Wreath-laying ceremonies

2018

Ancol, Jakarta

The Ancol War Cemetery lies on the coast at Jakarta (Tandjong Priok). It is the war cemetery for those who were executed. The Japanese occupiers executed many hundreds of men and women who had taken part in the Indies resistance.  They chose a secluded and inaccessible place, a flooded forest on the coast, where they thought they would go unnoticed. After the war, a deaf and dumb Chinese temple guard bore witness to their atrocities. The victims had been buried without names and could mostly no longer be identified. Later, victims who had been executed elsewhere were re-buried in this cemetery. More than 2,000 victims are buried in Ancol War Cemetery. On 15 August 2018, the 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument.

Candi, Semarang

Candi War Cemetery lies in the hills to the south of Semarang. It was created on the initiative of those in the first contingent of the Dutch armed forces – the ‘T Brigade’ – who landed on Semarang on 12 March 1946. Only fallen members of the armed forces are (re)buried in this War Cemetery. Originally, it was the intention as far as possible to (re)bury military personnel who fell post-war in Central Java. But subsequently, this War Cemetery was further designated as the burial place for the military victims of the Second World War who had been buried across Central Java.  There are more than 1,000 graves in Candi War Cemetery. The 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument on 15 August 2018.

Kalibanteng, Semarang

Nestled between Semarang Airport and the Jalan Siliwangi, formerly the Grote Postweg, lies the Kalibanteng War Cemetery. Around 3,100 war victims are buried here. By far the greatest number of these victims were civilians from the notorious Japanese internment camps in Central Java, such as Ambarawa, Banju Biroe, Lampersari and Karangpanas. They perished  as a consequence of the appalling conditions in these camps during the Japanese occupation from 1942 – 1945. Many women and children are buried here. It was in their honour that the Women’s Monument and the Youth Camp Monument were erected. The 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument on 15 August 2018.

Kembang Kuning, Surabaya

Kembang Kuning War Cemetery in Surabaya contains the graves of civilian victims from the East Java camps, as well as fallen members of the armed forces from the Dutch Army, the Kingdom of the Netherlands-Indies Army (KNIL) and the Royal Marines. In total, more than 5,000 victims are buried here. Kembang Kuning was also referred to as the marine war cemetery. This is not so strange, as the Karel Doorman Monument occupies the central position in this War Cemetery.  This Monument commemorates the Battle of the Java Sea on 27 February 1942. Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman and his allied squadron lost their lives. This marked the end of an heroic attempt to prevent the Japanese reaching Java. Of the victims who fell in this battle, only a few were buried here. 915 mariners were buried at sea. Their names, which are engraved on 15 bronze plaques on the back of the Monument, can also be seen in the War Graves Foundation’s Books of Remembrance. The 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument on 15 August 2018.

Leuwigajah, Cimahi

Not far from Bandung, just outside the city of Cimahi, lies Leuwigajah War Cemetery. Of all the war cemeteries maintained by the War Graves Foundation, the largest number of victims are buried at Leuwigajah. In this War Cemetery, many human remains have been reburied, having initially been interred in war cemeteries elsewhere in the archipelago (Sumatra; Borneo). As well as victims from the camps, many soldiers from the Royal Dutch Indies Army (KNIL) and the Dutch Army killed in the turbulent years after the Japanese capitulation are buried here. There are around 5,000 Dutch war victims’ graves in this Cemetery. The 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument on 15 August 2018.

Menteng Pulo, Jakarta

Menteng Pulo War Cemetery is the most well-known of the seven Dutch war cemeteries on Java. This is mainly because of the Simultan Church and the adjacent  Columbarium with more than 700 urns in memory of Dutch prisoners of war who died in Japan. Among those laid to rest here are the Dutch victims who did not survive the atrocities of the Japanese camps as well as members of the Dutch armed forces who were killed during the political conflict in Indonesia (1945-1949). There are around 4,300 graves in Menteng Pulo War Cemetery. The 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument on 15 August 2018.

Pandu, Bandung

Pandu War Cemetery lies in Bandung, where not only soldiers from the Royal Dutch Indies Army (KNIL) killed during the war against the Japanese are buried, but also many civilians from the internment camps in and around Bandung. In the troubled times after the capitulation of Japan in 1945, many civilian victims as well as soldiers of the Dutch Army were mourned. They were sent as war volunteers or conscripts to bring order and peace. The names of the battlefields are on the base of the flag monument, which stands on the highest point of Pandu War Cemetery. Surrounding this monument are memorial plaques bearing the names of those killed at the Ciater and Subang positions, the last lines of defence for Bandung.  The KNIL Monument and the tombs of the ‘unknown soldier’ and the ‘unknown civilian’ are also situated here. There are around 4,000 graves in Pandu War Cemetery. The 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument on 15 August 2018.

Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Myanmar

The Burma railway is the notorious line between Burma (now Myanmar) and Thailand. On the orders of the Japanese overseers, this rail connection was laid by thousands of forced labourers and prisoners of war. Many did not survive. Justifiably, the railway line was also known as ‘Death Railway’. It was completed in December 1943, and from then on work consisted of maintenance and repairing the damage inflicted by the allied bombers. Since the work camps were often situated next to vital sections of the railway, many of the labourers were killed or wounded during the bombardment.  The Japanese  leadership refused to give permission for the camps to be  identified. In total, the railway cost the lives of between 80,000 and 100,000 people. An average of 75 workers died each day. 15,000 prisoners of war died as a result of exhaustion, sickness and malnutrition. This included 7,000 British, 4,500 Australians, 131 Americans and almost 3,000 Dutch. Many Thai, Burmese, Malaysian and Indonesian forced labourers also failed to survive the atrocious conditions. Initially, the dead were buried along the railway line, later to be (re)buried in three war cemeteries: Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Burma. The establishment of these war cemeteries was initiated by the ‘Commonwealth War Graves Commission’. This is the British sister organisation of the War Graves Foundation, which is responsible for the structure and maintenance of war graves in Commonwealth countries. In consultation with the War Graves Foundation, this organisation also takes care of the Dutch graves in their war cemeteries. The 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument on 15 August 2018.

Chungkai War & Kanchanabur Cemetery, Thailand | In November

The Burma railway is the notorious line between Burma (now Myanmar) and Thailand. On the orders of the Japanese overseers, this rail connection was laid by thousands of forced labourers and prisoners of war. Many did not survive. Justifiably, the railway line was also known as ‘Death Railway’. It was completed in December 1943, and from then on work consisted of maintenance and repairing the damage inflicted by the allied bombers. Since the work camps were often situated next to vital sections of the railway, many of the labourers were killed or wounded during the bombardment.  The Japanese  leadership refused to give permission for the camps to be  identified. In total, the railway cost the lives of between 80,000 and 100,000 people. An average of 75 workers died each day. 15,000 prisoners of war died as a result of exhaustion, sickness and malnutrition. This included 7,000 British, 4,500 Australians, 131 Americans and almost 3,000 Dutch. Many Thai, Burmese, Malaysian and Indonesian forced labourers also failed to survive the atrocious conditions. Initially, the dead were buried along the railway line, later to be (re)buried in three war cemeteries: Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Burma. The establishment of these war cemeteries was initiated by the ‘Commonwealth War Graves Commission’. This is the British sister organisation of the War Graves Foundation, which is responsible for the structure and maintenance of war graves in Commonwealth countries. In consultation with the War Graves Foundation, this organisation also takes care of the Dutch graves in their war cemeteries. In November 2018 the 15 August 1945 National Commemoration Foundation will lay wreaths at both monuments.

2015

Kranji, Singapore

War victims and prisoners of war who died in the camps at Changi and Kranji are buried in this war cemetery. 19 Dutch are interred here. On 15 August 2015 the Commemoration Foundation laid a wreath at the monument.

 

Hodogoya, Yokohama

On 1 August, the Dutch Defence Attaché to Japan laid a wreath at the Yokohama War Cemetery, Hodogaya on behalf of the 15 August 1945 Commemoration Foundation.

 

Karakatta, Perth

On 15 August 2015 the Consul, Arnold Stroobach, laid a wreath at the monument on behalf of the Foundation.

 

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

A commemoration was held on 15 August at the Don Ruk and Chung Kai War Cemeteries in Kanchanaburi. Wreaths were laid in the name of the Kingdom of the Netherlands by Ambassadeur Z.E. K.J. Hartogh, by the Defence Attaché on behalf of the Embassy and by the Consul in Phuket. The 85 year old Korea veteran, Mr H. Visser, and KLTZ b.d. J.P. van der Meulen laid the wreath on behalf on the 15 August Commemoration Foundation.

 

Mizumaki, Japan

A wreath was laid on behalf of the Foundation at the Memorial Cross, Mizumaki. Among the attendees at the ceremony was the Kurokawa family who, on behalf of Hiroshi (an old mineworker), continued to support Mr Dolf Winkler after he had initiated the monument. After the deaths of Hiroshi and Dolf in 2009,  the younger brother, Hidetoshi Kurokawa, took responsibility for the maintenance with the help of volunteers. The monument looks immaculate. A short speech was followed by the laying of a wreath and a floral tribute.  Although small, the ceremony was beautiful and dignified.

 

Menteng Pulo,  Jakarta

On 15 August 2015 the Dutch War Cemetery at Menteng Pulo again provided an appropriate setting for the annual commemoration of the end of the Second World War. Around 40 interested parties originating predominantly from the Dutch community attended the ceremony. DI gave a welcome address to the attendees in the Simultan Church situated in the War Cemetery. In his speech, he talked about the meaning of 15 August in the context of a short historical overview of the course of the Second World War in South-East Asia.

 

Myanmar

A wreath was laid in the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Myanmar on behalf of the Foundation .

 

Ambon

A wreath was laid on 15 August at the War Cemetery of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. As well as the approximate 2000 Australian, British and British-Indian military who are buried here, there are 186 Dutch.

 

Hongkong Sai Wan War Cemetery

On 15 August Jos Goffin, the Assistant Defence Attaché from our Embassy in Peking, and Consul General Wilfred Mohr laid a wreath at the graves of 72 Dutch soldiers who are buried in the Sai Wan War Cemetry. After the wreath-laying and a minute’s silence, a representative of the HK police played the last post.

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