Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Story of "Het Interneringskamp" in Semarang

Part of  Sompok-Lampersari Interneringskamp, set up in a Gouvernment Ambachtschool, a technical school for the indigenous people taken in 1945 by J.R. van Diessen. Currently the school used as SMP Negeri 39 Semarang.
(sources: Semarang, Beeld van Een Stad). 
One's of the surviving building as a part of Sompok-Lampersari
Interneringskamp. This house has been used for the Camp Leader, the person
who responsible for the people inside the camp, one's of it role was to buy
food collectively outside the camp. The camp leader in Sompok-Lampersari
Interneringskamp recorded in East Indies Camp Archieves named
Mrs. W. van der Poel-Verleur.
When the Pacific War blow up and the Dutch East Indies fall into the Empire of Japan, there’s a policy from the Imperial Japanese Army to localized their “enemies”. All the people who were considered as their opposition, localized in a camp, here in Indonesia (Formerly, East Indies) its called Interneringskamp (eng: Internment Camp). Its contained Europeans, mostly Dutch, British, American, and some indigenous people mostly Ambonese and also Chinese who refused to collaborates with Japanese Authority.  Its like a retalitation policy, because in the beginning of Pacific War, on December 1941 in Dutch East Indies itself, around 2,000 Japanese, including women and children, was arrested and interned. Over 1,400 Japanese men, women and 300 Japanese 200 Japanese children were then transported to Australia, but the treatment in the camp set by the Japanese and those who set by Allied force were totaly different. In the Japanese camp, the combination of continual malnutrition, chronic lack of drinking and washing water, and heavy work were slowly made peoples inside it, perished.

A memorial plaque about the Interneringskamp Bangkong, 
placed beside the entrance to the church inside (2012)
Its said that in the Dutch East Indies in 1942 by the Japanese about 89,000 Allied soldiers taken prisoner of war: more than 42,000 European soldiers of the KNIL and the Royal Navy, and about 25,000 native KNIL soldiers, about 15,200 British and Anglo-Indians, about 5,600 Australians and about 1,100 Americans. Most of the native KNIL soldiers were released after a short time. The prisoners were discharged elsewhere in the Japanese Empire colony, including in the coal mines as miners, at different places in the Moluccas to operate airports, and on Sumatra, Burma and Thailand to built railroads. This kind of force labour called Romusha and from more than 42,000 European soldiers of the KNIL and the Royal Navy in captivity, from that number, approximately 8,200 peoples perished because of it.  The Japanese coverted housing complex, prisons, military barracks, schools, monasteries and even hospitals to became Internerisngkamp from 1942 until 1945.

Statue made made by Dutch sculptor
Anton Beijsens in 1988 in Ereveld
Kalibanteng, Semarang
commemorated the Youth Forced
Labour commited by the
Japanese during the occupation.
Here in Semarang, there’s five interneringskamp established, there are in Bulu (in Bulu Prison), Gedangan (Klooster Gedangan), Lampersari-Sompok, Halmahera, and in Bangkong ( Klooster Bangkong). Sompok-Lampersari , the largest Interneringskamp in Semarang, contains more than 8,000 women and childern in 10 hectares area consist of 240 semi permanent houses and 66 permanent houses, hospital and school buildings,  encircled with barbed wire and several guard post. The school were Ambachtschool (eng: Technical School), the hospital were Inlander Hospital, a hospital for the indigenous people, and the houses were part of the city municipality of Semarang project to provides it residents to fulfilled their needs of housing, known as Gemeente Kampong, here in Sompok was one's of the project along with five others area in the whole Semarang.   

Kamp Bangkong, in Semarang, which intialy set as Jongenkampen (eng: Youth Camp) and Vrouwenkampen (eng: Women Camp) in 1944, turned into only Jongenkampen with also contained elderly men, where the women were transfered into Kamp Sompok-Lampersari. The boys then taken as a forced labour in Kalitjeret, a labour camp set in an old christian missions station, approximately seven kilometres south of Kedungjati station. About 250 boys from the Bangkong and Ambarawa 7 were put to work as woodcutters in the teak forests near Kalitjeret. This event later commemorated in a statue made by Dutch sculptor Anton Beijsens in 1988 in Ereveld Kalibanteng, Semarang and also in Arnhem. The statues depicted a skinny, shaven head boy, dressed only in a loincloth carries a hoe in His shoulder, with his other hand holds an axe at the base. On the pedestal of the statue its written: ”Zij waren nog zo jong”, -they were so young.

Source: indischekamparchieven.nl

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