Being a Soldier in the Indonesian War 1946-1949
Indonesian Independence War through the eyes of my Dad
Like so many soldiers, my dad Synco Schram de Jong, was listed as a reserve to fight the Indonesian Independence War (IIR) between 1946 and 1949.
My dad was an artist, a painter and in his spare moments he painted the War as he saw it.
My dad had been in the Dutch Army when Hitler invaded our country and after the capitulation of the Netherlands in 1940, my dad went into underground hiding during most of the war to avoid being captured and send to the work camps in Germany.
After the liberation in 1945, he was enlisted into the Dutch army again, because the Dutch Colony Indonesia wanted to declare its independence but the Dutch Government had other ideas and didn't want to lose its colony.
Studies of different poses of Soldiers
Most drawings shown here are now in the Dutch Army Museum
I only have my dad's Indonesian War drawings on photo.
Most of the drawings shown here were given to the Dutch Army Museum after they were exhibited in the City of Hoorn (The Netherlands) in 1998.
Studies of Dutch Soldiers at WarClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies were a group of nationalised colonies formed and ruled by the Dutch East Indies Company.
They came under the Dutch Government administration around 1800 and stayed that way until in 1950 the independence of Indonasian was estableshed and acknowledged.
The name 'Indonesia' became commonly used around 1880.
Dutch Soldiers Bathing
Dutch Soldiers on Patrol in Java 1946-1949Click thumbnail to view full-size
The WW II Japanese Occupation of Indonesia
While under the occupation of Germany, the Dutch themselves had little means and resources to defend their Indonesian colony against the Japanese invasion and so the Japanese occupied Indonesia from 1942 till the end of War in 1945. Despite the gruelties of war (on both sides) this occupation by the Japanese army has had the most impact on the growing resistance of the Indonesian people against the colonisation by the Dutch Government. The Japanese (unlike the Dutch) gave the Indonasian people facilities for politicisation down to the village level.
That way the conditions were created for the Indonesian people to claim their independence at the end of World War II in 1945. However the Dutch weren't planning on giving up their colony that easy and tried to reclaim their colony, which resulted in the Dutch - Indonesian War from 1946 and ended with the acknowledgement of Indonesian's Independence in 1949.
Passing Time in between War Action in Java 1946-1949Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dad's illustrations for the book Oost-Java
Memorial Book 4th Infantery Brigade Oost-Java
In 1950 the Memorial Book of the 4th Infantery Brigade was published. My dad belonged to the 4th Bataljon Garde Regiment Grenadiers (4 GRG), wearing their uniform when he married my mom in 1939.
In this book the whole story of the 4th Infantery Brigade is told and it contains the pictures of all the soldiers who died in action. The book contains a lot of my dad's drawings he had made during this war.
The Army Museum: 4th Infantery Brigade or 4th Bataljon Garde Regiment Grenadiers (4 GRG) (it's in Dutch, but maybe you can use google translation)
Dutch Soldier drinking water while on patrol
Dutch Soldiers on Patrol on the island of JavaClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Kampong in Java 1946-1949
More Patrolling on the island of Java by Dutch Soldiers 1946-1949Click thumbnail to view full-size
I've always loved the drawings and paintings of my Dad
My Dad and me were two of a kind
From a young age I've always loved my Dad's drawings and I often sneaked into his studio at home to pull them out of the chest they were kept in. I didn't know what war was when I was young. I was born in December 1944, my dad left for three years when I was 1,5 years old, I only knew him by his picture on the side table in our home and my mom told me that I always wanted to give my dad a candy, but as a photo can't eat sweets, I would put it in my own mouth.
In the photo is dad, just before he left in 1946, with me on his lap and one of my sisters. I don't know who the little boy is, probably a playmate from our neighbourhood.
© 2014 Titia Geertman