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.
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.