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Exceptional video from the Dutch Indies

NOS 75 years of liberation
With just three days left until the official surrender of Japan we also close in on the official end of this project. But first in the 52nd issue of our newsletter some unique video footage of the liberation of Indonesia, an extraordinary rise in the amount of traffic related deaths and a visit to Seyss-Inquart his bunker.
Our book is entering its finishing stages
Now all the stories for our website have been written the editors now shift their attention towards the last galleys of the book. E-mails are going back and forth on the best picture selection and finishing touches on the texts. Halfway October is the planned release date of the book in celebration of history month.
A little taste of the book
A little taste of the book
And now to continue with this week’s newsletter!
The video is not even five minutes long, nor does it have sound. Nevertheless people were excited when in 2001 it was determined the video showed the liberation of Aek Paminke lll, nine after the announcement of Japans surrender. For the first time there was moving footage of the liberation of a Japanese camp.
That the image exists at all is a miracle in itself. Filming was illegal in the camps, but one of the prisoners succeeded in hiding both a camera and a film roll from the Japanese. They had succeded in hiding more: where else would that red white and blue flag and the portrait of Wilhelmina come from?
Click on the picture to see the video
The announcement of the liberation with the picture of Wilhelmina on the bottom right
The announcement of the liberation with the picture of Wilhelmina on the bottom right
The film is shown in the exhibition Getekend in Museon. In it objects and impressive drawings from the camps are the main focus.
Now that the stories from the Indies are emerging the difficulty of the situation is becoming clear to the Dutch inhabitants. Now the battle for independence has started, it has become saver behind the fences. The Japanese guards are now busier keeping the attackers out rather than the prisoners in.
In this Bersiap period, named after the Indonesian warriors’ motto. Thousands of people lost their lives. For example in an attack on a refugee transport near Surabaya in which 150 people lost their lives. After it the battle of Surabaya was held between the independence fighters and the British troops that were to hold a status quo. It is a very bloody period of which many people in the Netherlands have no idea. Sadly, it also falls outside of our project.
Fighting in the streets of Surabaya (IWM)
Fighting in the streets of Surabaya (IWM)
The Bersiap would result in a verily large immigration to the Netherlands. However, at this point in 1945 people are still finding their way home from all over Europe. Some of them are provided with the privilege of being flown back from central Europe. But for many that is not the case. They are left wandering. A ramble through Sweden, a detour through France or just hiking through Germany. Just as Lon Verstijnen did after she escaped the death march.
In 2004 a documentary was made on this escape. Madelon (referred to as Lon in the movie) met one of the French women with who she escaped in 1945 for the first time. It is an emotional memory to share. Madelon said that she never wanted to burden her children with her war past. She died in 2017 on the age of 101.
A warm welcome and happy reunion isn’t always the result of the long journey home. It isn’t for Lotty Veffer, when it turned out that her sister and parents were killed in Sobibór. Theresia Wagner also faced a sad reality while waiting on anyone from her large family.
A group that is not waiting for repatriation is the large group of Soviet citizens that ended up in our country. They know that Stalin will show no remorse for the citizens that return after being forced into the German army or to work for the enemy.
Another group that must remain behind for now is a group of children from the west of the country. The luxurious ship that was meant to take them to England hit a mine on her way to them. Attempts to retrieve the wreck were discussed in the Dutch press for a couple of days, until a storm broke the wreck into two and it met its definite end.
Meanwhile throughout the country money and materials are collected to repair the war struck areas. As for example the Amsterdam helps Arnhem campaign. In Rotterdam a fundraising game is held for which the entrance fee is a tool. What also helps is that price-checkers intervene in auctions. Furniture is sold at a maximum price to prevent them from being sold at exorbitant prices.
Both literally and figural will the Dutch population be provided with a light when the government announced that a large ration of cigarettes will be provided.
War reports
Other messages this week:
Not on the site
Tobacco was used for quite a lot of propaganda both positive and negative in 1941. On Queensday of that year the RAF dropped cigarette packages with a ‘W’ for Wilhelmina above Dutch cities. Filled with ‘Dutch-Indies tobacco’. These soon became a collectors item. To which the NSB quickly responded by creating an almost identical package. The only difference was found when opening the package at home. The buyer would recognize the fake by the “support the NSB” marked on the inside. In an article the party bragged about it under the motto “this illusion will go up in smoke”. Their fakes raised a total of 30,000 guilders.
75 years later: WO ll and liberation news from 2020
In France the memorial center for the most widely known bloodbaths from the Second World War has been smirched. The word “martyr” on the façade has been replaced with “liar” in Oradour-sur-Glane, the French town where 642 people were killed by the SS in June 1944.
The Auschwitz Museum spoke out against a trend on the video platform TikTok, in which people dressed up as Holocaust victims, complete with a Star of David, hollow eyes and painted bruises. And even though some creators said they wanted to draw attention towards the prosecutions the museum responded by saying that those stories should only be treated with accuracy and respect.
Auschwitz Memorial
The 'victims' trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history.

But we should discuss this not to shame & attack young people whose motivation seem very diverse. It's an educational challenge.
Finnaly, the bunker Seyss-Inquart used during the war is temporarily opened for the public. The building, disquised as a simple barn, was used by the military for years after the war. Now the government is selling it, the doors open. The tours have all been booked, but Omroep West got an early look.
Next week will be the last newsletter of our project. With articles about nazi leaders like Göring and Seyss-Inquart, the first Queensday after the war and the definite surrender of Japan.
Do please share this newsletter. Remarks or feedback are happily received.
See you next week, in the meantime please follow You can also follow our Instagram-account 75 years liberation for more photos and video’s.