Robert Haije, brother of Jesse Haye remembers events leading to our departure on the Oranje


“The picture of the Oranje brought up a lot of memories from Indonesia. Some not very pleasant. My earliest memories were about Japanese soldiers who came to our house frequently. I remember them always driving me around in a Jeep like vehicle and being polite. I also remember decorating a Christmas tree with pieces of colored paper and some kind of foil, which was all we had. After the Japanese were gone I think we ended up in Bandung, which I remembered being a clean pleasant town with wide tree-lined streets and I could see mountains. Here is where some trouble started for us. I had a windup train, locomotive and three cars on a small round track. I loved that train and some Indonesian kids about my age played with me. The train disappeared, obviously stolen. Some days later Pappie and mammie, Esje and I visited the local Kampong, for what reason I don't know. There I saw the little turds I had been playing with, with my train. I immediately went over to retrieve the train but was stopped by (I think it was) Pappie and told it was no longer mine. I was really upset. For some reason we were kissing those peoples asses.

After that I think we went to Batavia in time for you being born there. As I recall we were flown there in a military transport. I remember not being able to look out the window because we were facing the isle, which makes me believe it was a paratrooper transport. The area we lived in Batavia seemed drab compared to Bandung. I remember sirens and us having to go into an underground bunker which was open on both ends and we had some kind of earmuffs. Lots of shooting, which seems strange since the Japanese were gone, it being after the war... I also remember to go with Pappie to visit a friend who lived in some kind of encampment with some other men. A large machine gun was mounted at the entrance and he carried a large pistol which I now recognize as a broom handled Mauser.He and Pappie seemed to be talking about Holland, but he was not going to leave. I think he converted to Islam. I also remember large groups of kids (pemudas (youngsters), coming to our door and demanding something, I don't know what and they refused to leave for a long time. Unpleasant memories. Finally when we left for Tandjong Priok it was under highly stressful circumstances. It seemed as we were fleeing from something or some body. We went trough what seemed to be storage yards of some kind filled with coils of rope, chain and tar, which made me ill. Mammie was carrying you and pappy was carrying our pitiful belongings and constantly urging us to hurry up. A strange way to go to the pier where the Oranje was tied up. I don't remember us packing for the trip or steamer trunks, I think everything was left behind. When we arrived in Holland it was very cold, ice even on the North Sea entrance to the ship canal to Amsterdam, we followed ice breakers. We were led to ,some huge rooms, more like halls where long tables were set up with clothing and shoes for us refugees, and the first place we lived was in Scheveningen above an old fogy’s home. I seem to remember also living in Hilversum before moving to Rijswijk.

Well Jesse, how does this fit in with pappies' stories?



Jesse’s reply;


Your story fits in very well Bob. Obviously I don't remember any of it, but I know the stories mom, dad and others told me. Including the story of Franz Vernout.(Bletterman cousin who was 12 at the time and living with all of you in Oma boon's house.) Soekarno had declared independence the moment the Japanese surrendered and it was civil or revolutionary, no more like war a of independence. Dad had the chance to choose for Indonesia, but choose to remain Dutch. Apparently his old colleagues who choose for Soekarno helped us survive and get to the Oranje in one piece. The Japanese had to stick around also after their surrender, to protect the Dutch from the locals. Remember Pappie was released in Bandung six weeks after the war ended. Pappie told me that the day we left Tandjong Priok we were transported to the Oranje in a military truck with Dutch or British infantry soldiers, we were under fire for most of the way. History call’s this the “Bersiap” period or time.




Bob's reply; That was a quick response.

I do remember some kind of military escort to Tandjong Priok, but don't understand why we were not taken directly to the Oranje and had to go trough that horrible supply yard I mentioned before on foot. Why did we have to rely on people who opted for Sukarno to escape? (seems the heavily armed gentleman I visited with pappy may have been the one and escape was being arranged on that visit). I never quite got a satisfactory answer why other people who left Indonesia got to Holland with all their belongings and no apparent difficulties, I remember other Indo's who had all kinds of native arts, carvings, statues and weapons displayed on their walls in Holland. We did not have any. Even Johnny de Jongh Swemer when he came to live with us brought an impressive collection of Indonesian krisses, barongs and kampilans. I saw him once when we lived in Mission Viejo, but regretfully lost contact. Sonja moved to Singapore many years ago. Lost contact with her as well. Any more info I remember I will forward to you. It seems our family has a rather adventurous and violent past.