Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, photos

Three Indonesians get killed, © Album Jacobus R.

Dead Indonesians in a ditch, two Dutch soldiers looking, © Album Jacobus R.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

First ever pictures of executions by the Dutch army in Indonesia

10/07/12, 07:35 – source: Lidy Nicolasen

For the first time in history, photos have surfaced of executions, which were most likely carried out by the Dutch army during the police actions

police actions” is a Dutch governmental euphemism for the war which Dutch armed forces waged against the Indonesian republic (independence proclaimed in 1945)

in the former Dutch East Indies. The photographs are from the private album of a soldier who served as a conscript in the Dutch East Indies.

In the pictures we see the liquidation of three Indonesians. They stand with their backs to the firing squad at the edge of a ditch when they are shot. The trench is filled with corpses of executed people, according to a second photo. On the left side are two Dutch soldiers, recognizable by their uniforms.

Never before

Experts from the war studies institute NIOD and the Dutch Institute for Military History (NIMH) say such photographs have never before been seen. “They are not everyday pictures and certainly not every Dutch soldier who went to the Indies Military brought such pictures home,” said an employee of the NIMH. The NIOD also did not know about this kind of pictures, said René Kok. “We have lots of albums here. You’re waiting for the moment that such a picture turns up and that is now. Previously I have never seen this.”

The historians which we consulted do not doubt the authenticity. The exact location nor the circumstances of the execution are known. Possibly further research will provide more details.

The author is a soldier from Enschede. He is now deceased. He was sent to Indonesia in 1947, shortly before the first police action, and he only returned in 1950, after the Netherlands had recognized Indonesian sovereignty. He served in the artillery. The official military history of his armed forces branch does not mention executions. Supposedly, the artillery only assisted the infantry and the Special Forces, who did do executions.

Well known executions were in the Javanese village Rawagede and in South Sulawesi. Last year, the families of the victims of Rawagede were awarded damages by the Dutch government. The Dutch state has yet to respond to the lawsuit filed against the extrajudicial killings in South Sulawesi. How many Indonesians died in both actions is not known.

The soldier had never publicized the existence of the photos. His albums would have remained unknown if they would not have been found recently in a dumpster in Enschede. Who had thrown them there is not known.

43 thoughts on “Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, photos

  1. Pingback: Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, photos | Bayt al-Hikmah Institute

  2. Pingback: Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, photos | Bayt al-Hikmah Institute

  3. Thank you for visiting my site.One of the worst Massacre happened in Turkey One and a half million Armenian were killed,till today Turkey denies the Massacre my grandparents were among them(4-24-1915). Wishing you success.Jalal Michael


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  5. I’m astounded by these images. I had no idea the Dutch armed forces were doing things like this in Indonesia – especially within just a couple of years of the atrocities perpetrated all over Europe by the Nazis.


    • Some of the Dutch soldiers sent to Indonesia in the summer of 1945 thought they would be fighting Japanese; only when they arrived they found out the “enemy” were pro-independence Indonesians.

      The slogan of Dutch anti-Indonesia war opponents was: “Don’t make our boys [Dutch conscripts] into SS men”.

      Amsterdam dock workers have been on strike against war in Indonesia.

      A photo of a Dutch 1940s demonstration against war in Indonesia is at

      There was already opposition in the Netherlands against war in Indonesia about 1900:



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  27. Unfortunately my father served in the Royal Dutch Army in Indonesia and he never revealed anything dire or more than the standard military procedures and tactics against the Indonesians. He did report some of the “dirty tricks” that the Indonesian’s used like stringing piano wire across certain roads where the Dutch army traveled and decapitated some of them.
    In addition the booby traps in the jungle sprung upon the Dutch soldiers were common. Also the 17 times my father had contracted Malaria “Ague” was also something most of the Army had to bear. he brought this sickness home where he would still have night sweats 7 to 10 years later. I am not defending his actions, but he volunteered before he was “voluntold” as he could get more cigarettes and pay if he did so and conscription was a few more months away anyway, He was barely 19 when he arrived in Indonesia.
    He was a budding soccer star in his day with a Cannon for a shot, one my son inherited as it skipped one generation and my father moved to Canada in the early 50’s and fathered 5 children with my Mother. I thank God that he survived this huge shameful colonial war ……….. I thank God for ending this conflict. Man always take credit for peaceful resolution and this one as all wars took its toll on all sides.
    My brothers and sisters & I are proud of our Dutch heritage and we have all thrived in our North American countries( Canada & US ) My younger brothers are both engineers and one is a Captain in the Canadian navy. My father was always a man of integrity so I highly doubt he was one of the bad guys during the war as he never expressed anything regarding wart crimes and right until his deathbed never did

    Michael eldest of 5


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