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.


Pasar Johar, the Traditional Market with Modern Structures

 Pasar Johar in 1938, from Djoernatan Weg (Jalan H.Agus Salim),  looks so clean and luxurious.  Far different from the current situation (Photos by: Troopenmuseum)
Market has an important role in the Economic sector of a city. Here could be calculated how the economic sector growth. The traditional market for me is the ideal place for the economic activity, because there was a nearly perfect economic competition models implemented here. Its not like in the supermarket, that the price is monopolized by the sellers, marginalizing the role of buyers as price takers. Well talking about Traditional market, in Semarang city there is a famous traditional market, Pasar Johar (pasar, eng: market), reputedly has been the largest in South East Asia in the past.

The history of Pasar Johar begin in 1860, when there is a market formed in the eastern side of the town square of Semarang (Aloon-Aloon Semarang) and its fenced by rows of johar (senna siamea) trees, Thus why this market called Pasar Johar. Considering the economic growth of Semarang city and also peoples demand of the sufficient market building, in 1933 its designed the compact, modern and large market by Ir. Thomas Karsten, where the shaped is adopted the shaped of Pasar Jatingaleh building.  This new building unites the role of five existed market at that time there was pasar johar, pasar pedamaran, pasar beteng, pasar jurnatan and  pasar pekojan.

Dutch soldier possed in front of Pasar Johar on 1945
(Photos by: H.J.Lankhuisen)
Its situated in the eastern edge of Aloon-aloon Semarang, maybe if we imagined its with nowadays situation its just like the shooping centre surround Simpang Lima Square, the shooping centre near the centre of crowd. Unfortunately, the aloon-aloon Semarang now is already changed into Yaik Permai shooping centre building. Back to the Pasar Johar, ithe main characteristic of this building is its six metres high foundation shaped like a mushroom, and the flat roof with elevation in some place as ventilation, makes the temperature cool even its have no air conditioner. This building fulfilling all the site that planned with no yard or open air place, makes its comply with Karstens purpose to efficencing the available land.

In 1960's, the north sides of building, meet  a change, and its added a wall around the fence, purposed to adding new room. This caused its appearance doesnt match with the past architecture and ventilation substandard. We can see the addition of structures seems like being forced, without considering the esthetic value of the building itself. We still could see it on the 2nd floor above the entrance Pasar Johar. What a pity!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tracing the Indisch Empire Architecture in Semarang

Koninklijke Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger (KNIL) inspection in front of De Vredestein (1947). During the Indonesian Revolution, the building functioned as the Headquarters of Tijgers Brigade of KNIL.

Travelling around the city in the afternoon is one’s of my favourite way to refresh da brain from da routinity. Thank God I’m domiciled in Semarang City where most of the old building still could be seen until nowadays, even some of them are disappeared, like a fact that I found it almost a months ago when I visited my lecturer house in Peterongan region, Most of the Joglo houses with the mixed architecture of Western and Eastern style being torned down, what a pity!

De Vredestein in 1945, by H.J.Lankhuizen 
Talking about the architecture of the old building, then I realized that its must be represented of the age that the building being built. Then I found an articles about the “Indisch Empire” Architecture. Anyway reading about the article itself, its so interesting because its has a relation with the periods of  Governor General Herman Willem Daendels (1808-1811). He affected colonial architecture in Dutch East Indies during 19th century. His style of leadership that was arrogant and tough has been succeeded to reborn proud of Dutch nation as a colonist and also eliminate Javanese traditional architecture that was started to adopt by some Dutch ‘aristocrat’ at the end of 18th century for housing development. Daendels’ governance initiated new style of architecture which is known as ‘Indische Empire’. The style has been adopted from ‘Empire’ style of France and has made some adjustment with local climate and life style of Dutch East Indies The style has been used in Dutch East Indies during 19th century.

De Vredestein (Wisma Perdamaian), the official
residence of Jawa Tengah Governor (2012)
The main characteristic of Indisch Empire Style Building was a large area of front terrace (voor galerij) and rear terrace (achtergalerij). And in the large building that adopt this style of architecture, mostly also have its pavilion beside the main building. The most dominated style of this style is on the style of pillars in the terrace that adopted the Greek or Romans (doric, ionic, corinthian) style, both on the ‘voor galerij’ or in the ‘achter galerij’ itself.

If we wanna see about the example of this kind of architecture in Semarang, we could see the De Vredestein (Wisma Perdamaian) building in the north side of Tugu Muda Monuments. Built in the era of VOC by Nicolaas Harting that became the Governor of the North Coast of Java  in 1754, this building became the official house of the Governor of the VOC and later after the collapse of VOC in 1799, for the resident of Semarang City. After the independence of Indonesia, this building owned by the government, and used as APDN (Academy of Public Administration) office in 1978. Then in 1994 until now,  this building was used as the official residence of the Governor of  Jawa Tengah Province, replacing its former residence in Puri Gedeh.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Aboekasan Atmodirono (1860 – 1920), the first architect from Indonesia

Aboekasan Atmodirono
Today we commemorating 104th of National Awakening Days. Despite the controvercies about the dates that stated as this national days, as the Semarang people, I’d like to share one’s of Semarang people who also contributing in the new way of struggle aiming the independence of Indonesia. Through education and his skills he opened the colonialist eyes that the indigenous people also able to have an ability as they have. He was Aboekasan Atmodirono (1860 – 1920), the first architect from Indonesia.

Admodirono Street, on
Central Semarang Sub-District
Atmodirono, graduated from Middelbare Technische School and successfully gained degree as an opzichter(supervisor). Known well as the dedicated person in his field of job, and his European friends granted him as de eerste inlandse architect (the first Indigenous architect), in the decades of ‘10 he serve in Departement van Burgerlijke Openbare Werken (Departement of Public Works) in Batavia. As the progressive movement of nationalism, Atmodirono also took part on it and joined in 1st Boedi Oetomo Congress and listed as one’s of chairperson candidates. When the Dutch-Indies government establishing voolksraad as the answer of the indigenous people aspiration of indigenous people political status, Atmodirono selected as one’s of the indigenous people representatives from Boedi Oetomo organization and also as the representatives from civil service of indigenous people association called “Mangoenhardjo”.

He died in 1920, and its little bit difficult to observe his life deeper. His name nowadays immortalized as the one’s of the road name in the area central Semarang district. His sketch of architecture posted as a book by R.A. van Sandick in 1921 and titled Levensschets van M.A Atmodirono.