11 Sep Press release: Indonesian edition of Soldaat in Indonesië, 1945-1950
On 13 September in the Erasmus House in Jakarta, Gert Oostindie, director of KITLV will present the Indonesian edition of his book Soldaat in Indonesië, 1945-1950 (Soldier in Indonesia, 1945-1950). This will be followed by a two week tour in Indonesia filled with a large number of lectures, interviews and debates.
In October 2015 Soldaat in Indonesië, written by Gert Oostindie, in collaboration with Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey, was published by Prometheus and is already in its fourth edition. The publication is based on letters, diaries, albums and memoires of members of the Dutch military during the decolonisation war in Indonesia between 1945 and 1950. The media described the book as ‘staggering’ (NRC Handelsblad), ‘thoughtful’ (Het Parool) and ‘ground-breaking’ (Nederlands Dagblad). Soldaat in Indonesië has been nominated for the Libris History Prize 2016.
On the initiative of the Indonesian publishing house Obor the book is now available in an Indonesian edition entitled Serdadu Belanda di Indonesia 1945-1950: Kesaksian perang pada sisi sejarah yang salah (Obor, 2016). The translation was made possible by a subsidy from the Letterenfonds [Dutch Foundation for Literature] and the royalties from the Dutch edition.
In his preface to the Indonesian edition Oostindie points out ‘that the book fits in a Dutch debate that has become increasingly critical in recent years, not only in connection with the legitimation of the Dutch political and military actions, but how these were put into practice, in particular the question of war crimes.’ Oostindie continues that he hopes that the Indonesian edition will lead to discussion – including those elements that do not fit so well into the current interpretation of the decolonisation war – and that it will stimulate Indonesian historians to further research from their own perspective.
After the presentation in Jakarta there will be lectures for a public of students and scholars of the universities of Bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang, Malang, Surabaya, Banjarmasin and Denpasar. There is also the intention of discussions with Indonesian colleagues on their own research into this period and of the possibilities of future collaboration with the KITLV-KNAW.