Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, 1945-1949


This is a video about the National Archive in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Tonight, 1 May 2008, Dutch war crimes in Indonesia in 1945-1949 were mentioned rather prominently in a Dutch national TV game show.

It was “De avond van de Grote Geschiedenis Quiz”, the evening of the big history quiz. It was from 20:20 till 22:00, on Nederland 2 TV.

In this show, both well-known and not well-known Dutch people are quizzed about their knowledge of historical facts.

One of the participants was Diederik Samsom, MP for the social democratic PvdA party (and recently loser in the race for parliamentary PvdA group leader).

Show candidates in the second round got the question:

Suppose you can decide about one billion euro for compensation for victims of unjust violence. And you have the choice between four groups: the surviving relatives of slaves in Surinam and the Caribbean until 1863; relatives of Jewish victims during World War II; relatives of Indonesians killed by Dutch forces in 1945-1949; and survivors of Srebrenica in Bosnia; to which of those four groups would you award the money?

Candidates had about one minute for a speech to advocate their choice. Diederik Samsom said: This is really a terrible choice as there was suffering in all four groups. However, I would choose the Indonesians. Hundreds of Indonesian civilians have been killed in Rawagedeh village, for instance. And that is not still as well-known as the three other cases.

Other candidates advocated the Jewish or the Srebrenica group. The jury decided that Samsom’s speech had been the best. The jury consisted of historians Hans Blom and Maarten van Rossum, and author Ms Annejet van der Zijl.

According to the TV program, there had been a public opinion poll in the Netherlands about this question. 33% thought that the money should go to Jewish survivors; 31% to Indonesian survivors. Far less thought it should go to either Surinamese/Caribbeans or to Srebrenica.

Mr Samsom became the winner of the game show of tonight.

At the website “Uitzending gemist“, it is possible to see that program (and other Dutch TV programs) even after it was broadcast live. The speech by Mr Samsom is in the second round of the quiz. The history quiz will be visible at Uitzending gemist for the first time on 2 May.