview of the Japanese Imprisonment Experience   The Japanese High Command on Java attempted to coerce the Indo-European members of the former Royal Netherlands-Indies Army, Navy and Air Force to enlist in the Japanese army.  A goodly number of Indos who refused were summarily executed…

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The Last Nyonya.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert, Washington, USA An article appeared in the magazine NOW! Bali August 2010 about a Dutch lady who has lived in Indonesia her entire life.  They were kind enough to let me share their findings with you readers. Milly On the outside she looks Dutch but on the…

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Doc Hekking.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert, USA Heroes are lost in the annals of history.   Doc Hekking and the incredible bond with his fellow POW’s  is an inspirational story that awaits rediscovery in the Indo community and beyond. The boys from America   Overshadowed by America’s presence in the Phillipines and Japan,…

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Wartime Humanity.

By Joyce Kater, New Mexico, USA LITTLE MOMENTS OF HUMANITY AT WARTIME   Although this incident happened a lifetime ago in the Second World War in South East Asia, it still lingers in my memory.  It took place in the months before our family was torn apart and put in different…

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Who Remembers Us.

By Helen Buiskool, North Carolina, USA I’m so excited to now be able to learn more about my heritage, thanks to The Indo project. It is long overdue for many of us of my generation who have hungered for more information now that our parents have either passed on or…

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Poezie.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert and Carol Norwood, USA Do you remember your “Poezie Album” ? This is an autograph book which belongs to Carol’s mother.  It was a tradition to have family members, classmates, neighbors write something in it such as  well wishes.  This particular book contains autographs from her classmates…

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Jungle Railroad.

By Frans Krajenbrink, California, USA (My grandpa is the smallest guy and it seems he is pointing at something with his right hand.) When my mom was a little girl in the early 1900’s she lived in Palembang on the island of  Sumatra.  This island was still quite wild compared…

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Oom Piet.

By Robert Vanderwaall, nephew Name:  Pieter Hendrik van der Waall Born:  July 3, 1921 Dutch East Indies Died:  July 5, 1993 Zoetermeer, Netherlands POW:  Thai-Burma Railway     Pieter Hendrik van der Waall July 3, 1921 to July 5, 1993.  He was the brother of my father Charles.  During the…

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Twist to Ship Journey.

By Johannes Adriaansen, Oregon, USA The Decision I was ten years old sitting at the dinner table when Dad came “outa the blue”and brought up the idea of going to “Amerika” and asked us for a vote!   Unanimously we voted for Amerika !! The next thing I remember we…

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Escape.

By Tamara Fielding, New York, USA ADEK CAMP – BATAVIA (Jakarta) – August 1945   My mother was clairvoyant.  She always seemed to know things before they happened and had telling dreams.  News had penetrated Adek Camp that the Japanese had lost the war and freedom was near.  A rumor…

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Python Tree.

By Robert Vanderwaall, Texas, USA It was 1930, my mother, Godefreda Gertruda van Grafhorst was 6 years old and lived, at the time, in Surabaya, Dutch East Indies, known today as Indonesia. her mother’s maiden name was Godefreda Theodora,Jacoba Bokelman and her father was Johannes Cornelius van Grafhorst.  My mom…

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Winds of Change.

By Maartien Van Genderen, Washington, USA Winds of change were unmistakably headed for my homeland, the island nation of the former Dutch East Indies.  They came foreshadowed by foreboding events.  The Netherlands, our fatherland, fell victim to the unbridled war of the expansion of Hitler’s Third Reich in May 1940.…

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The Tiger.

By Robert Vanderwaall, Texas, USA This is just one of many stories my father told me of his childhood, growing up in the Dutch East Indies. He and his brother, my uncle “Om” Piet, were trying to make some money since they were recently put out on the street by…

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Switching Sides.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert After WWII ended in 1945 there was a power vacuum in the Dutch East Indies as the former Japanese captors were disarmed and the Indonesian revolutionists picked up momentum.   Because of the lack of manpower in the Dutch military the Allied Forces sent British-Indian troops to…

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Hiding 1942.

By Frans Krajenbrink There was a lot of confusion in our neighborhood about what we were supposed to do. My grandpa went throughout the neighborhood to ask if people wanted to evacuate. Two families agreed to go; our next door neighbor Mr. and Mrs. Schwab and their daughter Ilse, and…

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An Indo Immigration Story.

By Ray and Ludy van Broekhuizen The van Broekhuizen family arrived in the cold “kikkerland”, the Netherlands, in November 1957 from warm and tropical Jakarta, Indonesia. At that time, the family consisted of dad, Charles Louis van Broekhuizen, mom, Nancy Cornelia Tency (van Slooten) and five children (Roy, Ray, Ruby,…

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Hand of God.

By Nicole Maureen Vanderwaall In the living room of a small American ranch-style house in suburban Phoenix, a little girl sat at her Grandma’s feet, munching on a cookie.  She tilted her head back, looking imploringly up at the sweet, elderly woman who told such wonderful stories.  “Grandma, tell me…

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Kamp Westerbork.

By Patricia Tiber, Arizona, USA In September I took my annual trek to the Netherlands and decided to spend some time in Drenthe, a province I had never visited before.  My request for exploring the ancient “Hunebedden,” (burial mounds-50 centuries’old megaliths);  the old Saxon village of Orvelte with its straw-roofed…

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Rasid Family 50th Anniversary.

By Zita Rasid, Massachusetts, USA On September 26, 2010, the Rasid family celebrated their 50th year in America at the Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, USA. Our parents have passed on but we could not let this milestone go unnoticed.  We wanted to thank so many people who…

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The Planes.

By Frans Krajenbrink, California, USA On May 10, 1940 Germany without warning invaded Holland The Dutch Army was no match for the German Army – the war lasted five days. Queen Wilhelmina and the Royal family escaped to Great Britain. On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japan made a…

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Dutch Marines to East Indies Train at Camp Lejeune.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert, Washington, USA This story is a hidden gem in the history of Dutch-American military relations surrounding WWII.  I had the good fortune of finding this organization and talking with Mr. James E. Stewart Jr.  who has graciously agreed to share this photo and background information. Mr. James…

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Why Go to the Tropics in the 1920’s.

  by Tim OCallaghan, Chicago, Illinois, USA Even though the East Indies had been dominated by the Dutch, for its access to spices, since 1602. It wasnt until 1796 when the VOC filed for bankruptcy that the Dutch administration took over and the Dutch East Indies bacame a colony of…

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Song: May of 1961.

by Robert Vanderwaall of Massachusetts, USA “May of 1961” It was May of 1961 We arrived by boat from Amsterdam. A voyage that my mind refuse to leave behind. The voyage that changed the course of all our lives. The Statue of Liberty is coming near. From the porthole below…

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Selamat Jalan: A Family Story 1933-1949.

Excerpt by Kathryn Pentecost (van der Poel family) of Adelaide, South Australia On my mother’s side, I come from an enormous family of van der Poels – some of whom migrated to the Netherlands Indies in the early 1800s. The van der Poel clan dates back before 1600; some members of…

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Tim’s History – Heritage Tour Coordinator.

by Tim O’Callaghan of Chicago, Illinois USA My name is Tim O’Callaghan and I am the youngest son of Maria Gerichhausen who left the Netherlands at age 11 months with her family to begin a new life in the Dutch East Indies.  They lived initially in Bandung and then Batavia for a…

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The Band.

As told by Robin Kalhorn, Texas, USA Date: Circa 1938.  Place: Java (most likely Surabaya, perhaps Malang).  Event:  John Kiliaan and His Band promotional appearance at a Studebaker dealership.  Band leader Kiliaan is the man with the saxophone, resting his foot on the base drum. Editor’s Note:  Robin Kalhorn has…

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Young Family.

As told by Carol Ann Von Kristeinberg, Mallorca, Spain This photo was taken in Djakarta at the Jl. Gunung Sahari, our home, around 1951. I was 3 years old and my sister was 4. I was born in Djatinegara, my sister in Djakarta, my mother in Makassar and my Dad…

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The Van Gils.

As told by Friedje van Gils of New Mexico, USA In the late 1950’s the Van Gils family arrived in the USA starting off in Akron, Ohio and eventually spreading out all over the country.  They arrived with a group of friends and family.   There was a “Dutch Club…

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Beach and Wedding Photo.

As told by Carol Norwood of Pennsylvania, USA The photo from the home page slideshow is of Carol Norwood’s mother named Cita at the age of 2 in January of 1930.  They were walking with their baboe (nanny) with mother and baby. Carol’s German grandfather worked for a Dutch company…

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Genealogy.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert, Washington, USA Several years ago I received a big envelope with old family photos from a tante (aunt) in Holland.  She had been researching our family geneology and heard that I was interested.  I never knew this tante until we met in 2005.   All the children…

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The Indo Way.

          When I was growing up in Canada, I always had the impression that I was not quite the same as everyone else.  For the most part I grew up in small farming communities in Southern Ontario, so things that were out of the ordinary were…

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From Canada.

I guess the best way to start would be an introduction. My name is Jack Profijt and I live in Ontario, Canada, and there is no Dutch-Indonesian Community here to speak of.  I live in a small city in Southern Ontario, which has a very good reputation for making wine and…

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From The Outside.

Between the ages of 9 to 13,  my father used to take me to Delta Park in Portland, Oregon (USA) to watch soccer games. There were three soccer fields.  One of the teams I remember was called “Hollandia” and the players wore orange shirts.  I remember all these men had black…

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