Founder of the Indonesian Moluccan Memorial in Eindhoven, Roy Meelhuysen, will give a speech in Amsterdam on Liberation Day about the liberation of Indonesia and its aftermath.
“It is a great honour”, Meelhuysen says. “Amsterdam is the capital of course and to be asked by Job Cohen (chairman of the 4 and 5 May Committee, ed.) is very special”, Meelhuysen says.
Meelhuysen was asked to give a speech through the Indisch Moluks Gedenkteken (Indonesian Moluccan Memorial) which he set up in Eindhoven. “That has stirred up quite a lot in our community”, Meelhuysen says. “The Indonesian community is not in the habit of passing on stories to each other. As a result, many stories are in danger of being lost and that is a shame. Behind all those people’s front doors are very special stories worth telling”.
Meelhuysen himself has plenty to tell about how he ended up in the Netherlands. “After I retired, I started digging into my own family’s history. I also found out how much I actually still knew of what I had experienced in the first ten years of my life”, Meelhuysen says.
“I came here as an eleven-year-old boy with my mother. Before that we had had a very turbulent time in Indonesia. My father had served in the KNIL (Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger, Royal Dutch East Indies Army) during the Police Actions and one rainy day in August was told that it had been disbanded”, Meelhuysen says.
“He was then offered to join the Indonesian army, against which he had fought before. That was unthinkable”, Meelhuysen says. The family then entered a turbulent period.
“My father was abducted three times by nationalist groups. The kidnappers wanted ransom, which my mother paid three times. By the way, my father was treated well during those abductions, they were really after the money”, Meelhuysen remembers.
“After a while my mother had had enough. We were not safe in Jakarta. Besides, Meelhuysen is obviously not an Indonesian name, and we also have a light skin colour. My mother finally decided to take the plane to the Netherlands, and we never left”.
Translated by: Bob