The Peristiwa of Rengat

Java Post

This weekend Anne-Lot Hoek reports for NRC Handelsblad and Reporter Radio KRO-NCRV about the forgotten bloodbath in Rengat, Sumatra. The idea was to find out what happened. But what happened was not what struck her most.


By Anne-Lot Hoek

Every year a memorial service takes place in the city of Rengat, mid-Sumatra. It takes place in honour of the ‘Peristiwa 5 January 1949’: a massacre performed by the Dutch army during the ‘Second Police Action.’ I went there to speak to witnesses and to compare written sources.

A vanished history

‘Wrong or not wrong’ was the endlessly repeated question in the public debate about Dutch military force during the Indonesian independence war. Recently the notion that violence was ‘structural’ seems to be gradually accepted in that debate. But what ‘structural’ violence looks like in practice and what the implications were, are still to be researched.

The ‘Excessennota’ of 1969 states…

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Over hermanspinhof

journalist/ writer, print, television, radio photographer
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