NEW DELHI – The Netherlands sought to “close a difficult chapter” with former colony Indonesia by publicly apologizing Thursday for summary executions carried out by the Dutch military in the 1940s.
As the children of some of the men who were massacred without trial looked on, Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd De Zwaan offered a state apology during a ceremony in Jakarta. “The Dutch government hopes that this apology will help close a difficult chapter, for those whose lives were impacted so directly by the violent excesses . . . between 1945 and 1949,” he said, referring to the Indonesian war of independence.
Last month, the Dutch government compensated 10 Indonesian women whose husbands were executed in the South Sulawesi Campaign from 1946 to 1947. One of the worst atrocities committed by the Netherlands in Indonesia, the campaign saw Dutch troops carry out summary executions in a series of villages over three months. Some in Indonesia have claimed the death toll was as high as 40,000.