Dutch East Indies in troubled times

COLONIALISM AND WAR .......How did my Dutch grandparents, who met in an orphanage, married 'with the glove' and left for 'Indië' with rising expectations, cope with Depression, Occupation, Japanese Camps, Anarchy and Revolutionary War? Bart Neervoort, successful business man, and André Spoor, colonial administrator, were relatives and close friends. Their wives and daughters spent years together in Japanese camps, whilst their sons were students in the Netherlands under Nazi rule. Partial liberation offered them the chance to join the Dutch colonial army, to help fight the Japs and rebuild their 'homeland.' Japanese capitulation however did not herald peace but dangerous anarchy and another war, of independence, in which André's brother, general Spoor played a major role. Without passing judgement from our easy age, the author tries to understand how these ordinary people coped with extreme historic circumstances.
About the author marliesterborg@gmail.com Marlies ter Borg-Neervoort is a philosopher and bridge builder. She was born in Indonesia on Christmas Eve 1948 at the height of the Dutch-Indonesian war. It took her 60 years to become aware of the belligerent context of her birth. She is now working with Indonesian scholars to build bridges between Indonesian Muslims and Christians.

A Tale of Two Families in the Dutch East Indies

Paperback 210 pages full color Available from Amazon.com Mijnbestseller.nl Amazon.co.uk Amazon.de ....

Lees meer…

1. Spoor & Neervoort

Spoor the colonial adminstrator and Neervoort the businessman and constructor were raletd through their wives. When they met agian in indie theyt became close friends, sharing happiness and suffering in the 'camps'. This tale ends when their children, André Spoor and Amelia Neervoort join in marriage. ....

Lees meer…

2. Orphans Neervoort & Schlahmilch

Bart Neervoort met his future wife, Amelia Schlahmilch, in an orphanage.....In May 1901, the mother of the family, Sophia died at the age of 43, due to intestinal problems that were incurable in those days. Half a year later, in 1901, Frederick also died, at the age of 48 of grief, intensified by the depressive gene which, as it turned out later, was present in the Schlahmilch family. Heartbroken, he was convinced that he could only be a burden to his children. Having arranged for his daughters to be brought up - in pairs of two - by two aunts, he may possibly have taken his own life. Suicide was a taboo in those days; even the church did not allow a proper burial if the cause of death became known. Read More: ....

Lees meer…

3. Childhood in the Dutch East Indies

Once through the Suez Canal the passenger ships were safe to sail on through the Indian Ocean to the harbour of Batavia, Tanjung Priok. There Bart would be, exuberantly waiting on the quay for his bride. Would he take her for a short honeymoon to the famous Hotel des Indes in Batavia? Or go a little further to the cool higher Buitenzorg, where the Governor General lived, to give Melie a chance to get used to the hot climate. After the honeymoon the couple sailed to Soerabaja, a hot and noisy city. Having always longed for an ordinary household, Amelia received an extraordinary one. From one day to the next she was promoted from a servile role of nurse/nanny to the head of a household with many servants. Djongos, men, and Baboes, women, for every conceivable task. Read more ....

Lees meer…

4. Building up Indie

The name NEERVOORT means going down is to answered by going on. Typically when the world and Indie crashed into economic crisis Bart looked for a way out for his construction company. He introduced low cost environmentally sound construction technology using local materials, ( waste from sugar canes) This his fortunes changed and he was able to build himself this villa, in Bandoeng where novel architecture was booming. However storm clouds were gathering. ....

Lees meer…

5. The Spoor family

André Spoor's father was a famous violinist. André came to Indie to uplift the natives and enforce the rule of law. His brother Simon chose a military career. ....

Lees meer…

6. Nazi occupation

The sons, André Spoor and Karel and Frits Neervoort were studying in Holland when the war broke out. For years they could not communicate with their parents, in Indie. As soon as the Souths Netherlands was liberated Karel and Frits with his new wife, joined the Dutch colonial army KNIL to help liberate their parents from the Japanese camps. ....

Lees meer…

7. Jap' Camps and Bersiap

When the Japanese occupied Indie Melie andAnnie were interned with their teenage duaghters Zus and Vonnie in Tjihapit camp. When the Hiroshima bomb ended the war, there was no peace or liberation for them. To escape the violence of the Bersiap period, Melie and Bart sought protection in the Tjideng camp, formerly the worst camp in Japoanese times. From there Melie wrote moving letters, which are included in the download below. ....

Lees meer…

8. Saving Indie

....

Lees meer…

9. General Spoor

General Simon Spoor was the commander in chief of Dutch forces during the Dutch-Indoensian war. Dedicated to destroying Soekarno's revolutionary forces, he lobbyed to gain political support for sending conscripts from Holland. Threatening to resign Spoor gained permission for the occupation of Yogyakarta, and the capture of Soekarno, This led to an increase of hostilities on both sides, and to war crimes by Dutch military. Below is an unique English language bio of the General. ....

Lees meer…

10. A farewell to Indie

TOBA LAKE by Leo Eland, 18841952 and TJOEMBOELOEIT, artist unclear............ Many Dutch men and women who had endured the 'Jappenkampen' and the Bersiap never went back. Not so the Neervoorts and Spoors. They were determined to help rebuild the war shattered country they had learned to love. However Indie was disappearing, inspite of the frantic efforts of general Spoor. The other family members learned to adjust to the new situation. They were not given much time. Personal tragedy caught up with them. READ MORE ....

Lees meer…

11. Family Trees

....

Lees meer…

12. Inspiration and Literature

Two books by friends on the same period. Miek Denekamp MJN VADER VOOR MIJ . Miek writes about her father who, after being interned as prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, served as a conscript in Java, a company commander in the second 'Politionale Actie'. Thanks to Miek for her editing and research suggestions. Jet Smalbraak LIEVE ALLEMAAL op zoek naar mijn ouders in hun Indische Jaren. Jet's parents were able as missionary docters to escape Japanese interment, but were finally imprisoned and experienced the Bersiap and start of the Dutch-Indonesian war in the Medan area, where my parents served with the KNIL. Our parents, our fathers never talked about this traumatic period in their lives. Jet and Miek belong with me to the Dutch generation whose fathers remained, as the singer Bouwdewijn de Groot sang 'Achter Glas' behind glass as a photograph that never speaks. Boudewijn lost his mother in the Tjideng camp when he was a todler. ....

Lees meer…