The drama of Depok

Posted: June 6, 2010 in Think!

Between the rice fields and bamboo forests, south of Jakarta we can find Depok, where hundreds of Indonesians still speak Dutch fluently. Here the Dutchman Cornelis Chastelein founded a small Christian Community at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Provided that they would convert to Protestantism, he gave his slaves freedom and a piece of land. Lien Heyting writes in the first of a series of articles about Indonesia, the tragic fate of the good town of Depok.

In the book of Roelof Abraham Samuel stands beside Schoolidyllen of Top Naeff a row Baedeker’s The Housewife . ‘Section 11 and 12 are missing, “said Ms. Samuel sorry. “I had already paid for, but when the war broke out and I no longer can get.”

The Samuels live in the Indonesian village Depok, 35 km south of Jakarta. On one side of the village flows into a green canyon, the river Ciliwung, on the other hand, is the oldest railway line from Indonesia, which in 1873 the first train from Batavia to Bandung drove through Buitenzorg. The platform of Depok, with its sloping wooden roof to elegant wrought-iron piles a replica of a 19th-century Dutch station as well: the station of Hulshorst or Lunteren have looked.
The Dutch tourists in Java for traces of our colonial past searches may, in the cities – Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya, Malang and Sukabumi – many of his liking: houses and buildings that the architecture of the Amsterdam School, Berlage and Dudok remember inscriptions (NV Sun , Villa De Kei, Toko Heaven), pharmacy interiors and libraries full of books Holland.

In the villages are such a quest in vain: the only witnesses are still red-tiled roofs of the “Holland Time. Depok is probably the only village in Java where the Netherlands is not gone. With his Protestant church, the cemetery full of epitaphs and Holland Gooise villaatjes which, between the tied curtains, red geraniums bloom, Depok appears sometimes as a Dutch outdoor museum in the tropics. The residents are Indonesian, but some of them have names and Holland next Roelof Abraham Samuel speak fluent Dutch natives from Depok hundreds more. These are all the remains of a small state that Christian salvation here ever by a Dutchman was established. Of salvation-state itself, that “in eternity” was blooming, has little: as with salvation States, be hit again fate more cruel far than ‘normal’ society where everything is already not perfect.

In 1695 came Depok hold Chastelein Cornelis (1657-1714). His father, Anthony Chastelein, was a Huguenot from France, fled to the Netherlands, where he took a job at the East India Company. Cornelius stepped in the footsteps of his father and was in 1674 when he was 17, already as large retailer ‘(accountant) for the VOC sent to Batavia. He made rapid career, married the daughter of the Council of India and bought one estate after another.
Now where is the center of Jakarta in 1683 the house had Chastelein Weltevreden building. This country seat, he founded one of the first Indian coffee plantations and also the first Indian zoo.
In 1691 he got into conflict with the VOC and especially with the then Governor General William Outhoorn, who advocated a more aggressive trade policy. Chastelein opposed this and wrote under the title Thoughts Incident comment on the colonies using a manifesto in which he dried weigher policy of the VOC convicted. He had then been withdrawn from the Company to further agriculture to focus on.
That the fate of the natives at heart he was shown not only by its ethical libel against the VOC, but also from his conduct as a landlord. When he lands in the 1695 Lilac Sing (now Lenteng Agung) and the area around his property in Depok had added, he bought land for the work that hundreds of slaves from Bali and Makassar. Chastelein showed himself to them a social conscience gentleman, but also a fanatic Christian, from all his workmen, he demanded that they would convert to Protestantism. Here, he does something opposite: he promised the 120 slaves of Depok that the twelve families that belonged to it after his death the entire estate of 1240 hectares. as a communal property would inherit from him and also that they would get their freedom. In his will he stipulated that “released bonded laborers in addition to her descendants” the land forever would “occupy income gebruyke.”
There were a few restrictions: sale of land was prohibited, there should not be thrown, no opium traded and there was located on the estate for ever any Chinese establishment. This latter provision Chastelein tried to prevent the trade in Depok in the hands of smart Chinese “would fall, as so often happened elsewhere. He wanted Depok would develop a community of Christians who only go to the true faith Java would spread.
The Chinese-determination was an unexpected result: they were of course still trading, but because they could not live in Depok and village always before sunset to leave, came just over the border of the estate a new village: Pondok (refuge) Tjina, still a train station between Jakarta and Depok.
Chastelein had been Depok slaves adorned with biblical names like Isakh, Jacob, Joseph, Jonathan, and Samuel Leander. The twelve families in 1940 had grown to more than 5000 people, still a strict Christian and Holland-minded group, compared to the nearby dessabewoners very prosperous. The natives from Depok lived until then the proceeds of their land, that by servants from outside did change from a local tile works and land rental.
In the 19th century there were two primary schools were built, where Dutch is the official language was . In 1874 there was a school of evangelism that “natives are trained and ordained to proclaim Christ among their own people.” After the construction of the railway in 1873 was the cool and idyllic village between sawavelden and bamboo forests are increasingly a commuter instead of Dutchmen in Batavia and Buitenzorg worked. Several natives from Depok married the new villagers whether they used their right to get Dutch citizenship. Around the end of the last century in the area the nickname “Belanda, Depok ‘: Hollanders in Depok.

This name still exists. But the number “Depok asli” (“pure” natives from Depok, descendants of the twelve slave families) which is still in “Depok Lama ‘(old Depok) lives, has now shrunk to about 1,500.
Then on August 17, 1945 the independence of Indonesia was declared, came to an abrupt end to the “Paradise of Depok. “All Depok were massacred,” wrote the Winkler Prins Encyclopedia, in its sixth edition from 1950. The reality was more complicated.

Roelof Samuel Abraham would not talk about the events in 1945 and subsequent years of the Indonesian freedom struggle. Before he refers me to his cousin in Holland ‘, Henny Isakh. As in all my sessions with Indonesians claimed, there are once again silence and asked me to pen down. Rather sits Samuel me to his coconut garden, bamboo grove, the last pieces Chastelein-land which he owns, to the soccer field, the wall still text Football Chastelein bears the cemetery next to the white tiled graves, where “our beloved HR father Balzar “next” Our parents loved A. Samuel and Samuel B., Leander ‘rest, beside the white Protestant church in 1854, where a memorial to the “Founder of the Community Depok Krist’ remember the old bridge over the Ciliwung who” have built by Dutchmen “, or old town with its white columns and platform, which now serves as a hospital. (There were, in 1945, Depok all women and children told they would be burned alive, but I learn later, back in the Netherlands).
sums up Samuel from his head a list of names of ministers in Holland, once in their church sermons and kept taking me back to his home. At the door he asks: “Do you know Euwe? Time world champion in 1935, we had a day off.” Before I go, he points me in a special sense Depok: “For us it is still an abbreviation of DEerste Protestantse Overzeesche Kristengemeenschap (The First Protestant Overseas Christ Community).”

Andjing Belanda
Cousin Henny Isakh (47) wrote 15 years ago, during his nurses Training, a thesis on his native village. He found another acronym: “DEenheid Predikt Ons Kristus (The Preacher Unite of Christ – *more or less). I speak to him in the nurses’ station of the Amsterdam nursing the Curve, where he just finished the evening tea has been around. A Isakh than a thousand natives from Depok who emigrated to the Netherlands. After a failed attempt as a stowaway aboard a ship to escape, he read in 1970 in an Indonesian newspaper an advertisement which asked the Netherlands to nursing forces. He applied, was accepted (“Because I Holland said, and this family got it) and left.
In the training he met his wife: “In the eyes of the Indonesians, she was also a Andjing Belanda, a Holland dog”: her parents , in Menado lived, spoke at home Holland. Knowledge of Dutch is now Indonesia again as a status symbol, but in the sixties you could be better not to flaunt. ”
He remembers how at the time when he in the train to Jakarta with his family conversed in Dutch, by the “Sundanese from Bogor” was shouted: “Amsterdam, Amsterdam!” or “Sinjoor Belanda. “Although most natives from Depok who now live thoroughbred Indonesians, that antipathy never completely disappeared, probably because Holland names. In an interview, you hear always someone quip:” There’s another black Dutchman. ”
Isakh was in the autumn of 1945 six years. He remembers that his uncle has been beheaded and that he with all children and women of the village was locked. Later he heard something else happened: “In October, Depok attacked by BKR (Badan Keamanan Rakjat), the nation security forces, or, as we have them when called, the” looters. “The freedom fighters saw the natives from Depok as traitors because what is in retrospect, understandable. We were put out of our houses, the houses were looted and burned, the men were taken to jail in Bogor and a thousand women and children were imprisoned in the town. After a couple of them there days without food or water had been, the women were told that the oil was ready to burn them alive. One woman, her name was Leander, when all mothers has convened a prayer. That same evening the Allies , British soldiers, our rescue and we were transferred to a camp in Bogor. When we post half year in Depok came back, we were left alone: many Depok boys had themselves been the KNIL connected. The KNIL had us protected until 1949. ”

A few days after the interview with Isakh is his story by older ex-natives from Depok supplemented in detail. OE Misseyer (57) fled in 1950 from Depok to New Guinea in the hope that this area would remain Dutch. After the transfer of New Guinea in 1962 he went to the Netherlands. He now lives in a suburb of Gelderland Ede.
Hidden in a tree he saw in 1945 how the house was BKR in Depok: people killed and threw into the river and houses on fire. He was arrested and the other Depok men to Bogor transported, where they are by one with spears and whips armed mob “gauntlet running” from the station to the prison were driven.
Like Isakh he can the old hatred of the natives from Depok now somewhat proposals. “It was true that Depok children with Indonesian children from neighboring villages are allowed to play.” What is it high enough that his former villagers now as second-class citizens “are considered.

Johan Fabricius , a Dutch eyewitness of the drama was Depok Johan Fabricius in September 1945 as a correspondent for the BBC and The Times newspaper to his native Indonesia pulled. In 1947 he reported on his reunion with Indonesia in the book How I found back Indies . This book is dominated by the Netherlands Indies regret that threatens to lose and pessimism about the future of the country, during his stay in ’45 in an unbridled chaos wrong everywhere armed Japanese were still around, many Dutch people lived – weeks after the Japanese capitulation – still in camps, uncertain about their futures, the Netherlands tried the authority to recover, while the freedom fighters aggressively been and all this had to Indonesian-based British troops the order sought to maintain. Refugees from Depok to walk to Batavia had been heard Fabricius what was going on there. With a few fellow correspondents and escorted by 30 British soldiers (“Gurkhas”) he went in October to Depok, where he ransacked houses’ in the middle of a “winter wonderland” found “Windows and doors with axes broke ground beef, the floors broken up into a feverish hunt for hidden money and now strewn with broken glass and china, with torn books, notebooks, photo albums, broken records, over which another layer crashed lime and flaked, kapok from open cut mattresses, pillows, seat cushions, the garden, the street was kapok as snow and called oppressive, ghostly illusion of a tropical winter landscape. ”
The village looked deserted, until they reached the town came where the women and children were imprisoned: “I saw some whole white women but the vast majority was tinted in all shades and belonged to the Eurasian and Indonesian Christian population. ” The women tell him about the “massacres” in the village and Fabricius describes how the British troops reinforcements from Bogor and the top women, despite the attacks by “pemoedas’ (insurgents), but a few safe to camp Kota Paris in Bogor able to transport. Here they were with their men freed from prison, half years remain.

When Indonesia’s independence was recognized by the Netherlands in 1949, thousands fled abroad natives from Depok. On August 4, 1952, the estate Depok by the government lifted the descendants of the twelve slave families were only allowed to keep their private terreintjes. Later the government as a token of appreciation shown by the natives from Depok ‘goodwill’ a few pieces of land and some buildings back, as the Protestant church, the rectory and the cemetery. The natives from Depok set up a foundation, the Lembaga Cornelis Chastelein, that is still the last remnants of the estate managed.

The refugees united in bodas (Federal of natives from Depok and relatives and sympathizing with them) and STIDAS who regularly Bode spent Depok. Since two years there is a Foundation Working who Depok needy villagers want to support. Once a year, on June 28, the natives from Depok come together in the Netherlands to the death of their benefactor, and to commemorate the Chasteleinlied to sing (“It is a day of great joy for our lovely little Depok / grateful for the generous blessing of Cornelis Chastelein “).
Most Dutch natives from Depok are still regularly in the holidays back to their hometown and that is one of the reasons why Dutch in Depok still a “living language” is.
Henny Isakh saves, since he lives here, all holidays to once every two years with his wife and children to Depok to travel. When I asked whether he regrets his departure to the Netherlands he hesitates: “I have simply found my future, but nostalgia still gnawing, so I go back every two years. When you see how easy life there: my six brothers all have a stone house on land. I also bought a house, but I have thirty years to pay off. So in that sense, my brothers there richer. ”
Like other Dutch and Indonesian natives from Depok, he himself concerns about the future of the village, now again threatened by a threat: to combat flooding in Jakarta, the government wants to build a dam in the Ciliwung, on the very spot where now the Depok ‘Holland bridge’ over the river.
Isakh “If the cemetery will continue, the football and the last remnants of ‘Depok Lama” in a lake to go under. Several countries are eager to implement the project may, for that order on hold drag.
The Netherlands.

* The Leiden professor JW de Vries did in 1976 a comprehensive investigation into the use of Dutch in Depok. That this language is less likely to disappear than would be expected, he states inter alia from the fact that for the elderly Native and, until 1950, the language of the school. also plays Dutch in ‘suku-realization’ (clan-awareness) of the natives from Depok a major role. The investigation revealed that in Depok still regularly in Dutch is read and also that many people to listen to broadcasts of Radio Netherlands.
(JW de Vries: The natives from Depok: history, social structure and language of an isolated community. In: Contributions to language, geography and ethnology, Part 132, 1976. Ed. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague.)


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