To everybody who were in the same area and time period.

Author: Fried Muller

Cover drawing: Annemarie Verdooren-Vermaes

 

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My memories of my youth are going back to the island of Java, Indonesia and cover the time period from 1937 till 1951.

The spelling of the Indonesian words in this story are throughout this book, but necessary to express myself. For that my appologies.

I came to the point to describe the following anecdotes and sometimes sad stories to put on paper so my family and other future readers could know what happened in the former colony of the Dutch, called the Dutch East Indies, this time period of war was played around my turbulent life.

Many people that lived and survived in Indonesia will know what I am writing here and most of them have had a similar experience and could write their own stories.

I want to show my descendants why in this way my life gave substance, in which I was lucky to succeed.

It was not always easy to get, but with blood, sweat and tears I succeeded. It was not always roses and moonshine, but I never let the setbacks dominate me.

These setbacks formed my character and once I chose my direction in life, I never waivered.

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Steam Locomotive, fast runner

It started in 1937 when I started to remeber, that we lived in the small village of Tjibatoe. Tjibatoe is a small village located on the mainline between the cities of Bandoeng (West Java) and the Sultan city of Djokjakarta (Middle Java), there is also a further split to the town of Garoet.

My father was a train driver and engineer and at that time stationed in Tjibatoe working for the State Railroad System. Tjibatoe was an important railroad transportation hub.

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Wijk with hat in hand

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On long journeys it was nice to have ladies with you.

Here the steamlocomotives were changed, mountain locomotives to Bandung and fastrunners for the flat terrain to Djokjakarta, which were then coupled to the individual trains.

There was also a large workshop where the locomotives were serviced and repaired. Next to the workshop was also a large turntable , where the locomotives could be turned in the direction they had to go. If 2 locomotives were needed for heavier trains, then they had to be coupled behind one another in the proper manner. As the traindriver and his helper could burn to death if the proper sequence was not used.Their cabin would be open to the wrong side.

My father was also a locomotive mechanic and with his colleagues in the repair of locomotives in this huge workshop. Tjibatoe is also a central distribution center for the tea, coffee and quinine production. The plantations were located near the town of Garoet. The productions was then distributed to the big cities and harbors for export.

Tjibatoe excist out of a small railroad station and a small square in front of it and a long street which was bordered on both sides with houses for the railroad employees.

As far I can remember these houses were only for the people that worked for the railroad. At the end of the street were some small shops and the local open air market (pasar) and behind that the local housing called (kampong).

At night there was no Electricity and every evening the petrol burners were lighted. I found this very interesting, how this was done, just because a danger that fire could brake out.

At that time I went to school in the town of Garoet. First at the chinese kindergarden. I remember I could not understand what they were saying or talking about, but I enjoyed myself with pasting and colouring.

My brother Ries was already at the local elementary school and a year later I followed in his footsteps. We left at 7 every morning with the train to the town of Garoet, but first we had to stop to buy a kind of cake called Kue Pukis which was made with coconut milk, which I could eat on the train to school.This became a ritual for me every morning was the same. No cake !! No train !!.

The trip took about an hour uphill and we were escorted by one of our servants called a (djongos). At 4 p.m. in the afternoon we teturned home and the trip only took half of an hour as the train went downhill.

The railroad homes were built out of stone bricks and very sturdy for that time. The main building (see foto) where we lived and connected to the mainbuilding the quarters of our servants. The livingroom, bedrooms in the mainbuilding and the bathrooms, kitchen and servant rooms in the sidebuilding. Our neighbours on either side were the family Erdzik and Breuer.

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Sitting in kimono is one of my aunties.

Most of the houses in the tropics were built that way, with the same configuration as ours. It were brick homes with red coloured rooftiles.The main building consisted out of a combination of a sitting and dining room area, 3 bedrooms and an open reception hall, which was regular used for festivities or dancing.

At the entrance hall we had bamboe curtains hanging, that were so long that they reached the floor and then some which were nice to lay on.That of course pulled the curtains out their tracks if you laid on them.

Laying on the floor was too cold for me and if my mother had seen me doing it , then the mighty rotanstick came out of the closet.

The reception hall was used for visitors and friends. The women in the neighbourhood kept their morning card games here as well as the latest gossips.When my uncles came over, either they were eating or playing Music there.This then was our cultural hall.

As far as I know, there were no saté or bamie sellers in the village, selling their several delicious food items.This was only done in the larger cities till about 10 PM. The village of Tjibatoe was quiet after 6PM especialy the road in front of our house. Behind our house was another street on a higher level. I never found out where this street was going to. It always was very still there with no traffic.

Cooking was always done at home, as we had a good cook by the name of Rukisah. She had no trouble in making all kinds of delicious local dishes.She was a Young vavicious woman. Not so good looking but very polite and nice to be around.Most of the time she took care of my younger sister Reina.

Most of the time she took care of buying the basic ingredients and vegetables at the local market(pasar) and this was a serious job, because most of the family that stayed over for the week-end were also looking forward in eating the delicious meals she prepared. This went on every week-end. I have never seen a week-end without any visitors.

My father took us quite often to lake Bagendit, which was beautiful nestled between the Mountains.Or we went to the hamlet of Tjipanas, where the hot water pools were located and there was also a covered swimming pool that smelled strongly to sulfur. The water was crystal clear and comfortable warm.

The whole area where we lived was very vulcanic and hot water pools were found every where.

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Lake of Bagendit located close to Tjibatoe.

At that time I had never heard of religion, let alone going to church.At home there was never spoken over religion. As far as the eye could see there were no churches around my home village of Tjibatoe. No mosques either, but the local people were still religeous fanatics. I felt that already at my age of 5 how fanatic those islamist were. They always look to us with lots of hatred in their eyes.

Behind our house we kept ducks, chickens and geese, besides that a small goat. The geese we kept were excellent watch dogs as well as snake killers. Thieves had a hard time coming on to the property without the geese knowing it. They will squeak loud to warn their friends.

There were hundreds of snakes, especialy during the rainy season when they come out of the jungle. My brother Ries was bitten and had to go to hospital for a long time in the town of Garoet.I always walked around with a rotan stick and learned from the gardener how to kill a snake in one swoop. I became a specialist in killing poisonous snakes this way.(special the black and yellow striped ‘uler welang’).

The whole area around Tjibatoe and the town of Garoet was that time the home of very fundamental Islamic djihads. Later on the Darul Islam started a terrorist Group that was against anything that was not a believer in Islam.A very extreme dangerous Group.

The village of Tjibatoe was used as a killing field for many that were not islamic but Christian., by the Darul Islam during the Bersiap period. After Japan surrendered and Indonesia started their war of independance.

I was also trained in the sport of kick boxing (pentjak) as small as I was.My father had hired a local professional pentjak trainer and once a week he came to our house to teach us the use of pentjak for half an hour. We started to cry in the beginning.

I can not remember to have a need for it in my younger years and even in my later years, but it did gave you the Assurance that you could walk around without fear.If older boys at school were in a hazing frenzy, you would be able to protect yourself.

Because if you came for the first time to the elementary school you were challenged by the excisting Tom Cats (djago’s). If you had the courage to step up to the plate and you had the guts to hold your own, they would leave you alone.

They tried it once and a couple of kicks kept them from ever bothering me again. I have to thank my fathert that he cared and knew what would happen to me without the knowledge of pentjak.

We also had a maid to do the laundry by the name of Baboe Cuci.

I have an older brother Ries and a younger sister Reina, but I was the one , being the youngest who was always blamed for everything that went wrong and felt the rotan stick again, at least thats what I thought.

The blows I received were from my mother as well as from my aunts, who were always visiting in droves at our house.

Baboe Cuci was my safe haven and I was able to hide behind her skirts. She was the one who fed me and gave my milk in the morning. She spoke Malay to me and I spoke at that age Malay as well as Dutch.

Baboe Cuci was more than my own mother, strange to say this, but she was my savior as she always fed me and took care of me. As danger was around the corner she was always there to count on.

Baboe Cuci taught me to speak the Bahasa Indonesia. She gave me the name ‘Sinjo’, that means young man in the former old language of then.
The word Sinjo comes out of the Portuguese word Senor, which means mister. When the Portugese sailors came to rule the archipellago in the year of 1590 and were the first Europeans to do so before the Dutch took over.

The old Malay language was penetrated with lots of Chinese, Arabic and European words and was quite easy to learn.

We had three servants.
In Indonesia as well as neighbouring countries, if you could afford it, you had several servants and so we had.This has nothing to do with being a colony from the Dutch as the Chinese as well as the people of Indonesia who can afford it has servants. This then was and is the tropical style of living.

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In those days there were no becaks yet in Tjibatoe.

It is therefore a normal living arrangement In fact it is a social habit as the servants are the poorest people in town and giving them work, they get food and the end of the month a small wage. With the Lebaran that is the period after the Ramadan they get extra money to buy new cloth as well as presents for their family.

My father gave them traintickets too, so they could travel free of charge to visit their relatives. If they had no family then they would get together with their local friends and planned festivities which consisted out of delicious eating and drinking. Strong liquer was seldom used but tapé wine was eagerly consumed, but our servants were no drinkers.

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Wijk and Paula sitting on the footboard, and Tine on the fender

My father has taken over the payment of a Ford car, but I don’t know from whom. As far as I remember it was a BPM enployee who went back to Holland. We made only a few trips with my father, so my mother took over and put us in the car.We zig-zag’d over the small roads to destinations unknown.

We were always scared to death when she was behind the Wheel and did not dare to say anything to upset her as the near misses were frequent. Watch out here she comes!!

At that time the roads were narrow and mainly used by farmers to bring their produks to market (pasar). The items they wanted to sell were mainly carried on their shoulders by way of a bamboe pole with a basket on each end.(see picture with Fried and Ries). This unit is called a pikolan.

The baskets were carried so that one was always sticking out, so bypassing cars or busses would hit one of the baskets and the poor farmer went flying and usual ended up in the gutter (slokan).
This was the last time we went out and sat in the car that was driven by my mother. The poor farmer did not know what hit him.

Later when we were back in the Netherlands my mother tried 8 times to get her driving license, but failed 8 times. Her drivers license was denied due to poor eyesight. Yet she would not give in she was a bad driver.
Later on in life the rolls were turned around and now she could ride with us.

We lived in Tjibatoe in a railway company home amongst the other employees which lived on both sides of the long main street. Ernst Frank (see foto) lived next to the station. His father was chief of the station. The family Croese had 2 sons Ronald and Beke and were my age.The family Baron had a lot of children. There were also the families Bierhuis, Breuer, Erdzik that I can remember.

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Ernst Frank between the brothers Ries and Fried Müller.

At the end of our street were little shops and an open air market (pasar). The largest shop was from a China man Kung Ju Lung.Behind there lay the small bamboe houses of all the servants and local inhabitants and was called a ‘kampong’ (hamlet).

Behind our house we had quite a large garden which was sloping upwards to the hills and surrounded by a large fence.Against the fence was a chicken run and the geese had a separate run which were there to keep thieves and snakes of the property.

In fact at that time we had no thieves at least not at our house and not at the surrounding homes as well.Our neighbours never reported break ins, because most of the people that lived there had shotguns in their homes.

A Young goat that walked all over the place and ate everything including the wash that was drying on the line. This goat was the nemesis of our washmaid, my surrogate mother started to yell and was after him with a stick.

Because to help her out with the help of my brother we put a long step ladder against the large roof gutter. We than placed the lamb in the gutter as punishment for trying to eat the wash.

All the maids came running out to see what was going on, as the small goat was still making noise in the roof gutter.They all complained that they could not bring the bleeting goat down. Finally the gardener went up there and brought this monster down.

With all this commotion going on, my mother came running outside and immediately knew who had organized this event. Of course I got a bad beating with the rotan stick again.

We knew through stories of our servants that the local people were fanatic Islamitic believers as well as supersticious. Most of the people of Indonesia are that way.The area where we lived was zoned by the government as fanatic fundamentalist area.

In all of Indonesia today besides their religion, the people is very supersticious and the gost world is kept on a high level. This was long before the modern religions were introduced.

The large ‘waringin’ trees with their swaying roots are ideal places for the bad ghosts to hang out.These trees are offered food, flowers, prayers and incence.Bloodoffers are sometimes used by slaughtering goats and chickens as offering to the ghost.

There has never been a showing of ghost, either at night or day time, but the stories of these bad ghosts are still told today and the lower class people accept these stories as the real thing and gruesome to boot.

They believe in (Endas Glundung) the rolling heads and the (Kuntil Anak) the woman with a large hole in her back. A large part of Indonesian people believe in this, special who lives in rural areas.

Pontianak (folklore). The pontianak(Dutch-Indonesian spelling: boentianak) is a vampire ghost in Malay and Indonesian mythology.It is also known as a ‘matianak’ (death of a child) or kuntilanak sometimes shortened to ‘kunti’.(most known in Indonesia.)

As with tiyanak of the Philippines, pontianak are said to be the spirits of woman who died while pregnant. This is often confused with a related creature, the ‘lang suir’, which is the gost of a woman who died while giving birth.

The word pontianak is reportedly a corruption of the Malay ‘perempuan mati beranak’, or ‘woman who died in childbirth’. Another theory is that the word is a combination of ‘puan’(woman) + matie (die) + anak(child). The term ‘matianak’ means ‘death of a child’.

The city of Pontianak ( on the island of Borneo) in Indonesia is named after this creature, which was clamed to have haunted the first Sultan who wants to settled there.

Pontianak are usually depicted as pale-skinned women with long hair and dressed in white, but they are said to be able to take on a beautiful appearance since they prey on men.The phantom is an invention of Malay wives who wanted to discourage their husbands from random sexual encounters with woman that they met on the road at night.

In folklore a pontianak usually announces its presence through baby cries.If the cry is soft it means that the pontianak is near,and if it is loud, then it must be far.

Some believe that if you hear a dog howling, that means that the pontianak is far away. But if a dog is whining , that means the pontianak is nearby. Its presence can sometimes be detected by a nice floral fragrance identifiable as that of the plumeria, followed by an awful stench afterward.

A kuntilanak kills its victims by digging into their stomachs with its sharp fingernails and devouring their organs. In some cases where the kuntilanak desires revenge against a male individual, it rips out the sex organs with its hands.It is said that if you sleep with your eyes open when a kuntilanak is near, it will suck them out of your head. Kuntilanak locate prey by sniffing out clothes left outside to dry. For this reason some Indonesians refuse to leave any article of clothing outside of their residences overnight.

The Kuntilanak is associated with banana trees (pokok pisang)and its spirit is said to reside in them during the day.

Because of our mixed blood between my great grandmother, who was an Indonesian woman and my great grandfather who was German, you were automatically German in the colony and a lot of importance was given to this fact, those that had the same blood as their forefathers, who were Europeans. This only when the father rigcognize his children as being his.

We that had the German forefathers, were considered a superior cast group. Why? I don’t know, but you were always told that you were. Not by my father, but fore most by the family on my mothers side, because they had no German blood on their side, they had more Belgian and Indonesian blood.

I was quite hesitant to this arrangement. I could not imagine that I would be superior to all of my friends and all the Indonesian people.

Even at that time I could not accept it, that you were placed in a cast, where your place would be decided in the colonial society.

I thought that the problem laid with the colonial system.Everyone in the colony wanted to push their previous blood inheritance to the foreground, as the system within the colonial system was a cast system. Just like the cast system in India.

The Indonesian people were considered the lowest cast, but there was a problem for the mixed Group, of which I was one of them, that was born out of the highest and lowest cast and if you belonged to the middle cast, then you were either lowest cast or vice versa, you belonged to the highest cast.

If you fell between these high and lower cast, then you always wanted to belong to the highest cast, because the position you could achieve in the business society was many times greater then when you belonged to a lower cast.

For me that was down right ‘Racism’, that was started by and brought to life by the Dutch colonial system, at that time.Our mixed blood group was not only measured where you were born and out of whom, but also by the color of your skin, which you inherited from your parents.

In the same family you could have white or colored children, where the white kids would have a step up in their future careers, then the colored ones.

When people ask me what country I come from, I always say that I come from Indonesia and I am proud of that fact. When you place the Indo’s (mixed people in Holland) on a contest between the Hollanders ( native Dutch) you will easily see the difference, but you place us between people from Java and you can hardly tell the difference. This does not mean that Indo’s are unable to mix with the Dutch, on the contrary.

You find in Holland many Indonesian clubs and every week somewhere in the country evening markets are held. We call these markets ‘pasar malam’.They sell and serve Indonesian food as well as trinklets and textile goods.You can compare this with the Dutch kermis, which is held in autumn and part of the Dutch population is making a living out of it.

These pasar malams and the people that come and work there like to be reminded where they came from. That shows me that the Indo group are missng their original Indonesian food opportunities and culture. They always come to enjoy these delicious food in these open air markets together with the special Indo pop music.

Very remarkable that many people of mixed origin has a German name. The question is of course how it came that far. It was difficult to find an identical statement. You have to go back very far in history of the VOC round 1650 BC and later during the colonisation of the East Indies to find the source of this phenomenon.

The VOC was the First multinational that posessed hundreds of ships to transport the marchendise from the far East to Europe, in this case to Holland. Because of this large amount of ships, all over Europe people were engaged to manned those ships.

Most of those people were coming from Denmark, Germany and France. Most of the commodities came from Ceylon, and the East Indies.

In that time context there was no thought about colonizing the East Indies. Mainly commercial fortresses were built.

Also these fortresses has to be manned and guarded. Though Holland had not enough manpower to fullfill these functions. So also for these functions manpower was recruted in the surrounding countries. Those manpower got contracts of 5 years to go to the Far east.

Many Young Dutch boys signed for such a 5 year contract. Special those who were out of business and redundant. Many had fiancee’s or family which they can not support anymore and from their contract premium they will be able to go to mary their fiancee’s and support again their families.

So most of the Dutch contractors have relatives in Holland. Germany in that period was very poor and many people migrated to other countries in South America and the Far East.

When those Young guys arrive in the Far East they get themselves very fast a Nyai(housekeeper) and not long after their arrival also children. Those Young Dutch guys with a 5 year contract have a fiancee or family back home. They therefor are informed that when their housekeeper ( Nyai) get pregnant and a child is born not to give notice at the municipality of the birth of their child.
These children don’t exist at the municipality and can’t get the nationality of the father.

Because of this policy only children with German names are registered, because all foreighners are not informed to do so, but most of the Germans are proud of their sibblings and register them at the municipality. This gave them automaticaly their name and nationality. The Germans stay mostly in the Far East after their 5 year contract. Many came as individual immigrant and started their own business.

Because of this phenomenon you do not find real Frieze or Dutch family names in the Far east. Frieze names like Hiebema, Dijkstra etc.

Most of the mixed Group have a German name because the German contractors and immigrants have not such a binding as the Dutch contractors with Holland.

Most of the Germans who emigrated to the Far East were emmigrants and no contractors. Those who got a Nyai partner registered their children as being his and gave them his name and nationality. His children are European and are able in case they want to study later in Europe to go there without any problem. This is what not registered children not have, worse those children are condemned of being slaves. They have to return to the kampong from where their Nyai mother originates who has been left behind by her Dutch partner.

These people are treated as parias because their mother slept with the enemy and The children are whore children, these children are exposed to humiliation and torture as long as they stay with their mother.

These were not only a few children but thousands of them who undergo these humiliations. This as a by-product of the colonisation. This humiliation of the colonial descendants has been continued till long after the decolonisation, even till now.

There was a Dutchman called Pa van der Steur who lived in Magelang and he collected all those ‘left behind’. Trying to feed them and giving them at least some schooling to read and to write. Many of them went into the militairy service and the girls onto the schooling for nursary. There were hundreds of them. He died just before the second WW. One who should be knigted in live.

We had a lot of visits from our neighbours, the family Erdsiek and the family Breuer. Most of the time it were the neighbours wives, who did not know what to do with themselves and came over, but our house was also loaded with women from the family side of my mother. There was always laughter and laud talking. I did not understand all that noise, that made furiously mad.

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Playing cards with the neighbours wivwes

Most of the time I was not welcome if I was around them. Because things were said that I should not hear or know about. I could never find out what they were talking about.But I think it was about family gossip, scandals, and affairs.At that time it was a sin to let the children know what happened behind the closed doors.

So that is why I did not know my grandfather on my fathers side, as there was never a spoken word about him, as that was not allowed.

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1913 Families Müller, Ehrenkrohn en Filet

This family photo was taken in 1913 with Opa and Oma Müller surrounded by their 4 daughters and 3 sons.The 4 daughters named Lotte, Trees, Toetoe en Totok (standing in the last row and one sitting) and their sons Vent, lodewijk en Tinus.All three in the middle of the picture from top to bottom.Lodewijk my father is sitting up front on bare feet. At that time the children did not walk on shoes, surely not around the house.

Opa and Oma were nicely dressed for this Photo.Opa was commissary at the department of war and that was a very responsible position at that time.

The age difference between sons and daughters was quite large, thats why the sons and daughters when they were Young, were not allowed to call their sisters by their first name, but to call them aunty and then their name, such as auntie Toetoe etc.etc.If they did not do this they would risk a slap on their behind.

If you split the Photo in 3 parts and at the right side of Opa if you draw a vertical line , then the whole family of Ehrencrohn is seen with their six children.

A vertical line left of Oma then you see the family of Filet with their three children. Kitty corner behind Oma you see her daughter Toetoe. Which was a handsome girl that time.

Why I never met my grandfather is a story on its own, because nobody had to know, not even the grandchildren, because of the shame on the family.Neighbours and friends that would get to know this, would be talking about this perkara (affair) long before us, the grand children.

Later on we were able to find out that my grandfather and the sister of my grandmother had an affair, without anyone knowing this and that was the secret (perkara) in our family. He was banished to the servant quarters and was not allowed to leave the house anymore. He died in 1938.

My greatgrandfather was a buttermaker, Gottfried Müller who came out Bayern a province in Soutern Germany, who emigrated to the Dutch East Indies (Now Indonesia) around 1876 and lived together with an Indonesian women.If he married her is unknown in our family and personaly I don’t think so, but he got a son which he declared at the municipality as being his son.

As told before, my greatgrandfather gave his name to his son and that shows he recognized him as his natural son; which he then registered him at the townhall of Depok. Its also here where my grandfather grew up and married my grandmother, whose name was Oma ‘Dik’, Anna Sophia.

They were spruced up before the taking of this Photo. They had seven children and raised themvery well. Oma ‘Dik’ was also born out of a German-Indonesian couple. Their family name was Knödler and her father came also out of southern Germany, just the same as my greatgrandfather on my fathers side , the Müller’s.

Coming back to the perkara (affair) my grandmother had and in order to meet the unpleasant consequences in losing face of this whole family affair, nothing was said. I think that is also the case with the local Indonesian people. To keep the family problems secret and not disclose private affairs. This phaenomena is also present in the Western culture.

As they say Losing Face is a great shame in the tropics. The people do everything to prevent this.

My mother who was the oldest in the van Dietz family had a lot of sisters of which one of them was pretty and one of them I took a liking to, She came quite often to stay with us. One day there was so much quaking going on between the sisters of my mother in our home, that we, the children, were chased into the garden. This quaking went on for an hour. I never knew what was going on.

Many years later, when I was a grandfather myself, that in that time period my father and the beatiful aunt I knew, Geertje had an affair with my father, which resulted in a pregnancy, that was told and expected, but we never hurd the follow up of the story, because the war with Japan was imminent and all perkara’s were burried.

My lovely aunt got married with Emiel Topee just before the war with Japan started. He was soon called up for his militairy service. He became later famous because he did his service on the topedoboat Kortenaer from the Dutch Navy, which was torpedoed by the Japanese Navy in the battle on the Java sea.

My lovely aunt in the meantime was not sitting at home doing nothing. Many women with children had no father during the Japanese occupation and it was very difficult for everybody to find food for the children and for themself. Most people sold firstly their cloth and linen, then the furniturre and at last their home, but that was the very last thing to do.

There was an Indonesian journalist who know the family very well and he was working for an Indonesian agency. They were allowed to continue bringing out newspapers. He know my lovely aunt and ask her to mary him. So they married in the war.

At that time there were no pills to avoid pregnancy and to avoid these problems and situations.But by nature she had to take this risks. She told her sisters she did not know why she got pregnant. From that time on her sisters avoid her to come for a holiday when the manfolk were at home.

My grandmother on my mothers side had seven children and she still does not know how she got everytime pregnant. At least she tried to tell us that. Instead of informing the children, everything was kept secret. The culture at that time was to keep the children away from these affairs and keep them dumb and ignorant.

This also happened to my aunt, as she also did not know how she got pregnant. Thinking she had to be married to become pregnant. The whole family insisted that she had to get married to someone they selected. Unfortunately it came to be known, that our dear aunt got pregnant by my father, while my mother was not at home.

At that time for those in the family that were financial well to do, everything was forgiven even by my mother.

But the sisters from my aunt, blamed my father forever and they never visited our home again, not even for birthdays or anniversaries.
This family affair was told to me , in my later years by one of the sisters of my mother that was still living. In our family not much was happening. We found our comfort by being with our friends.

I did not see my father very much. Most of the time when he came home from work I waited for him in the garden, while I was playing marbles with my friends. Usually I ran to him to touch him to make sure it was him.I got a kick out of this. Most of the time he stroked me over my hair and that feel real good.

This became a ritual. As this continued till he was taken away by the Japanese military police (Kempeitai) all of a sudden this ritual stopped. I missed this ritual since the first day he was interned. I was then 8 years old and did not know better.

Many times he took us to the locomotive workshop, where the locomotives were repaired and he let us climb and stand on these behemoths. This I remember up to this day.

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So father, so suns.

One of my hobbies now, are collecting the technical discriptions of trains, drawn by steam-locomotives from all parts of the World. I am sure that when you are taught as a Young child to be involved with a certain subject that you always be interested in it, when you grow old.

I think it is the same with religion. Now I understand why the Muslims do and practice their orthodox religion in the area around Tjibatu. From an early age the children are taught what their religion means in their future lives.The religion of Islam is told them over and over, so they finally believe in it.

All people with religeous inputs have this same believe, that by repeating the text, they then take it as gospel. First of all there were no schools where religion could be taught, so the Imams taught the Islam religion.There was nothing else for them, in tandem of this was that the colony was 300 years old and they wanted their freedom for the Indonesian people, it was long enough.

These two points together and you get a religeous freedom-fighter, if you give these particular freedomfighters the chance, a lot of people get killed.

On the other hand these rebels (peloppors) were free as a bird and without a trial, be shot to death by order of the Colonial Dutch Army (K.N.I.L.).Some well known Indonesian politicians were banned to the island of New Guinea (Papua), at a specific area Above Digoel. This lay so far from the coast, that escaping was not possible.

The late and First Prime Minister Hatta was one of the first to be sent to Digoel, and many other politicians. Because the Dutch governers want to have the boss Sukarno not to far from the capital, they banned him to Benkulu.

Those who were sent to the Digoel area had to take care of their own food as well as board, these were the rules.Many rules and regulations were established by the colonial board for the Indonesian people. If schools and freedom were requested then these ended up as revolutionary request from the local government and was strictly forbidden.

Apartheid in the purest form, is to empty the country from all its welth, such as tea, coffee, cocoa, diamonds, iron,tin, sulfur, oil, the list goes on and on only to sustain the motherland, The Netherlands.

My brother and I were taught how to fly kites by our gardener. I got some money from my father, to buy a kite and thin string, which we made into glass wire. Glass wire was necessary to stay in the air and without this glass wire, you had the chance, that some other kite flyer, would be attacking you and cut your line.

In order to make glass wire, you had to get some glass and stamp it, till it was a very fine powder. Then this powder had to be mixed with a special kind of glue. A ball of very strong thin wire was mixed in the glue- glass mixture and after several hours , unrolled and hung in your backyard between several trees, so it could dry in the sun. After that the wire is carefully wound on a 10” can or carton wheel and now you were ready to protect your turf.

Flying kites meant down right war. Tjibatu was a long street with houses on the left and right side of the street, only a few kites in the air in comparison to the big cities, were hanging daily in the air.

Once you were air born, then the fight was on. A few blocks further was your enemy. The game went like this. First figure out the wind direction and then you had to be sure you were higher then your enemy. When this was accomplished you had to let the kite go with the wind. In doing so you were able to cut the line of your enemy. Then the race was on to be able to catch the fallen kite and keep it. Sometimes they would fall into trees or would be hanging over Telephone Lines. But keeping it was the unwritten rule of flying kites.I was very proud of it, that I was one of the best and that felt very good. If your enemy was able to cut your line, then it was crying time from the loss of this beautiful treasured piece of rice paper. Back for more money or catch a fallen star from somebody else.

If glass wire was hanging over your yard from one of your neighbours, you would try to get this line well before he was able to rewind it onto his dry section of his remaining wire on his can. When you see or feel your neighbour is winding in his glass wire then you try to catch the wire and try to get his wire is getting wet. This would create mildew and you might as well throw the whole can with glass wire into the garbage.

These kind of tricks belong to the flying kite commanders. It was so exiting to partake in these kite wars, that I could leave everything behind to join the fight.

After kite flying time I was able to built some beauties. Which I still can do today.

Only those kite wars of the past are not to be found in Europe. The kites that they have here are of all colors and sizes and are hard to steer because they are so heavy.

Sometimes you see these double kites, that are very fast and can spin on a dime. But without a kitewar, what have you got.

Because we were used to handle and play with glass wire , we then decided to play jokes on the people that returned from work at around six in the evening.They came from the trains, passed our house and had to return to their hamlets or houses at the end of this long street, when it was dark outside the game began.

We found some glass wire strung over some Telephone poles that were located across the street from our place and bringing one end to the bushes in front of our yard. We then placed a white diaper in the middle of the line weighted with a Stone and when it was dark enough outside, we would hoist this diaper and waiting for the return of the workers. We had planned it so that the weighted diaper would fall down from the sky if you release the glass wire.

In the afternoon we would set up this arrangement and after dinner time we would hide in the dark behind our front hedge till the workers would come home.

We heard the train stop and this was the signal to watch them come by. Actualy it was quite dangerous to hide behind the bushes at night, because of the snakes, but we did not care !!.

Yes we heard some voices and let a few people pass, then we released the white diaper ghost. The yelling and screaming was heard far and wide and everybody started to run.

We had such a tremendous kick out of this, but somehow my father got to know about it and we got a hard scolding but no beatings. If my mother would have known this, the World would have been to small.

Sometimes my father took us hunting. On the dry riverbanks of the River Tjitarum, you could see many Iguanas (binjawak) drying and sunning themselves.My father would shoot some of them.Then these lizzards were given to the local village population who savoured these animals. It was for sure no pork (babi) as that was for the muslims only.

When I was 7 years old we moved from Tjibatu to Batavia and lived in the Pasarstreet, in the section called Meester Cornelis. Smack dab in the middle of a Chinese neighbourhood. Our house was located right behind a bread bakery.

It was a dead-end side street from the Pasarstreet with four homes. Ours was the first if you entered the sidestreet and in the next three houses lived native Chinese people, who only spoke fluent Chinese and nothing else.

At that time there were 2 kinds of Chinese groups, the Indo-Chinese and the native Chinese.

The Indo-Chinese came hundreds of years ago to the archipellago and are mixed with the local people and spoke both languages Chinese as well as Malay and later the Bahasa Indonesia.Their store fronts were usualy in local dialect, but the native Chinese store fronts were strictly Chinese lettering. Both groups did not get along very well.

Besides that we were Dutch speaking and we had seldom contact with the native Chinese.

But very often the Indo-Chinese attended Dutch speaking schools and were able to keep contact and do business with the Dutch.

Many of the Indo-Chinese were doctors or dentists and seem to do better in the tropics then the Europeans, as this was surely noticible in the hospitals here. The Chinese dentists were very much appreciated in Indonesia.

Going to school, we were transported by a ‘Dogkar’, a two wheel buggy pulled by one horse. I did not think it was that safe, as I was always affraid the horse would slip and what would happen? What would be left of us?

On the otherside of the Pasarstreet where we lived was a large building where nuns lived, under the order of ‘The Good Shepard’

Every morning I have seen them walk through the garden in their dark habits, but I never knew what they were doing and I never met one which I could speak to. According to my mother and friends they did nothing but pray.

At that time I could not think what this was good for.It always stayed a question mark for me., what they had in mind and what could be reached in doing all this praying. We at home were never raised with prayer and bible stories.

Later on I came to realize that all those thousands of hours of prayer, were all for nothing. It would have been much better if they spend their lives in doing social work and helping the poor sick people in the villages or towns survive. NO, I could never understand this.

I think as I grew older and wiser, that the Christian religion was a cover for humanity to keep quite, just like any other believe.

Readers that were raised with the bible and belonged to their church community, are not convinced and do not agree what I am writing here. In the past the Catholic church was powerfull and told the children all kinds of biblical stories that were sometimes very interesting, but not for kids that did not attend a church.

My brother Ries and I joined the cub-scouts, where we got together on the lawn of the protestant Bethel Church. We did not learn very much. At the end of an hour and a half of fooling around we had to stand in a ring and scream our slogan, that sounded like this.” Akela, we do our best and the hell with the rest” That is all I remember of the cub-scouts.

I was never caught in yelling out the fact that the yell had to be something else, but nobody of the staff said something about it. I must admit that they never tried to sway me to join that church.I think that with my posture, that little fellow over there better not enter the church.

What I did like in this Chinese neighbourhood was that with our new year and the Chinese new year, that the fireworks were so loud. The stronger and louder the better.

The streets were covered with the red paper from the firecrackers. The paper came up till your ankles deep and we checked the paper to see if we could find any that were not detonated.

With all this firework we could not stay behind.So we also bought a pack of these loud crackers.

My brother Ries was on the bike and I was sitting with my back to him on the carriage end.With a cracker in my right hand and a burning mosquito repellant in my left hand.

My brother would only yell NOW!!and a cracker went flying and usualy ended up amongst the crowd on the sidewalk.

A lot of the time there were sellers , selling their delicious shrimp chips called ‘kroepoek’ in cans, carried over their shoulders on a bamboe stick and then my brother called out loud NOW and I threw one amongst his cans and with a loud bang it was all over with the sale of his shrimp chips and cans.

Sometimes there were no people and my brother would call NOW!!and I threw my firecracker away, between some loose running dogs. They ran away crying loudly after they heard the boom.

There were a lot of small taxis (opelets) driving around, that were usualy loaded with people and we had the idea to throw a firecracker amongst the passengers. Thinking over the consequences, we never did it. This was asking for trouble, because you could do this only once.

The Police department was a steady customer at our house. My father was so mad and promised to beat us severely, if we tried this stunt again. My father did not tell us off very often, but when he did, he would follow through. Our house next to the Chinese bakery was the place where I got to know my friend, Kim Yuk. He always waited for me after school and handed me a warm bun. I was not able to talk to him very much, as his mother or grandmother would not allow him to stand with me near the fence too long. I never knew why this was not allowed.

Playing with one another was completely out of the question, which I found very sad. And that at that age. Kim Yuk, who always gave me a warm bun, was reaching out for friendship between us.

One day I bought a rice bird called’glatik’in a small cage and the cage was hung on the ramp, between the main building and the servant quarters. When my father came home at five, he noticed the cage. He directly walked to the small cage, opened the small door and my little rice bird , immediately flew away. He told me never to have nice birds in a cage and promised me to buy me some pigeons. Which he did.

We lived only one year in Batavia, when my father was transfered to Djokjakarta. We went to the elementary school with the bible, that was in walking distance of where we lived.

Our house was located close to the main railway station named ‘Tugu’and our home was owned by the State owned railways, close to the locomotive workshop where my father was employed.

I found friends very quickly where I lived and Charles Lapré became that time my best friend.He was living one house further down.He had two sisters and the oldest was my darling right away. She was tall and had long black hair and a very pretty face and realy my type.But the love only came from my side, because she was older then me and was more interested in someone else, instead of this little boy of 9 years old and that stayed that way.

Charles was very good in playing marbles and I could not overcome my losses against him.If we were finished it was always fighting till the tears showed up, but I wanted to learn as well as he could play and that is why I continued playing with him eliminating my anger and anoyance.

I understood that if you wanted to become an expert, you had to practice and then some more. Without practice you would not been able to reach your goal. This became my motto in life and is still today.

Next to our house we had a tall Sawoh tree which was bearing very sweet fruits and once in a while I would give Charles some of these brown fruits. I would get from him in return a branched fork of an oleander tree. In order to fabricate a nice catapult. Which I did.

This was my first secret weapon. I practiced days and weeks with this catapult and was able to deliver a good shot.

At that time there always was a siesta hour in the afternoon. But not for me or Charles, as we went through the neighbourhood looking for fruit. During the Mango season it were the mango’s we were after.

With the loot we went home in order to prepare a dish called ‘rudjak’, a spicy fruit salad.A fruit salad with a sweet and saur taste. Tamarind called ‘asem’ shrimp paste’trasi’ and a Spice called ‘kencur’ beside soy sauce.

We ate this all by ourselves to proof that the fruit of somebody else made sence and tasted better.

My father ask me if he could see my catapult, which I showed him with pride. He never returned it to me.The people were we stole the mango’s from complained to my parents about this and the result was the confiscation of my beloved catapult.

Across from the family Lapré lived the family Van den Broek who were very nice people when I visited them, but the interest of their sons laid on a different level than ours. They were all so small and looked like midgets.

Across their home lived Armand Hoop and his brothers, but we had no social contact with him. Though he was in the same class as myself and thats all I can say about him.I had the feeling that his parents would not like him to associate with us on account of social difference. His father was the railroad station supervisor and my father worked as a technician in the locomotive workshop.

Ries and myself visited the family Vermaes once in a while, that lived on the street of Boemidjo Lor, not far from our home.

The only thing that comes to my mind is that large buck in the yard who was not very friendly and was anchored to a large tree and when we entered the yard it directed his horns in my direction and scratches its hoeves in the dry dirt. I always made a large circle around him.

We lived in the Gowogan Kidoel and on my way to my Avé friends who live on the Djalan Diponegoro I had to pass the ice factory. Everybody in Djocja knows where the ice factory was located.

The director of this ice factory was Mr. Heubelt and his son named Helmut who sat also in my class. They were Germans from origin. They all spoke only German between each other, which I do not speak and understood.

They stayed by themselves and had no contact by anybody, except in the business circle when the delivery would pick up ice. Thats why Helmut had no friends.He asked me at school if I would come by in order to play with his electric trains and I did so.I often came by and my eyes opened up in seeing how many toys were given to him.

He had the most beautiful collection Marklin trains and dozens of Chuco cars and a lot of sport outfits. I could play as long as I wanted with it. We played also badminton in the garden and if we were called inside, his blond mother would receive us with cookies and lemonade.

It was very interesting to play with this expensive and modern toys, but to go to the kali(River) and to roam around was much more exciting, but he was not allowed to do that by his parents.

He wanted me to come over more often, even if you have all these toys, you are still alone.

He promised me, that he would show me his secrets, that when his parents were sleeping, he could watch them having sex. He could do this through a side window, as his room was above the room of his parents, what a scoundrel.

I did not believe what I was hearing, at that stage of my life he was way ahead of me. I loked at pretty girls,Yes!, but that went as far as I did. On his side he thought I would react differently. But our friendship stayed till the family Heubelt with all other German families were rounded up by the Dutch Militairy Police and all other nationalities who were German allies. This because the Germans occupy The Netherlands.

After Germany declaired war to Europe and his allies and invaded The Netherlands in May 1940, all the Germans and allies that lived in the Dutch colony were banned and interned to the island of Onrust just opposite of Batavia. If they were pro Hitler or not, it did not matter as they stayed there till the Japanese army invaded all the islands of the Dutch colony.

What I know is that all Germans went back to Germany by way of Japan or China. But I am not sure it went that way. I never heard from Helmut again.Even now I would like to know what happened to him and his family and exchange our life stories.

The boys of the Avé family which were my friends for a long time. Joop stayed in the new Indonesia and became chief of protocol for president Sukarno.Later under president Suharto he was Minister of Tourism. But later entrance to Australia was denied due to his probable affiliation as a pedofile.

Joop Avé his father is called also Joop, our uncle Joop. He and my father were good friends and wanted to visit one another often, but it was to bad that the Japanese came, as they were both arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai militairy police). Uncle Joop did not survive the war.

Aunt Tine Deighton is a sister of my mother and was married to Harry Deighton, who also worked for the railroad. At that time he was track control Engineer and did inspections over kilometers of track and was in charge of large sections of rails.

He was stationed and placed in a very small railroad station. This small place was called Djenar and later on replaced to Malangbong.The house where they stayed was built close to an overpass.

The whole area around their house was nothing then rice fields and called ‘sawah’ and a farm with milk cows and pigs that belonged to the Suzenaer family. They came originaly from the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. My uncle Harry went there a couple of times to shoot a mad pig.

We stayed with the Deightons quite a few times, but otherwise there was not much to do. We had gunhandling instruction from aunt Tine in air pressure guns. All day we shot at snakes that were popping out of the grass, but I was never able to hit one. I blamed it on the gun with a crooked barrel as I do much better with my M1 with scope.

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mother Paula and aunt Tine coming back from the hunt.

When aunt Tine was still single she stayed with us quite a few times as her fiancé Harry was working in our neighbourhood and was living in Malangbong. That is why my mother and us were always there officially to chaperone these two, when they went somewhere and not to give them the change to foul around.

It was then as with the Arabs today. That most marriages were a must.

Also the cats in the area and neighbourhoods were not safe when Fried Muller was around. I was a real cat chaser. The cats stayed away from our garden, post haste. They knew what was in store for them. That time I had 9 pigeons and my feeling was to say to all cats not to be to near the pigeon-house.

I don’t know why I was so much against cats but when we visited our family, all cats were rounded up, locked up and hidden away in order not to cause any problems with the likes of me.

One day we traveled to a family whom we had never met before. They lived about 30 KM away from us.They lived in a house three stories high. We were welcomed by lots of cats.Big and small with all kinds of colors and breeds.

I was 6 years by then. What in the hell did this women do with this many cats. I thought I could be helpfull to get rid of them.

After cake and lemonade the whole family was gossiping as I slipped away. I rounded up all the little cats and put them in the refrigerator.The housemaid happened to walk by and heard the bleating noise of the small cats. She opened the door of the refrigerator and found those six tiny cats, that I had put there.

The maid was calling out, till my aunt came running, who scolded me in al kinds of words. My mother came with the rotan stick and I got a severe beating. In our family it was known as the cat hitter.

My father did built me a nice pigeonhouse and my pigeons multiplied fast. I had 8 pigeons after 6 month.

Most of them were white pigeonswith a small white crown.I found them to be not interesting enough. I bought at the local market tail whistles, that had different sounds. From high tones to low tones. We bought the ones with the high tones and placed them on the tail section of the birds.With the whisling sound behind them, they would fly faster.

I was not satisfied. We have seen all kinds of pictures of the R.A.F. Spitfires. So what did we do? We bought all kinds of watercolor paints and painted all the pigeons with the colors of the Spitfires, after that we had the birds dry themselves on the roof and the colors of my birds were dramaticaly changed.

I had now camouflaged pigeons. I have never seen anybody else with pigeons like these. I was the only one in the city of Djokjakarta. All my friends were talking about this. It was a nice sight, especialy for me.

I attended the school with the bible for a short while. In 1941 all schools were closed due to the coming invasion.We had homeschooling from Hetty Valenbreder, but she had problems with me to educate me further.I was unrestfull and had other plans than to listen to all that stupid learning.

After the lessons I climbed over the sidewall to my friend Tji Loth. Most of the times I would find him in his room if he was at home. But most of the time he had another girl in his bed. If I stood in front of his window he showed off his latest conquest.

He had a beautiful sisster Lena. A pretty woman with long black hair. She enjoyed me coming there and she was always whispering in my ear that I was so young. She always brought me a sweet treat, which was called ‘wadjik( a sticky rice roll made with Brown palm sugar) and lemonade without asking if I would like some. This was a similar case I had with Ilse lapré. I wished that I was older then, as the tostesterone was creeping up and what would you do if you constantly were reminded of these offers, everytime it was whispered in your ears.

Tji loth finished the technical school when he was about 18 years old and could get a job as a beginner mecanic at the airfield of Maguwo near Djocjakarta.If he was free of work he would call Ries and myself to come over. He taught us how to box with real boxing gloves. First we hit one another where ever we could, which usualy ended up in tears but slowly we got the hang of it and began learning how to control the boxing technique, but boxing was not my choice in sports.

When the war and invasion began, my friend Tji Loth was musterd for the military and was placed as an airgunner in protecting the skies above Maguwo. After the capitulation of the colony to Japan, the K.N.I.L.( army) military surrendered then part of the military were transported to prison camp ‘Ngawi’.

As I told, my father was arrested by the japanese military police (Kempeitai) and other railway colleages. From the 74 railway workers only 9 survived the war. Most of them died of torture and sickness. That is where my father met Tji Loth again. He worked in the kitchen, being so strong and muscled to do all the heavy work. He was also the man that saved my father from a quick death. When my father arrived there he was already very skinny.Without help and extra food, he would have surely died. By accident he met Tji Loth in the camp and since then he was improving rapidly, because of the help and extra food Tji Loth gave to my father.

After the Japanese surrender and in Merdeka period, Lena my favorite girl got very sick. Through administrative bungling, they did not allow her and her mother to transport them to the allied side for medical help. She was left allone to fend for herself in the village near Boemidjo Lor. Disconnected from all help and Financial assistance from her family. Then the plaque came and Lena died a terrible death.

Europe was at war and the Netherlands our fatherland, as they described it in those days, was occupied by the Germans.

In 1941 we in The Netherlands Indies we were not able to go to school, as the schools were changed into barracks for the Australian and English military. The Dutch military (K.N.I.L.) had their own stationary barracks.

After 1941 we had no more school to go to till the Japanese surrendered to the United States of America in 1945.

My father did not have to serve in the army, because everybody that worked for the railroad was needed for the transport of the military.

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Japanese identiti card of Lodewijk Müller

Later on I was informed that my father received a case of dynamite and orders to blow up all the locomotives in case they would fall in enemy hands. Luck was on his side, that he did not do it otherwise he would not have been able to survive the war.

The dynamite he received was burned and the ignitors were thrown into a deep well. The Japanese knew that sabotage was commited and wanted to know who was behind this.So on the same day a whole bunch of railroad workers and higher personnel were picked up by the Japanese Kempeitai the Japanese military Police and locally interned.

One by one they were interogated the Japanese way. Most of them did not survive this ordeal and the fathers of my friends Joop and Charles did not make it.

Charles never came to our house to play marbles again and I was scared to go to his place.I know now how bad he must have felt when his father was murdered at the hands of the Japanese.

My father had built a bomb shelter in the backyard. It was an oblong hole in the ground with square ends with one exit and covered with heavy railroad ties. Then covered with 1 meter of clay. It looked very stable, but was it a real bomb shelter? I think it was made for nothing. We only used it once, when a Japanese plane came over and bombed the cental station Tugu with a small bomb.

One day we heard those nasty sirens go off and we all dived into the bomb shelter.We heard a plane approaching and was circling overhead and my father was going to take a look. He just stepped outside when he jumped back in and told all of us that the planewas going to attack. Just a minute later we heard a big boom, but it was much further then we thought. The bomb was dropped near the Central Station Tugu.

That was all that happened during that time, nothing spectacular.

Once we were occupied double engined Japanese bombers were taking off from Maguwo airfield, every morning to destinations near the battle front, where fighting was still going on.

I wanted my Spitfire birds take flight to engage the bombers overhead.The Japanese planes were painted dark green and had a red ball painted on either side of the fuselage and on the wings.

After several month of occupation, my father still went to work as before, just like anyone else that worked for the railways.

One day, I heard a tank and soldiers entered our street and at several places they stopped the people.

Two officers came walking to our home and ask my mother to come outside. They wanted to inspect the cloth closet of my father.

My mother was instructed to leave the house within 2 hours. Our servants had to leave too and that was a problem. As they for years lived in the servant quarters, where were they going to go.

In the beginning of the war we had backpacks full of clothing put aside just in case of an emergency, we had them close by.

The servants got some money from my mother, to be able to find housing in the nearby Kampongs (hamlets).

Within 2 hours we were out of our house and walked to the family Flohr, who lived in the Pakuningratan street.They knew my mother very well and offered us a room to stay with them for a while.

We heard that my father and others of the railways were picked up by the Kempeitai the Japanese Militairy Police.

Across the street from the house were we stayed lived a Dutch family, where the breadwinner was interned somewhere on Java. The officers of the Japanese police moved in and abused the women of the house.The First couple of weeks we did not hear anything, but that would change soon. She was molested every evening and screams were heard constantly and continously.

Many times she walked to the street for help, but every time she was overpowered by a Judo move from the Japs and was pulled into the house again. Nobody dared to help her.

The Japanese were always able to aprehand her and never failed.

This was going on for weeks and nobody could sleep with this going on. So my mother was looking for another place. I was very impressed with the things that were going on, but I did not feel save.

My mother was trading for money, anything and evrything she could get a hold off with her Chinese friends but that was a big risk to sell goods from your friends and neighbours.

The Flohrs family where we stayed would have nothing to do with the sales practices of my mother and ask us to leave and find another place to live.

We moved to the family Schoew in Gowogan Lor street where we were able to move into their pavillion.

They had so many bed bugs in this pavillion that they were eating us alive at night. We were under the hives of these critters and the only solution was to lay the mattresses in the sun , but that helped only for a little while.

I was disgusted with the filth of these nasty bugs and not only that, I could not sleep at night.They always came when darkness fell and would bite you wherever they could.

Though in the garden they had many mango trees, that produced so much fruit and they allowed us to pick as many as we wanted and the rest was eaten by the flying fox bats.

The family Schoew excisted of mother and three daughters, Maggie, Lies and Ernie and two sons Theo and Ferry.

Her husband was also arrested by the Kempeitai and interned somewhere unknown.

Since there was no income when my father was taken away, my mother took over with her trading ‘company’ and traded averything with the Chinese only.

What she did was trading goods with the Chinese from people that were in deep trouble and needed money in the worst way, but lacked the courage to do it for themselves, because they were afraid of being picked up by the Japs.

My mother sold cars and electrical appliances from private parties to anyone that wanted to pay for it.She was so wel known, that she was visited by the procurement department of the Japanese military. As they were looking for all technical material that was spread amongst the Dutch. She sold many items, so that her clients could eat again for a couple of month.

Her acqaintance became her downfall, because of jelousy she was reported to be a spy for the allies and was therefore arrested and was taken to jail by the Djokjakarta Police department., where she spent her time until Japan capitulated.

What ever happened to her she never told us.I realy did not want to know it either, because I had my own troubles and missery for 3,5 years.

Just to stay alive and survive you were constantly without sleep and thinking daily when your next meal was coming from.

We had that time no problems staying overnight somewhere, as our ring of friends was quite large, but getting food was another matter. The Indonesian people themselves got into more and more trouble then us Dutch people, because we were not expecting any help from their side.

There was not one person of Indonesian blood that offered us any help during the war years. We did not exist to them as this was the largest colonial problem.

From my youth to now I could never understand why we (Indo’s) always chose the Dutch side, while we were treated as second class citizens.This was still noticible during my camp years.

I did not feel any hate against the people of Indonesia, on the contrary I felt a natural togetherness, maybe we spoke with repect to them.

On their holidays I delivered a cake to the Indonesian station Master who was living near to us and with greetings from my father. They do not know how to treat us to make us comfortable, but they appreciate it always very much. If they treated their own family. I got always a warm feeling from these visits.

We let them feel that they were not our enemies, which was a good feeling to me. I do not know if other groups felt that way.

We moved again to a house that was located in the same street as the big jail called’Penjara Besar’ Daily I biked passing the prison on my way to the open air market. When I passed I was always thinking ‘maybe he will walk outside’, but nobody to see around. I had also to pass the Kempeitai offices but that gave me always the creep. I bought some food to give to my father, just in case he was also locked up with many other men.

I never went to the jail to inquire if my father was locked up there, that was to dangerous for me.I stayed far away from the Kempeitai as the horror stories we heard of the way they were treating inmates.

So I went to the ‘Benteng’ the old fortress where many people were kept jailed.

The food I bought was wrapped in banana leaves and I had some fried bananas as desert. This food was for my father if he was there.

From the main road of Malioboro to the main entrance of the Benteng (Ford Vredenburg)was a paved road with a guard house located on the left hand side, made for the Japanese soldiers that had to guard the entrance.

I walked to the guard house with the food in my hand and asked them politely in the the Malay language if I would be able to see my father if he was there.The officer stood up and came with a bamboe stick and before I knew it I was beaten on my behind in order to teach me how to bow before speaking to an officer.

The beatings were not that hard, but the bamboe was split at the end so the stick went right through my thin pants that I was wearing and had opened my skin and I was slightly bleeding. From that encounter I still show the Marks today.

I don’t think it was their intention to hurt me, but later on it looked worse than it was. The food was left behind, but I am sure they ate the fried bananas them selves.

We the 4 kids Muller were a bunch of gypsies that constantly moved around.The old couple Lipschart took us in and their house and garden were completely surrounded by a 3 meter wall, with a double wooden door as a gate. In the yard were some coconut trees and some other and different fruit trees, there was also a garden work shed and lord behold there was my fathers wooden toolcase with all the tools still inside. It is the question how it got there and I still don’t know that today.

The gardenboy was deaf-dumb but very muscled.He taught us how to smoke and showed us more tricks.

Charles lives in the same street but on the other side of the prison and when I walked to his home, I always took the short cut via the rice fields, behind he is living now. It always was lush and green.

One day I was walking to Charles through the ’sawahs’( rice fields) where the harvest was in full swing. Everything was a golden brown.

Behind me was a moving sound and when I looked back I saw an enormous large Phyton about 3 meters long and coming towarrds me.I sprinted away immediately and did not stop till I reached Charles home.

What a scare!! After that time I did not take any more short cuts to go to Charles.I just took the road as I did not like taking chances with snakes or any other wild animals.

Now that my mother was locked up, there was no money coming in.The old couple could only give us a roof over our heads, but food we had to find some where else.

Armin the deaf-dumb gardener cooked some kind of porridge in a piece of cut bamboe that he baked in the fire, till he had some kind of cake that he devided amongst the three of us. It was not tasty but well filling.

He showed us how to climb a coconut tree and we became specialists in climbing coconut trees. He taught us that when we were in trees we had to watch out for poisonous milipeeds as they could bite you and sent you to the hospital. Now he showed us how to kill them.

Later on he was shot to death by a road guard as he would not stop and not reacted on their yelling commands to halt.

My younger brother was two and a half year old and cried constantly for his mother. Amin was rolling a cigaret in a dried palm leave and used this as cigaret paper called’clobot”.

I asked him if you could smoke the palm leave without tobacco and assured us that it could be done. We rolled a cigaret and let my little brother have a few pufs.

His face lit up and we let him smoke by himself. This was the only way to keep him still. Since that day he never stopped smoking.

I was worried that we were out of school too long. I did not know anyone that could give us lessons to pass elementary school. I found at home where we lived with the elderly couple a stack of books called ‘ From ‘Now and Then’. History books. Now I was reading loudly and consumed the whole stack.

The old couple never had any visitors and they never let us know if they had family in Djocjakarta. We hardly saw them, very strange.

Amin went out quite often and walked to every place in the neighbourhood. He asked us to join him and we did. We walked across the street from where we lived right through a kampong where there were 2 large ponds with large fish in it. These fish are called ‘Gurami’s.

I thought right away to get my fishing rod to catch me a few, but that was not advisable, because these fishponds belonged to the Kraton, the Palace home of the Sultan of Djokjakarta.This pond should not be touched at any price!!.

But my thoughts were to fish there at night, but that never came to fruition. It would be a nice meal in comparison to the dirty food we ate.So strange it was, that my younger brother Laurens never had any trouble with eating, as he ate the same food as we did.He was allowed to smoke as much as he wanted, as long as he kept his mouth shut.

I heard from Charles that there was a Hungarian Friar by the name of Csizmazia( I hope I spelled his name right) that he rounded up these orphans and clothed and fed them.

So my brother Ries and myself went to see the Friar, who lived in the side building of the main church in Djokja.Located in the area of Lempuyangan on the street named Karreweg in the colonial time.

The Friar asked us what we intended wanted to do, as his motto was ,’ you want to eat then you must do something for it’. (mau makan, harus kerdja).I had the choice of joining the choir or as altar-boy to continue my life.

I thought singing was for the girls, so I chose the job as altar-boy.

Immediately a thin missal book in Latin was pushed into my hands and I had to learn this booklet by heart, which I did. I still recite the Confiteor as fast as I can do it. Even today. You never forget what you learned as a child.

After a week the Friar tested me for accuracy and now I was allowed to help the Priest in setting up a mass.

I got now a meal of rice in the Pastorate, only if I had served that day.

During the war there was no more import wine, but only ‘rice wine’ so called Tappéé Wine and was made from sticky rice with liquid sugar and yeast. That was just fine for me to drink this wine. In fact that tast better than real wine.

Because I was allowed in the area of the vestry, I had to pass this huge bowl of Tappée wine several times and had a glass full, which went down with one swallow, every day I had to serve.

At home we were never raised religeously by our parents. Though my father told us every time to be respectfull to everybody.

The only thing I knew , that when I went to church with Charles on Sundays, was to attend the Mass celebration in one of the catholic churches in our area where we lived.

I never knew what they were doing there. I have only seen them pray with devotion. The Pastor in his beautiful church outfit. Who was yelling his message to his congregation that they were all sinners.

Now that I knew the booklet in Latin by heart and could answer the Pastor. There was still one problem. What is this all for? For me the Nassi(rice) meal.

How do you ever reach religeous contact with the Holy Spirit and God. I never knew how to do that. Till now I have never seen the famous light.

Charles my friend did see the shining light long time ago and is so holy as can be. From this period I prayed to have christ come down from the cross, but I always had the feeling , what I am doing this for, but you never know.

Every week I had to attend one hour of Catechism and listen to the interesting stories out of the grey old past.From strange lands and the wonders that Jezus performed in Palestine.Why were these healings only in Palestine and never any where else in the World?

And why not here in this very difficult time we were going through. If God could do everything why was he not there to help the people, that were suffering and starving to death.

At my age then , those stories out of the past was to keep us sinners quite.To let us belief that christianity was a better belief then any other and that we were closer to God then all the other believers. We as Young boys were already brain washed.

The Friar once in a while organized a field trip to a mountain village that was located 25 km away from where we lived. While we were walking , he was following us in a grobak(cart drawn by a Zebu) with all our vacation gear in it.

We stayed overnight in a rebuilt farmhouse. It was so cold in the Mountains. In the daytime we went for long walks and when we came back at dusk we had campfires to keep us warm.

We only stayed for three nights, when we had to return early in the morning, which was down hill and faster. The days we spent in the mountain farm house were so far from the war. We have never seen a Jap anywhere.

Across from the church in Lampuyangan, there were several very nice houses, which were surrounded with barbed wire fences.It was mainly for the white Dutch children, which I seen walking around. During that time when I served as an altar-boy, I was never able to make contact with them. You were not allowed to come close.

Years passed without no change. I have seen more people in rags and a lot more beggars with Bery Bery sickness roaming the streets.

Somebody came along and told me that my surrogate mother and former wash maid Cuci was housed in a house for the very poor not very far from our place.

I immediately jumped on my fathers bike and drove to see if I could find her.

On a dry piece and dusty piece of land where a lot of people and I asked them if by any chance they had seen Cuci or know where she was.It was in the afternoon and dusty and very warm. This dry piece of land was guarded with barbed wire and I stayed in the street outside the fence.

I waited there only for a few moments when I asked them to call for Cuci, when suddenly I heard a voice saying ”Njo”and there she was. Very skinny but still showing her smile towards me but hardly recognisible.

I stood there crying and asked her to come outside, to join me and stay with me and if she had enough to eat and drink. I told her that I was going to get her some food and something to drink and that she had to wait for me until I came back.

I never in my life paddled as hard as this on my bike to go home. I filled a bottle of water and corked it. In the kitchen we still have some left overs, rice and food stuff(sambalans)and wrapped them up in banana leaves and all of that I wrapped in a towel and biked back.

When I arrived Cuci my dear surrogate mother was gone. I stood there crying and screaming her name. Cuci—Cuci !!but she never came out.

I think she got in a quiet corner and sat down. She had seen her little boy and now could pass away in peace.What has she been a loving mother for me.A real caring mother.Missing her is still hurting me today. Even at this moment, I am ready to cry when I am thinking of her.

The moment I found her and had the opportunity to speak to her is and always will have a great impackt in my life. That was part of my trauma that I got , during those terrible war years.To not find my father, my mother still in jail and not to see my Cuci was a memory not to be forgotten.Three years passed, me my brothers and sister lived like gypsies and not knowing how long this would last.

At my Young age of 11 years old it was so hard to exist. I don’t know what to say here, but I was close to having a break down.. I was sometimes thinking I was loosing my mind. On advice of my friends and Friar Csizmazia I prayed so hard to Jezus on the cross. But you know, nothing happened at all.

It was getting crazy to find food which became harder and harder to come by.As I said before I was not alone, but there were the four of us.

The Lipscharts could not support us anymore and wanted to sell their home.

We did not know the real reasons why, but that did not matter as we were on the road again to find shelter.I got heart murmurs, maybe of poor food and not been able to consume it on a regular base and being short on vitamins. I had to rest and was told not to do to much. How do you do that under such circumstances.

A sister of my mother was able to find us a room with her parents in law.This house was not so far from the Government buildings and the radio station.

Early in the morning I was sunning myself, till the temperature got a little warmer and then I returned to my room.

15 August 1945 Japan signed the unconditional surrender on board of the American battleship” Missouri” in Tokyo harbour. 17 August 1945 Sukarno established the Republic of Indonesia from his home in Djakarta. The radio station in Djokja announces the freedomfight over whole Indonesia.This radio station was not far from where we lived at that time.

That was the same radiostation that we daily listened to, formerly called the “NIROM” that we had to listen to and now was used for the proclamation of being indipendent from the Dutch. This was a thorn in the eye for the Dutch and especialy for the authorities that were now living in occupied territory.

18th august 1945 I was doing my morning routine again, sitting in the morningsun, when all of a sudden two waterplane bombers were flying over very low and returned after making an Immelmann maneuver to come back from where they came though they came in a steep dive towards me it seemed and opened fire and loosened their rockets just above me. The machine guns were rattling and rockets launched all together, just above my head, which made a tremendous noise.

They left the same way as they came. The rockets have missed their targets and a building next door was on fire. This can happen during wartime. Half an hour later I still had heart murmurs and was shaking from shock.

We were able to pick up the inmates of Ngawi camp prisonners at the local police station. 17th Aug. ‘45 Maybe my father could be amongst them. I peddled as fast as I could to the police station and there they were lined up. Eight or nine skeletons with hairdo’s, long beards and dressed in dirty rags.

I did not regcognize anyone that looked like the father I had known. I started to cry because not one of them matched my immage.This was just a terrible moment to know that he was not amongst them.

I had no idea or feeling to know that my father was no longer there. Panic took over. When one of the skelettons asked me”who are you” I answered Muller!.when he answered ”look straight ahead” and you see Muller.

I wanted to hug him in the worst way, when he yelled not to touch him, because he was covered with lice and other critters, he also did not recognize me after three years.

We flagged down a Dokar ( Buggy pulled by a horse) to go home to an aunt of us where we stayed just a little while.

We undressed my father in the garden and right away we took him to the bathroom and cleaned him with all kinds of detergents. Old camp clothes were burned and he got a haircut and shave and now we recognize our father Lodewijk Müller once again.

There were more families that got together the same way and everyone tried to re-establish them selves.

Not long after we were reunited with our father and mother, a lot of shooting was heard at night, that continued for two days.

That no bullet passed through our house is a miracle.We never experienced such a thing and all of us were shaking in our boots. And we all crawled under the tables that were there.

These were the “Heiho’s” Indonesian soldiers that were trained under the Japanese to fight the Allies. Who became freedom fighters for Sukarno.

The military “Heiho” were willing to assist Sukarno as a rebel army to protect their freedom and getting rid of the Dutch colonisation. They needed arms and ammunition that were in the hands of the Japanese military.This then was a fight against the Japanese barracks near our house to obtain those weapons who were not allowed to release them.

A few weeks later, after the surrender of Japan, we were ordered by the Indonesian police to report to the main police station. Once again fully dressed and presentable. Men and boys above the age of 16 and women with their children were seperated. The men were transported to camp Pundung, an old tobacco plantation and the women and their children to Sewoe Galoer an old leper housing community.

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Concentration Camp ‘Sewoe Galoer’ middle upfront half kneeling Fried Muller and to his right Wim Stuyver and to his left his little niece Nancy Deighton. Left behind inmates a representative of the International Red Cross.

I went with mother, my brothers and sister to camp Sewoe Galoer, located on the south coast of middle Java. We were loaded in freight cars and driven to Sewoe Galoer.

Originaly this camp was used as a storage place for a sugar refinary.

Before the war it was to house lepers (R.S. Tegal Buret, a dependance of the Christian Hospital Petronella in Yogyakarta. During the war it became barracks for the Japanese Military, to protect the south coast of Java for possible Allied atacks.

These different sized barracks were built about a ¾ yard above ground level, to keep the water out in case of flooding during the monsoon season. It was also a deterrent against rats, scorpions and the likes, that made the living there a hell, there were 12 of these barracks and 2 deep sweetwater wells.

The camp was fenced with 2,5 mtr bamboe fence,(gedek), that was very hard to see through. At each corner there were elevated guard houses, that in the beginning were manned by Indonesian police men.

We all got a sleeping mat called a (tikar) made out of tiger grass. We the 5 of us, Tine with her 3 children and grandma Correwor from my mothers side were housed in one room. The size was 4 by 4 square meters. Tine kids were Jimmy, Nancy and Grace.

There we were in this 4x4 meter room with the 10 of us. Since the children of my aunt were still small, who gave us problems right away, the crying of babies, not having enough nutrition or they had dirty diapers.

Lucky my brother Ries and I , after we had lived in such small quarters for a month, were able to sleep now in a closed toilet, that was about 3x2 meters.

Nobody at that time wanted to sleep in a toilet of a leper hospital. They did not know the whole inside room of the toilet has been refurbished. We were the only boys at that time that had such privacy. This was the place where we were released of hearing the crying of babies.

But that was not the end of it, as we had to empty the pail of feces and urine every morning from the children. This was unbearable!!

This emtying of the pail was to be done early in the morning and carried to the far side of the camp, where all the latrines were located.

Most of the time to empty this pail of shit, which had to be cleaned afterwards. But most of the gagging was done when I was walking through the campground.

There were 2 open air toilets built over a fast running ditches (solokan), one for the boys and one for the girls, these were the only toilets for 350 people.These toilets were located on the other side of the camp seen from the location of our barrack. So in case of an emergency the closest thing was the front porch.

When I talk about toilets , these were bamboe floors but low built over the ditch with total 4 separate holes, separated with bamboe walls to ensure a bit privacy.

With a small bucket (gajong) which you fill before you do your doing for to clean yourself (tjebok) or the bamboe floor you mess up. The ditch has reasonable clean water, which came from the nearby mountains.

The problem was that the water ran first under the womens toilet before reaching the boys section. Clean water you never get when woman were occupying the toilet.So we took our chance when there were no women, but even so you get used to it.

There were two water Wells that gave sufficient water to drink and bath. There was a central kitchen that used wood energy for the big pots etc. And everybody got their daily ration.

You could on a private basis barter clothing for food with the local people or sell it to them for money. You could sell gold and silver to the locals, but you will not get a lot of money for that as the locals themselve were poor and had little to eat.

Oma Correwor was a scrappy old lady, that used to live in the hilly town of Oengaran, close to the city of Semarang.They had a plantation with a large living shed. In the past she was horseback riding with a shotgun over her shoulders on the grounds of the plantation and sometimes stayed there overnight.This plantation home sheds had windows with wooden bars, instead of regular trellises. There was a story that she slept with a machete under the window.

One night she heard a noise, someone with a long bamboestick tried to steal some drying clothes through the window. But the bamboe stick was to short, so he had to stick his whole arm through to get his loot. Oma Correwor got her machete and hit him over the arm.With a loud scream he withdrew his arm and dropped the bamboestick that fell to the ground.

The hit could not have been severe, as no blood was found the next day. Oma Correwor told her children and grandchildren that she shot wild pigs and a tiger. But the tiger story we did not believe, because we always thought these stories were told for the little children.She never told us ghost stories as she was scared stiff herself to talk about this subject.She changed her believe in God several times. First she was Protestant, then Reformed, and finally the Pinkster believe where she now felt at home.

Correwor originally was born in Antwerpen and had probably Jewish parents. Her name was Corrie Jacobs. She was adopted by a family with the name Bongers which she used later as her family name. They migrated to the Dutch East Indies where Correwor grew up and met her future husband.She was light skinned in comparison of my grandfather Opa van Dietz, who was quite dark skinned.(see picture.)

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Family van Dietz in Oengaran, on the right Tine sitting 10 years old.

Back to Sewoe Galoer. I immediately offered my services to do od jobs, but that did not turn out to well. The only thing that was offered to me was to transport firewood from the main gate to the central kitchen. That was 15 bundles of cut wood on my shoulders every day 120 meters a trip and they were quite heavy bunches.

I did this every day till one day carrying a bundle on my shoulder walking to the kitchen, when I and the bundle fell to the ground with a very paifull Sting in my neck.

It must have been a scorpion sting.After that experience I refused to carry a wood bundle by myself, as it required two boys now. In the camp I had no contact with boys neither with girls that were older then myself, but actual with no one at all.If that had to do with my age. I don’t know.

The only people that invited me, was the family Vermaes, to come over in the evening to Rosary prayer.The reason of that kind of praying, I could not understand and I stopped it immediately.

The parents kept their daughters and sons inside as there were a lot of strangers walking about at night which could be dangerous. Not a boy was seen at night, afraid of being sent to a camp for men, that was my thought anyway.

There was only a Dutch boy called Benno Mensing, that I met so now and then and we were talking all kind if issues. He was here only with his grandmother. Benno became sea captain with the Dutch Royal Navy later on. Just like his father who was also in the navy.

I passed all the barracks to ask and see if I could get anything to do. The answer was usually negative, so I had nothing to do. I still had to empty a toilet bucket that was located in my aunts room to bring it to the open toilets. I had to walk with the bucket to the open toilet at daytime and that give the creeps, only to think of it starts me to vomit already. After emtying the bucket you have to rince it in the ditch, which is not a dirty job.

We had no books to study or read. In the meantime I did not have any schooling for over 4 years and staying in Sewoe Galoer added to this problem. I was very worried that I would fall behind. But not one of the teachers in the camp would give lessons except to their own children.

Every time I was thinking when this debacle would end. That I once again could live in harmony with my parents and to see them back once again.As that was my greatest fear That I was not able to get schooling and had to go through life with not being able to read or write.

I did that time a lot of soul searching and crying over this problem.I did not like to go through life as an ignorent person. I did not know that I was walking around like most of the children from my age with a big trauma. Like all the persons who suffer from this war.

Half way through this internment due to vitamin deficiency, I got tropical sores that could not be treated. The local nurse Detie van Zeventer treated my sores with all kind of ointments but no reaction to close the wounds. My feet and knees were totaly bandaged.I got a complex that people could smell me now ( as I had a few complexes)already.

I could not play footbal or other games where you had to run for, because of the sores I had.

Nobody asked me if I would like to eat something in order to get well again, as they had not enough food for themselves.

Most of the women cooked for themselve to give as much vitamins to their own children.

I saw that many women had no good utensils for their woks and were not handy to make something for themselves. I got the idea to make spoons out of the hard coconut Shell. I ground the Shell in the shape of a big spoon. Cut a square hole at one end, to put the bamboe stick in it and fasten the bamboe stick to the Shell and the large spoon was made.It took me at least one day to make one spoon, but it was worthwhile to do. I made 6 spoons and went to peddle them in the unknown baracks. Everybody wanted such a spoon and the rest of the camp time was used to made these spoons. The women were enthusiast to have a good utensil. I don’t remember how they paid me, but not with money, they had none.

Later on I made smaller spoons. The smaller spoons I gave away to these women that treated me with a bit respect and the ones I liked and said hello when I passed.

Really , I was thingking about a girlfriend as I had no chance to speak to them.They were kept far away from me. There were some young women that walked around looking for trouble and there were some beauties in the bunch and they noticed my interest and blocked my physical behaviour.I was 13 years old and ready for sex.

Sometimes it happened that there were men walking about at night in the camp.They were spying on the women and they were really peeping Tom’s.We never got to know if they were guards or local men.

The female camp commander Mrs.Bos decided to install guard duty for all boys over 12 years old.They had to patrol the camp from 7 till 10 in the evening.

In the morning it was decided, where each couple of boys had their watch section.We walked around with home made bamboe spears to defend ourselves.Really very dangerous to meet some of your friends in the black of the night. Who could get seriously hurt.

The worst thing we faced were the low hanging wash Lines. Many boys ran into these and had serious wounds on their necks. As long as we were walking our beats there were no incidents. I came to the conclusion that the women that saw men running around at night was a fantastic illusion in their minds.

A lot of women that did entertain the children with songs and stage plays and keeping up the low spirit of the grown ups did an exellent job and should be knighted.

In December ’45 we entered the camp of Sewoe galoer.

October or November ’46 some trucks were waiting early in the morning in front of our campgate. Suddenly our names were called and we were ordered to stay ready to leave immediately with the trucks direction Djokjakarta. We were sitting on a heap of trunks and suit-cases direction Djocja. We arrived there late in the afternoon and we had to leave the trucks at railway station Tugu. At the evening we had to enter a blinded train which will drive direction Batavia.

We arrived early in the morning at the River near Bekasi, we just passed the Demarcation line. Lots of Gurkha soldiers all around. They all were wearing black berets, short guns and a large Kukri knife on their backs. These were the shocktroops of the British Army.

The Indonesian TNI soldiers left the train and Gurkha soldiers replaced them. We drove to Mangarai station where the red cross was waiting. We had to leave everything in the train and have to undress us to be sprayed with DDT and getting a new short trouser and shirt. We were free!!!

At the red cross station you had a choice of 2 pair of shorts and 1 T-shirt or one pair of shorts and 2 T-shirts.

Later on we heard that the director of the Red Cross was selling 1 T-shirt and one pair of shorts by the thousands pair to the local people and pocketed the money for himself. Though the arrangement of distributing clothes to the camp inmates came from himself. Nobody ever said anything about it and he was never charged. Dutch colonial politics at its best.

For the First time we felt freedom and security again. The feeling of freedom and that you did not have to be scared is a feeling you can not describe, which I will treasure the rest of my life.

My father who arrived earlier in Batavia before we did, from camp Pundung was waiting for us at the Mangarai raiway station. He drove us to our future home belonging to one of his sisters.The house had a pavillion and we could use a couple of rooms till we could find a house on our own.

I was only a week in Batavia when I got a Malaria attack. It was the Malaria Tropicana. It was a severe attack.

My tropical sores were gone, because I had to swallow a lot of vitamin pills.

After my malaria attack I got Jaundice and I was bedridden for several weeks, before I was able to go back to school.

Speedschools were set up for all those children, so you could catch the schooling time lost during the war years.You could do in 6 month what you used to do in 12 month.

We had a lot of family from my father side living in Batavia. We visited them on the week-ends and New Year. Every Saturday I visited my grandma from fatherside.This was my Oma Dik. In the Dutch language “Dik” means fat., which she was not. At least when I came there.

I always went early in the morning to her, to get something sweet and she baked me always something special. When I left she gave me always a guilder and a half to go to the movies or to buy some sweets.

I had very little contact with the rest of the family, except with my cousins, the sons of my fathers oldest brother, whose name was “Vent”, who took us several times hunting to shoot some wood doves.

At that time the freedom fighters from Sukarno were very active and were very busy with their activities.

Though my cousins were also a new item in our relationship with the family. They wanted to know what sports we did and in fact the only sport we did in our youth was boxing by Tji Loth. To keep us a bit neutral we never told them that we have learned bit boxing.

They had boxing gloves and when we are there they invite dus always for a sparring session. We did not know how good they were, so we always turned the invitation down though when we more often we were more open to our cousins and we agreed to do a sparring sessions against my cousins.

So I started to the best trained cousin and I told him a sparring session only. Yes yes a sparring session only was his answer. So Ries was referée. So the First round was a bit looking what he could and how hard he would dare to punch.

Also from my cousin side was a more invitation to give more punch, so I started to hit harder and his response was the same. I was afraid to hit him to hard on the face and stopped after the third session. I don’t want to damage our relationship by knocking him out.

So when we are not sporting we make some rockets from rifle ammunition. Heaps of ammo everywhere that time and all the children are playing with it. There was some type of ammo which exist of long sticks in the cartridge and I like this type of ammo most of all.

With all my small cousins we opened a hundred cartridges and had an enourmous heap of gunpowder. We were sitting on the front porge of the house which is three stairs above the garden ground. There my uncle had two small shipguns standing as decoration. We had really nothing to do so why not filling up those guns with real good gunpowder.

Opposite the front porge at the other side of the street was a small factory of those three-wheelers (becak’s), which you find in each large city in Indonesia.The factory wall was quite long but not so high and the shop a 15 m further.

We propped up the powdersticks with normal journalpaper. Handfull of stones and again a prop up of paper which we stamped properly and we are ready to fire. We put some long ammosticks in the ignite hole and all was ready to fire. Though nobody dared to ignite.

The gun was directed to the other side of the street, but there was one small cousin who was a daredevil. We teased him that he was a coward. If he was stung by a hornet he took the burning insect repellent stick and placed it on the igniting sticks. It took a short while and then a short blast and lots of smoke.. Everybody was clapping in his hands, but then somebody of the group yelled to us to look to the wall of the Chinese threewheel maker and the nice white wall was full small holes from the stones. Everybody ran away.!! My uncle made a deal with the threewheel maker. All ammo was cleared away and the wall was repaired on costs of the municipality.

One day when we visited a rubber plantation to hunt wood-pigeons, when all of a sudden not far from us a machine gun started. The bullets above us hit the rubbertrees. The branches and leaves came tumbling down and you could see the damage to the tree with the leaking rubbersap./p>

We did not know, if it were our military or the freedom fighters. I think it was the Dutch army. One way or another., a miltary observer reported gunfire and not knowing we were in the woods hunting for wood doves, opened fire with their heavy machine guns.

This was our only incident during a hunting session, that we knew of, during the independance fight of Indonesia.

When we came back from such a hunting trip, we had about 100 birds and doves and the kitchen maids and other helpers started right away to pluck the birds. Either frying or cooking was the next stage.There was always Black and Sauer and then came the how-down in eating with your fingers. I enjoyed this very much.

In the summer of 1947 we went to the Netherlands. We boarded the MS Sibajak a troop transporter with a complete Dutch crew at the harbour of Batavia called Tandjoeng Priok.

The food on board of a troop transporter such as the Sibajak was pretty good. For myself everything after 5 years of horrible food during the war, is good. The bread buns for breakfast were delicious, though after one day they were stone hard that you could brake your teeth on it.

The trip via the Suez Canal took one month and the only interesting thing that happened was an enormous storm in the Gulf of Aden. The waves were tremendously high and tens of flying fish on the decks. Unfortunately we were not able to roost them.

Besides seasickness and puking people there were no illnesses on board. We stopped in Suez were we got winter clothes from the UNWRA.

On a Sunny fall day we arrived in Rotterdam 22-07-47 and were greeted by social services and assigned to a hotel near the Vinkeveen lake. We were transported by busses to this hotel.

We got extra coupons to buy butter and sugar.I still had jaundice and medical control and care was not there.

The reception in Holland was very cold and we thought we would be received by the Dutch with open arms, but this was a big disappointment for us.Maybe the Socialist Government was at fault.After the war years they had control over the country. And the winners get all, also this bunch of penniless people. This Socialist Government of William Drees was also afraid to deal the Social benefits with these colonial gipsies.

The hotel in Vinkeveen was split in two parts. One part for the new immigrants and one part for normal tourists. Our part wooden tables and chairs without any luxury, like cushion for the chairs or table-cloth. The other side where all luxury was exposed. Mainly very ordinary people with lots of money who frequented there. I would say warprofiteers or pimps with their girls.

Nobody welcomed us in the hotel and every one was very hard to talk to. As told before, in the hotel there was a beautiful dining room, Furniture for the guests with all the silvertable settings and for us wooden benches in another room.

The food served for the new immigrants was not edible. I think that during the war better food was prepaired then for the Germans then now for those coloured immigrants.

As told before, This Government did not want to import the Dutch from the colony into the Netherlands. Then they would be part of the Social system. According to the socialists this would interfere with the fight against the capitalists.The fight of these two parties was fierce and the Dutch people of the colony had nothing to do with it and had no right to get the fruits of this fight.This was told by the higher ups to pass this fight on to the masses.

Even the lower ranked socialists in Holland did not even know that this social system was introduced by the Germans during the war.Officially this was kept quite under the table.

The Dutch people did not know what was going on in their colony They completely were not interested what happened to the Dutch in the Far East!!.

In Dutch history books you don’t find what the 300 years of colonisation was all about. You never read about the slaughter in Atjeh and other Islands, where thousands of people were murdered by the VOC and the Dutch Army(K.N.I.L.).The United Nations and other International Groups never condemned the Dutch. All European nations had their hands full with their own colonies.( French Indo China, Hong Kong, British India,and the Belgian Congo).

My father started to look for a home in Amsterdam, but did not find any.We had to leave the hotel and were sent to a large house in “De Spiegel” area in Bussum. This house was real large and housed 4 immigrant families.

In Bussum I finally went to the high school (HBS) for the First time I was 17 years old.The large chocolate factory of “Bensdorp”was located in Bussum and when the wind blew into the right direction you could smell the chocolate.

This large majestic house we lived in was in “De Siegel” area of Bussum where formerly millionaires lived and a lot of Jewish people that never came back out of the concentration camps after the war.

Our house was designated by the city of Bussum to be used as home for immigrants out of Indonesia.

We got a combination dining-sittingroom with a nice fireplace, two bedrooms and only one bathroom for 4 families.

It was a widow and her son that managed this place.This big house had a large garden with a front and rear entrance.

We were very glad to see friends of ours The Kellers living in the same street behind us in the Graaf Floris Lane. During our internment in Sewoe Galoer Indonesia they experienced the same conditions as we did . Maarten (Max for us) Keller was a good in sport and later on we played Rugby together.

My brother and I joined the local Rugby Club in Bussum called ’t Gooi’ and Maarten Keller played the position of centre scrum.The heavy knockers of the game. Ries and I played quarter back, fast runners.

This was and still is a very hard sport.After every game when I came out of the shower, I was wrecked and could hardly walk.

Next to our house was another of these castle homes and was occupied by a woman with a bunch of beautiful daughters. That only said”hello” when I met them in the street, but that was all.

The immigrants that stayed in the Vinkeveen Hotel thought that help would come soon from the social services.They were fooled as nobody showed up to show them the way in this new Homeland, nobody of the social services came to show or guide them to get in touch with the right people and the right offices. Disgusting!!.

We realy thought that the Dutch people would know about the terrible time the Dutch had under the brutal occupation by the Japanese. On the contrary. They did not know anything about the colony and I think that the Dutch government did not like anybody to know what happened in the Dutch East Indies. And to issue news what and did happen in the Dutch colony.

Many people that returned to the Netherlands and were living in reception centres were walking around with trauma and for a long time had no help.

If I now analize the situation of that time then I can say in 2 words:”zum kotzen” as this sounds harsher in the German language than in the Dutch language where they say “om te kotsen” that is less harsh than the German way. They understand it here better too.

In Bussum I went to my first high school called HBS’t Gooi’, This was a very dificult time for me, because of the lost time of the primary school durng the war and I walked around with a strong inferiority complex, because of the lost schooling years. I was not the only one that had problems that way.Thousands of young people had these trauma problems, that was not known or did not get any help. Psychologists were not yet available that time.So most of the traumatised people had to forget their problems for the time being, some of them were handicapped for life.

I stayed and passed 2 years on the HBS ’t Gooi’ and went then with my parents back to Indonesia in 1949. My father was needed at the railways in Indonesia. He was stationed in Djakarta and got a house in Meester Cornelis (Djatinegara). We had there again a house from the railways, five minutes walk from the railwaystation. I went to the CAS highschool on the Koningsplein in Jakarta.

The CAS was a school for children of Dutch expats. It was before the war an elite school. There were problems to enrol me at the CAS. My father is not an expat and therefore my enrolment could not be done. My father had by accident his .45 in his shoulderbag and lay that demonstratively on the table before him. Their was suddenly no obstruction anymore. That was ’49 Indonesia became indipendant that year and there were still Dutch people there who were living in the year ’39.

1949 We were going to live in Amsterdam and I moved for schooling to the 4e 5jarige HBS on the Roelof Hartplein. Was an known old High school with even old teachers. I had problems with languages, German and Nederlands( Dutch). I never got a higher average of 5 on my yearly report for language. My German teacher told me always, “ you will never talk German in your life”. Its the most fluent language I speak now. Next to Dutch, English, French, Spanish. My father was needen in Djakarta to get the steam locomotives rolling again.

My father booked us a trip back to Djakarta on the luxurious MS “Oranje”which was one of the better Dutch ships. It was a very fast trip back without any important thing happening.

We had a house in the Spoorlaan in Meester Cornelis near the railway station. The houses were owned by the railways as we had previously in Tjibatu and Djocja.

When we disembarked from the liner in the port of Tandjung Priok we traveled by car in order to go to our house in Meester Cornelis. We noticed little change in the City of Djakarta.

What we found when we arrived at our house in Meester Cornelis was a whole stack of arms. I asked my father what was the purpose of all these arms.His answer was “you never know”, I was worried about this.We had enough bad times during the occupation and decided not to have anything to do with it anymore.I had my share of starting this again.

I got to know a lot of boys from our neighbourhood that traveled with me on the train. All of them were in the same situation as myself. Years behind at school.

The schooltime was mostly from 7 AM till 13 PM. Half an hour by train till Meester Cornelis. Half an hour noon meal. Rest of the afternoon nothing to do. But there was always time to take a dip in the River and walk through the campong (local village).For me that time there was no better way then to dive in the clear River water when it is hot and it was not very far from our home.

We always kept an eye open for terrorist activities. We watched the locals who always knew if terrorists were in the area. When there are then you saw nobody in the village streets, which not happened under normal circumstances.

Sometimes when we walked through the kampongs(villages) and said hello to the people and told them that we are going to swim in the River, they then adviced us not to do that, in case there was an accident, the whole militairy force would come down and the possibility of having casualties on their side was very large.

The Dutch military had special forces to help them in the field such as the Green and Red Berets. Who were just as cruel as the Japanese were during the war. One of their well known commanders was Captain Westerling.

As mentioned before I used the electric train from Meester Cornelis to Koningsplein where the CAS was situated. When we were in the train we passed a lot of plastic tents between and under the arranged wagons on the shunting tracks and many homeless people were living in it.There were hundreds of them.

If you had seen how poor these people were. The worst of this situation was that you were not able to help these poor skeletons.

A shame came over me that I was so lucky in this situation. I was fed well, had clean clothes and even went to school.

If you look below at the following Photo, where this woman is sitting near her fire and dressed in rags, you must admit that the Indonesian people realy suffered in poferty. Poorer then this persons picture was not to be seen anywhere in the whole World.

./beeld/arme_vrouw_47.jpg
this poor women had nobody that looked after her

These people had no way to go anywhere. Just imagine you got sick. There was no medical help and this was just near the railroad track.

Would my ibu(mama) Cuci have died that way?

After the war a large part of the Indonesian cities and rural areas were like this.There were no organisations that looked after them.You had to fight to survive, you had to steal to survive, you had to sell yourself to survive, you had to prostitute to survive. It was that time a chaotic World and still they slowly came back from chaotic hell. All side effects of the Japanese and Dutch occupations.

In december 1948 the second police action was started. The Dutch thought they could restore their previous empire during this action. These were idealistic ideas, but the Americans were thinking differently.

On 28 December 1949 The Dutch flag came down and was forever replaced with the Red and white flag of Indonesia.Now they were a free nation. The new republic of Indonesia was a fact and the shout of “Merdeka”(Freedom) was heard everywhere.

Spring ’51 we boarded for the second time in the harbour of Jakarta, Tandjoeng Priok the MS Castel Bianco on 27-03-1951. It was an Italian trooptransport ship with an Italian crew.

./beeld/castel_bianco.jpg
Families Muller and Deighton on board MS Castel Bianco to Holland

With us traveled aunt Tine with her 4 children to the Netherlands. In fact returning to the Netherlands was closing the door for us.

On board we ate a lot of Snert, boereworst en tuinbonen and don’t forget BB+R,(Bruine bonen met rijst) Browwn Beans with Rice.

Once again we were issued warm clothing in Suez, Egypt.

We arrived in Rotterdam on 24-04-51 and were brought to Amsterdam.In the boarding-house were already other immigrants that came earlier, their name was family Van den Adel and some Polish people.They were decommissioned militairy personel that did not like to return to Poland.They had a lot of visitors from the red light district.

I met these working girls sometimes in the Centre of Amsterdam on the Nieuwe Dijk, where I worked in a restaurant and wanted to go out with them but I have not enough money to pay these beautiful girls.

In the restaurant I worked First in the ice cream department, but I was giving a lot of ice cream away to the poor children.There was no profit in that. Then they transferred me to the kitchen, where I had to fry some eggs and had to be a dihwasher.Since that time I decided not to work in a hotel or restaurant again.

I was now back on the HBS at the Roelof Hartplein (square), which required 4 years of intens studybut I only finished the 3 years and did not complete this school.I did not have the guts to go on, as I had to go to work in order to get some money.I was not happy at that age not to have any money in my pocket.

My first job was working in a carton box factory as typist and in administration.

This factory was specialized in making carton boxes in all kinds of forms and sizes.

50 % of all employees were less than capable. However I could get along with them very nicely. Maybe they thought I was one of them, but I never found out.

The unfortunate ones hated the Owner manager very much, who was sitting in an office next to my desk, with his supervisor who also was his mistress and always peeled an apple for him during lunch break.

The First thing to do was typing letters on a very old and heavy typingmachine. From the First day I was employed I noticed a strange ritual going on.While sitting there and typing I noticed that at 12 noon and 5 o’clock in the evening a strange behaviour was done in front of my desk.

All enployees had to punch in and had to pass my desk to enter the working space in the factory.In the evening the roles were reversed and after having punched out , they had to pass my desk once more.All the staff that left the factory called out in unison “ ouwe lul !!“(old prick).

I did not know what I was hearing, about 25 workers that passed my desk, boys, girls, men women where individualy calling him this dirty name. First I thought it was meant for me, but quickly I realised it was not.

At noon during their break time they went outside to walk along the canals. Many times they would pick up the Telephone in a booth and would call the owner. When he picked up the Telephone he heard the person say”old prick” Sometimes the call came in unison from the call booth. Then the boss would come fast to my desk and asked me to go to see who made the call from the Phone booth.

I went outside and of course I did not see anyone of the workers in the Telephone booth. I did not want to become the target of these retarded bunch.

I only worked for Schwendemann box factory a short while, because typing in an office was not my choise in life.

Why I left Schwendemann factory so soon was that the boss did not wanted to pay me my first pay check, because he reasoned that I did not do my job fast enough. I entered his office to discus this matter in the afternoon and he asked me what I was doing there.

I told him I wanted my salary, otherwise I would quit immediately. He yelled Get out !!, Get out !! and I slowly walked out of his office and went to my desk, picked up the heavy typewriter and went back to his office and smacked it in front of him on his desk.

I did not know that the table board of his desk was so flimsy, as the heavy typewriter went right through it. I said I was sorry and went to pick up my jacket and left the office.

I was surprised he did not come after me, but when I was outside he did come outside. He asked me if I was carrying a knife(kris) and I answered him that for a head like his I did not need a knife but would have to use an ax.

These words were the very last words I spoke to Schwendemann. A month later I received my pay check on account of the Union. That was Amsterdam and I did not look for work right away but I was thinking about all kind of plans to get even with Schwendemann. I was thinking of putting the torch to his place” I got nothing you will have nothing. Was my motto. Lucky for me that there was a Union who interfered. Otherwise this situation could have changed dramaticaly.

My father could start immediately at Werkspoor NV, which was a very large Construction company. He had to follow all kind of training courses and follow lessons and doing all tests to place him in the material laboratory, where there was a shortage of skilled personnel. He worked there till his retirement and I think he worked there with pleasure.

I want to become a technician and where would I start in the beginning. I red in the paper that they were looking for people to work on the First super tanker and the drydock was located opposite Central station, called ‘Het IJ’. The company was an electro-technical outfit called Groenpol. I reported there and could start right away.

The next day I had to report to the supervisor of Groenpol and he asked me of my past experience in the way of Electricity. My answer was that I had no experience what so ever in Electricity. He told me to report to a foreman there and had a start pulling electric cables.

I thought pulling cables was not to bad, which I had done several times at home, but under in the belly of the supertanker, I found the foreman and his crew and was placed among them.

The cables had to be pulled by hand and were as thick as my wrist. The bunch of men I joined were ex- murderers, ex militairy from the German SS who have fought in Russia, ex- roberers and thieves just out of jail. To say it truthfully, From the beginning on never felt the friendship stronger than anywhere else there down in the belly of the Super tanker.

It was very heavy work to pull these cables by hand through the ship.When I was cycling home, I thought I broke my back. It was very strange that I felt not to be a stranger amongst them.To say it truthfully, I never felt the friendship stronger then anywhere else in other departments.

It happened sometimes that I forgot to bring along my lunchbox with sandwhiches and had nothing to eat at lunchtime.They ask me why I was not eating? The reply was that I left my lunch at home. One of the colleagues called loudly that Fried had forgotten his sandwhiches----‘Jan’ sandwhich for Fried----- ‘Klaas’ sandwhich Fried. At one moment I had more sandwhiches in front of me then I regular brought from home.

The friendship amongst these men and being part of this select Group was a feat that I will never forget.

At the same time I followed evening classes to become an trained electrician and I completed that in a short time.Then I enrolled myself at the MTS school for electrical Engineers.

Pulling the cables lasted only for a short time as I was not built for this, in order to pull these heavy cables. When the company Groenpol found out that I had my certificate of Electricity I was allowed to join the department of instrumentation. Now I was able to built instruments and test them afterwards.They were instruments of Sauter and Elioth.When these instruments were assembled , then had to be tested for accuracy.It was precise work and this was very much to my liking.

After this period I was allowed to built MCC (motor control centre) boxes and had to install them on those huge Super tankers. There were no more secrets for me in electro- techniques.

The big problem on ships were , that anything loose or mounted was stolen in a split second.There was a tall blond strong welder walking around the ship and I tried to talk to him.He asked me where I came from and I told him that my birthplace was Indonesia.He told me he served in the militairy for 2 years in the “Zeven December Divisie” (seventh december division ) and had a marvelous time in Indonesia.

He was working in the same area I was on the ship and brought me a nice apple every day. Just as a gift, what a nice gesture. He asked me if I had any problems and to call on him right away in case there are problems. Just that day I had to install all electrical switches in the crew cabins. I started with cabin #1- Cabin #2 and so forth, till I had them all completed.

It took about half an hour to complete one switch and to wire it as well.About 4 o’clock in the afternoon I completed the last switch when the foreman came by in asking me what I had done all day.

I answered that I had installed and wired all switches of the cabins. You did not a fuck today he yelled to me, so I yelled back. Then I yelled at him to check all cabins with me walking next to him.

To my big surprise it was that no cabin had any switches. What they have done was that when I installed a switch in the next cabin they robbed the previous cabin of their switches.

One night the thieves stole all the captains furniture. On the wharf was a beautiful copper ships propellor of 3000 lbs and over the week end it disappeared.

Back now to my switches. When all this yelling was going on, my tall friend , the welder appeared and I told him what just happened. He confronted the foreman right there and then wrestled him to the railing and yelled loud in his ear to leave me alone and if not he would throw him over the railing into the”IJ”.

I thanked him and told him what really happened. No problem he said there were some basterds running around that had to be dumped overboard instantly. Nice to have such an angel protecting you when things go wrong.

There were a lot of workmen walking around, that did not like the idea that there was a browny walking amongst them. Most of them belonged to the socialist Union and thought they were the only ones that were allowed to say anything and listen to their opinions.

The First winter on that ship was terrible. The “IJ” was frozen over and the temperature fell to -15°C. On the deck they had some fires in barrels to keep you warm, but not warm enough for me. I had long johns on and double woolen socks, a thick sweater and heavy parka and woolen toque. Furthermore heavy militairy boots.

The only bad thing about these boots were that they had steel plates in the heel. If you stood still on each deck before a control panel and was there to arrange the wires, there was always a change that the welder that worked a deck below had the change to weld you to the deck above. You would surely be welded to the deck !!./p>

Between the daily work and evening school, the school became the easy part and finally finished the last MTS class at day time.I thought my trauma over the war was gone. Though in later years it came back.I was able with therapies and discussions to eleminate most of the trauma.

My idea was to go flying. This idea came to me when I saw the Japanese bombers fly so low over our house during the war every morning.I sollicitated by the KLM to go flying as a Flight Engineer.

The airline refused my application due to the fact that I had no mechanical skill.I then went to the school for aeronautical engineers. I was given 2 years to complete the course and I did.

Applied again with the KLM and admitted to an intense course of training for Flight Engineer and succeed with high Marks. Though flying like an Flight Engineer was a mirage. What was the problem, it was in the meantime ’59 and Indonesia started to attack the Dutch on New Guinea. Sukarno cut the relations with Holland and sent the whole Dutch crew 500 men and women who were flying for the ‘Garuda’ Indonesian Airways, back to Holland. So there were suddenly hundreds experienced Flight Engineers available, so the youngest groups were placed as Ground Engineers. Though many refused and quit the KLM.

Well this is the beginning of my career in the Netherlands and the rest will appear also in bookform.

Note. 50 yrs after our entry into the Netherlands.

Very remarkable was also that most of the Indische (mixed) Group have a German family name. The question is of course how did they get those German names, they come from a Dutch colony.

It was difficult to get an identical statement. We have to get back very far in history of the VOC( Verenigde Oost Indische Company) and the colonisation of the East Indies to find a cause. The VOC was the first multicultural commercial enterprice who ownes hundreds of ships to transport all merchandise from Asia to Europe. Because of the large amount of ships many crew members are recruted in whole of Europe, mainly in Denmark, Germany and France. Most merchandise came from Ceylon, and East Indies. In that time there was no comming up for discussion of forming a colony, but everywhere trade posts were setup. Also these trade posts have to be manned and guarded. Also for these requirements Holland had no people enough to man these rural outposts. So they were looking for contractors to man these outposts. So like with the VOC Holland was looking for contractual expets to go for 5 years to the Far East. Also for this issue the countries around Holland were suitable to fullfill those obligations. Holland offered men a 5 yr contract to serve as a soldier in the far east or as another specialist. Many Young Dutch boys without profession and no job and having a fiancee or family gave them up to go for 5 years to the Far East. They thought bringing in so much money to mary their fiancee and feed their family for years.

Most of the Dutch guys have relations with their country. Germany that era was very poor and many people emmigrated to South America or to the East Indies. Not nececery as a contractor or militairy specialist. Like my great grandfather who was a farmer. He emmigrated in 1876 to the Far East and started a mail coach company in Depok on Java. His name was Gottfried Müller. He had no relations to his country. Got children with his Nyai and acknowledged them to the municipality as being his children in the town of Depok.

All those young Dutch fellows who arrived in the Far East get as soon as possible a Nyai (‘housekeeper’) in house . When children were born out of their relationship with the Nyai, they are informed not to acknowledgge their newborn at the municipality, this to avoid problems after finishing their contract. When they do so their children do not exist for the municipality and not for their family in Holland. Their children don’t get their nationality and can not follow them back to Holland.This was not done with the other nationalities. For this reasen there are for instance very few families with real Frieze names like, Hoeksta, Terpstra,Ydema etc.and other normal Dutch names.

I do not know why the Dutch authorities took such a harsh point of view towards the local inhabitants, they were mostly the servants of their workforce.

All those Nyai who got children from men who does not aknowlledged their children had to return to their family in the villages and were received as pariah’s, because she has lived and slept with the ‘enemy’. They had the same rank as the slaves. The children are hore children and these children are open to humiliation and torture as long as they live with their mother. It were not tens of them but thousands of those humiliated children.This as a spin-off of the colonisation. This humiliating of those descendants of the colonisation has been continuing till long after the decolonisation.

There was after the turn of the 20th century a Dutchman called Pa van der Steur who took these children in refuge in Magelang. There were hundreds of them who were fed and follow schooling and till now they were well known as the Steurtjes. Many of the boys enters the militairy school and the girls were trained for nurse. Pa van der Steur died just before the second WW. Should have been knighted alive.

  1. Gottfried, Ludwig, Mueller, born 01-09-1933 at Poewakarta. Son of Lodewijk Mueller en Paula van Dietz.
  2. Moved to Tjibatoe 1936. Attended Chinese kindergarten in Garoet
  3. Moved to Batavia 1939 lived in Chinese quarter, Pasarstraat in Meester-Cornelis.
  4. Moved to Djokjakarta 1940. Scool with the ‘Bible’, lived in Boemidjo Koelon, area housing railway personnel, had to leave the house after arrest of my father by the Kempeitai.(Japanese militairy Police).
  5. 1943 Mother arrested by local police.Children without parents, Laurens 2,5 years old. Kept quite with smoking. Is still smoking.
  6. October ’45 to internment camp Sewoe Galoer. Father to camp Pundung.
  7. November ’46 released from Sewoe Galoer, by train to Batavia.
  8. June ’47 To Holland with the MS. Sibajak
  9. June ’49 Back to Indonesia. Admitted at the CAS Waterloopplein.
  10. April ’51 Back to the Netherlands with the MS Castel Bianco.
  11. ’53 Started at Groenpol 1st Supertanker.of the Netherlands.
  12. 1956 Diploma Electricity MTS Amsterdam.
  13. 1958 finishing school for aeronautical engineers.Married to Truus.
  14. Start at KLM, start training for Flight engineer. Got home from the KLM at Badhoevedorp. Stop contract with KLM.
  15. Left KLM to work for chocolate factory van Houten in Weesp as Chief technical services.
  16. 1964 Left van Houten to DSM- Stamicarbon.Training start for Construction and start up engineer for Urea plants. Aldo born.
  17. First assignment to Roemania for Construction and start up Urea. Later on to Yugoslavia, Thailand, Germany,Roemania.
  18. 1967 divorce from Truus.
  19. Changed job to Coppee-Rust, Brussels, Belgium. First assignment to Israel as Site manager at Haifa for Chemikali Phosfatim.1970-1972.
  20. 1973-1974 Drilling Platforms Ekofisk field , Philips Petroleum, Dumbarton, Scotland. Superintendent module Construction.
  21. 1974-1976 Venezuela, Maracaibo, Site of El Tablazo.First Polyethylene plant.Married to Dorith Baratz. Allan and Nathalie born.
  22. ’77-79 Portugal, Sines.2nd polyethylene plant.Moved to Tremelo Damiaan dorp, Belgium.
  23. 1980-1987 Bontang Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia. Site manager in consortium with Lummus, Houston and Lurgi Frankfurt.
  24. Gave Coppee-Rust my resignation notice after 20 years service abroad. Started my own bvba Mulcon. Engineering and Consultancy Chemical and Petro- Chemical plants.1987-2010. Stopped Mulcon 2010.
  25. Started with writing books. To find via Google.
  1. Story of a Lad (English)(Verhaal van een Sinjo)(Kisah seorang sinjo in Bahasa Indonesia)
  2. Ceausescu’s dierentuin (in Dutch only)
  3. Draken en Lotusgeuren (in Dutch only)
  4. Archipellago der zwarte kunsten.(in Dutch only)
  5. Heilige grond
  6. Oliedruppels