Monday, April 19, 2010


The first of two important letters to us

Tue, 22 May 2007

I will write you this letter in English because not all of you understand Indonesian language, and I intend to send a copy to to Lonny in Australia and her brother Beno. The direct reason was in fact Uki''s question about my past activities in Indonesia. I will start with my adolescense. When I wa at the middle school I played hockey and loved it. When my father found out he forbade me. He said I was mixing with th kids of the dig business people. He advised me to join the Menadonese basketball club Maesa. I complied because somehow I felt he was right, I had to mix more with the Menadonese kids who had the same background as we had. Maesa was a youth organization and many cousins were active in it. During the ywars before the Japanese invasion I became a board member of Maesa, Ir. Inkiriwang was the president oecausef Maesa.
In the beginning of the Japanese occupation every one was afraid of developing any activity. Ir. Inkiriwang was compelled by the Japanese General to take care of the electricity of the palace. He was an electrical engineer from Delft.
Via Annie Kawilarang I was asked to assist in activities for Indonesian girls. Annie was working at the Sendenbu office of Shimizu a Japanese official in the cultural field. Because the medical university was closed and my friends and I went to the female vocational school. I decided to see what Annie really meant. At the Sendenbu I wa introduced to Sukenda and Maria Amin both girls active in the pre war nationalist movement Indonesia Muda.
We planned together to organize the indonesian girls to develope a feeling of selfrelience and not be dependent on anyone. We planned in the first place to organize courses for the girls of the very poor, to learn to sew or to cook, but also to manage their activities and find markets. For the realization of our intnetions we spoke to many important people in the Indonesian movement and so we met Ir. Sukarno, Moh. Hatta, important Islamic people, Adam Malik from Indonesia Muda and others who later on were the leaders in the first years of the Republic of Indonesia.
That was my start in the Indonesian society. I got more or less acquainted with many people at the Sendenbu. Among the people I became really friends with was the poet Chairil Anwar. There were also Menadonese youngsters as Henk Ngantung and a piano player Mamahit. Maesa youngsters wanted to move again, but Ir. Inkiriwang was because of the palace activities not available. They chose a new leadership at a meeting. I was chosen as president and Freddy Maengkom as secretary and Bart Ratulangie as treasurer. We could have Maesa flowering for at least a year. Then Shimizu thought his bait was swallowed by us. He ordered all the Indonesian youth actvities to be fused in one big organization to joint the Japanese intention to free Greater East Asia. Freddy and I planned to organize a meeting of all the members. We would officially promote the fusion but inoffially our advice, in the secret balloting, was against and plug up.So Maesa was safed from collaboration.
About 1943 the medical school was started again. Our male colleagues had to be shorn-bald and they revolted because there was the general impression the Japanese were afraid of student activities and the baldness of students would be easily recognizable. The leaders of the student revolt were arrested by the Kempetai, the secret police. We the female students organized via Mr.Max Maramis, a well known Jakarta lawyer that we could visit the arrested students and take care of their laundry. Radio San Francisco reported to the whole world the medical students revolt.
Then came May 1945! Of course we knew about what happened on the Pacific Ocean! We did not want a second occupation We wanted to be free citizens of our own nation, not anymore subjected to another people! The Japanese under Shimizu organized a big meeting for the pupils of the highschools of whole of Java at villa Isola in Bandung. The theme was support for the struggle for Greater East Asia. The medical student decided to go to Bandung and influence the highschool pupils to, at he first official meeting, demanding the attendence of the students at the meeting. As we had anticipated the Japanese could not refuse them. So we attended the meeting and succeeded henceforth in changing the theme of the meeting in: Freedom now for Indonesia. A theme that became the slogan of demonstrations by the middleschool students over the whole of Java.
Shimizu,who perhaps remembered the way Maesa was stopped, seemed to recognize something because when we, the students were celebrating the developement at the roof of villa Isola, suddenly came from the elevator and seeing me said: " Naturally miss Ratulangie is here". Laughingly I offered him a tape goreng. Because of reports of the ordeal of the romushas, the "free will" labourers who had to work in the coalmines in Bantam, I planned to go as a nurse to see whether the lack of medical care, malnutrcion and even cannibalism by the Japanese was true. My friends Jo Abdurahman, Zulayka Jassin, Soetidja an Jenny Anwar joined me. We found out that the Japanese supplied the necessary calories and proteins and sugar for the laborers but still their diseases were the result of malnutrition. Their ulcus tropica (tropic ulcers) went all the way thru to their bones! But we aknowledged that the families of their hantjos (foremen) we all well to do an well fed. Our conclusion was that it were not the Japanese but our own indonesian foremen were the reason of our undernourished romushas.
We were going to report that to our friends.It was in the middle of august 1945. When we arrived at Jakarta everything was different. The male collegues were secretive. They had their meetngs at Parapatan 10 and we could only guess what was going on. After some time we learnt they had kidnapped Soekarno and Hatta to Rengas Dengklok to compell them to dare to declare the independence of Indonesia.The leaders of the students were then principally the pre war student leaders of other faculties as Chaerul Saleh, Soekarni a.s.o.
At last on the August 16th they brought Soekarno an Hatta to the house of Admiral Maeda of the Kai Gun (marine) who because of Nishijima was sympathetic towards the wish of the indonesian students. At the house of Maeda were also assembled other indonesian nationalists such as my father Sam Ratulangie. According to my dad Soekarno did not believe in the feasibility of a free Indonesia. " We have no army only the youth with the bambu runtjing (sharpened bamboo poles).", he said. My dad said I can guanrantee you and Hatta the full protection of Menadonese Gangsters from Pasar Senen. Those gangsters had already beforehand pledged allegians to my father. Maeda and Nishijima also assured them of their assistance as far as they could realize.Afterwards Maeda and Nishijima had been indicted and imprisonned by the Allied because of their sympathy for the indonesian nationalists.
During the last months of 1945 Jo Abdurahman, Oscar Engelen and others among whom I were busy organizing the Indonesian Red Cross. To be ready to assist our male friends when we were compelled to guerilla warfare. We occupied a hotel as the head offcie of our Red Cross. We got automobiles from Nishijima for ou mobile colonne. Oscar Engelen got in contact with the International Red Cross and we got some recognition because we we willing to help to assist in transporting the women prisonners of war to Jakarta. We had a registered nurse Annie Senduk with her staf that assisted us. In the mean time Bart Ratulangie, Piet Pantouw and Willy Pesik had formed the KRIS, Kebaktian Rakjat Indonesia Sulllawesi. The dedication of the indonesian people of Sulawesi, with the aim of spreading the nationalistic feeling and defending it, while caring for the Menadonese wifes of the soldiers that had been interned by the Japanese and were not yet back. The guerilla KRIS was a valued martial entity , first at the Krawang front against the dutch. Later on they were asked to defend the safety of the Komittee Nasional Pusat, central national committee or provisory parlement, meeting at Malang. At the KRIS I became the head of the Red Cross.
I realize that I get tired. I will continue at Pentecost, than there is more time.
I want to let uou know that my brother Oddy or officially Albert, who broke his neck on january 10 of this year, is beginning to see the light again it seems. He knows,that at his age 86 years, it will not be easy, but he is less depressed. That is already very important!
Emilia (Zus)


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