HORRIBLE PICTURES DISCOVERED OF EXECUTION OF INDONESIAN COMMUNISTS IN 1948
The Hague- Photographic historian Louis Zweers found unknown, horrible photo's of the killings near Madioen (Java) of Indonesian communists after their uprising in 1948 against Soekarno's rule.
Twelve black & white pictures show phases of an execution by the Indonesian army (TNI). Members of the Indonesian Communist Party, tied with rope are interrogated, driven into a pit and killed by bajonetstrokes in the back. Young Republik Indonesia not only fought a war of independence against The Netherlands, but also a civil war against the communists and right-wing muslims of Daroel Islam.
Zweers found the photo's which have never been published when searching in an archive of the department of photography and film of the Dutch army. They were stocked as negatives in the Algemeen Rijksarchief in The Hague with a note saying: Photo's communists killed by TNI.
"I think these photo's can bring new light on historical events," says Louis Zweers. "../../../../I'm interested in the impact of pictures on certain events. For example the massacre in the Vietnamese village My Lai by US military on mai 16, 1968. The photo's taken by the American photographer Ronald Haeberle were published only in 1969 and then caused more upheaval than loads of text about the war in Vietnam."
The search by Zweers started last year for his book "Agressi II: Operatie Kraai - vergeten beelden van de tweede politionele actie", which was published last december. Zweers also found an internal note about the photo's by the Dutch govermental information office. H.
Leopold, as member of this office, when reporting the second politional action in december 1948, wrote that journalist Zandstra, working for 'De Lokomotief' found the pictures. "They were sent to Batavia right away." Leopold wrote at first christmas day of 1948.
Zweers presumes chief editor AW Colijn gave the pictures to Koenders, chief relations-office in the Dutch army. Editor Zandstra would have discovered the pictures, taken by an Indonesian photographer, at the occasion of the Dutch capture of Yogya.
Why were these pictures never published? "Maybe The Netherlands feared they would strengthen Soekarno's image in the American eye by photo's of his "'strong attitude" against communists." The American public opinion in these times at the start of the cold war would probably have favoured this action. Another motive could have been ethical restrictions on pictures of violence.
December 20, 1948 at the beginning of the second Dutch offensive against Indonesia, more than fifty prominent communist captives were executed by the Indonesian army. Amongst them the members of the PKI ex-premier Mr. A. Sjarifoeddin, and ex-vice premier S. Setyadit.
After the PKI uprising on september 18 1948 the Republik Indonesia captured tens of thousands of communists and executed possibly about 8000 of them. In 1965, seventeen years later, not under Soekarno's rule but under Suharto's, hunderds of thousands communists were dealt with.---