Father was a prisoner of war in the Japanese camps, where he did not escape the cruel tortures of the Japanese, and was later also put to work on the infamous Burma railway, and survived all hardships.
The war had shaped and mentally hardened my father after everything he went through, it had left deep traces, which had repercussions on his family and his social life in the Netherlands until his death in 1996.
In November 1958 my parents and I left ( a survival instinct) for the Netherlands. From Tanjung Priok, this is the northern part of Jakarta. We left on the Italian freighter Esperia, via the Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, with destination the Italian port of Genoa.
From Genoa, like many other returnees, we continued the journeyt by train to Arnhem station in the Netherlands.
Once we arrived in Arnhem, we were transported by bus to army camp Budel (Brabant) for our first welcoming.
This was in the cold winter of December 1958. After a short welcome, the families were divided over the various provinces in the Netherlands and housed in so-called contract pensions.
My parents and I ended up in a contract pension in Hilversum.
My parents William Robinson and Christiene Robinson-Hagenstein
Grandpa Wales and Grandma Rebecca Robinson
Leo Martinus Hagenstein Corporal
with the KNIL
Currently, the independence, decolonization war (1945-1950) of the Netherlands in Indonesia is very topical.
Unfortunately, a skewed picture is now created because the KNIL (Royal Dutch East Indies Army) soldiers are accused of war crimes. It is understandable that this is a real slap in the face for many ex-KNIL soldiers and veterans. Finally, not everyone participated. The volunteers and conscripts were sent out by order of the then Dutch government, to bring Indonesia back under Dutch authority after the Japanese occupation, whereby in many cases violence was not shunned.
Unfortunately, my father also had to submit to this, in the many conversations I had with him, when he was still alive, he indicated that he fortunately did not have to take part in these terrible practices; he was a radio operator. "The story of my parents" gives a picture of how my parents spent the war after their forced departure from Indonesia in 1958, with me as a two-year-old boy. This story can be found in the Dutch book we published, "Waar komen Opa en Oma vandaan" (Where do grandpa and grandma come from) and since this week also in a short version on "the virtual circle of stories".
Edward Robinson, February 2022
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